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I'm going to take a look at some chocolate lab pups pretty soon. Do you guys have any secrets for picking the right pup! I've read a few articles about putting them on there back and stuff like that and watching them but any other tricks?

Thanks!
 

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I'll start off by saying, the best way to pick a pup is to find the litter you want. Pull out any pup that you may not want: wallflower, alpha, or other. Then put on a blindfold and reach in.

It is a crap shoot. Having had 3 Austrailian Shepards and about 10 more Border Collies, only a couple of them even compare to the ability of my current mutt. (Blue Heeler x ?)

If they haven't been exposed, a live bird is a good way to test drive. A wing will also work. If neither of those then a rolled up sock. I don't look for retrieving ability, just desire.

I do the put em on their back thing. I have no idea if it works or not, just something that I have always done.

Of course there is no superstition in health clearances. Make sure that both parents have hip (OFA) and eyes (CERF) certified and that pup comes with a health guarantee.
 

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When I choose a pup I take a string about 5 feet long with a duck wing tied to it, and a bottle of Fingernail Polish with me.
I get ALL of the pups attention by whistling, then toss the wing in front of them. Give it a couple of twitches and watch and see who is interested.
I then take the interested pups and separate them from the rest of the litter ( if the kennel owner will allow it ) then start the whole procedure over again.
I usually pick out the pup that gets to the wing 1st with the most aggressive tude.
This most always will assure you that you'll get a pup that has a natural Prey drive as you've already seen him in action.
Then put a spot of Fingernail Polish on the dog somewhere to assure that when you come to pick em' up, you'll be picking up the dog you chose.
 

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Brydog said:
When I choose a pup I take a string about 5 feet long with a duck wing tied to it, and a bottle of Fingernail Polish with me.
I get ALL of the pups attention by whistling, then toss the wing in front of them. Give it a couple of twitches and watch and see who is interested.
I then take the interested pups and separate them from the rest of the litter ( if the kennel owner will allow it ) then start the whole procedure over again.
I usually pick out the pup that gets to the wing 1st with the most aggressive tude.
This most always will assure you that you'll get a pup that has a natural Prey drive as you've already seen him in action.
Brydog,

I understand your theory here and I guess it beats just reaching in and grabbing one but my advice to new pup purchasers is

1. Pick the litter not the pup - if you like the personality, prey drive, and health aspects of both the sire and dam the chances are good that these will be passed on to the progeny.

2. Bring your wife, girlfriend or significant other along when you go to the breeders house and let them talk to the breeder while you're looking at the pups to find out exactly what type of personality YOU have. The breeder has spent seven weeks watching those pups and can usually do a much better job matching that pup to your personality type.

The old wing on a string, whistle, etc. really shows you very little. The highest prey drive pup in the whole litter may have been awake for 4 hours straight but went to sleep 10 minutes before you arrived while the biggest wallflower in the litter may have been sleeping for 4 hours and just woke up ready for action.

Guess which one you'll pull out with the wing on a string test?

Trust the breeder, be honest in your description of your personality, or better yet bring along a significant other who WILL be candid about your personality type. The breeder had spent hundereds of hours with those pups - they'll know which pup is right for you!
 

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CuivreDog said:
Brydog said:
When I choose a pup I take a string about 5 feet long with a duck wing tied to it, and a bottle of Fingernail Polish with me.
I get ALL of the pups attention by whistling, then toss the wing in front of them. Give it a couple of twitches and watch and see who is interested.
I then take the interested pups and separate them from the rest of the litter ( if the kennel owner will allow it ) then start the whole procedure over again.
I usually pick out the pup that gets to the wing 1st with the most aggressive tude.
This most always will assure you that you'll get a pup that has a natural Prey drive as you've already seen him in action.
Brydog,

I understand your theory here and I guess it beats just reaching in and grabbing one but my advice to new pup purchasers is

1. Pick the litter not the pup - if you like the personality, prey drive, and health aspects of both the sire and dam the chances are good that these will be passed on to the progeny.

2. Bring your wife, girlfriend or significant other along when you go to the breeders house and let them talk to the breeder while you're looking at the pups to find out exactly what type of personality YOU have. The breeder has spent seven weeks watching those pups and can usually do a much better job matching that pup to your personality type.

The old wing on a string, whistle, etc. really shows you very little. The highest prey drive pup in the whole litter may have been awake for 4 hours straight but went to sleep 10 minutes before you arrived while the biggest wallflower in the litter may have been sleeping for 4 hours and just woke up ready for action.

Guess which one you'll pull out with the wing on a string test?

Trust the breeder, be honest in your description of your personality, or better yet bring along a significant other who WILL be candid about your personality type. The breeder had spent hundereds of hours with those pups - they'll know which pup is right for you!
I agree with most of your views on picking a pup, but I wouldn't trust a breeders judgment to pick out a pup for me according to how he sees me.
I looked at 4 litters and researched many more breeders over a year and came up with Boomer. I've chosen all my pups this way and have NEVER been disappointed or regretted my choice.

As far as your Wallflower theories,, you may be right for most people, but this isn't my 1st rodeo. Until I spend at least 1-2 hours with the pups, I don't introduce the wing.

To each his own, but it most definitely works for me. :yes:
 

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Brydog said:
I agree with most of your views on picking a pup, but I wouldn't trust a breeders judgment to pick out a pup for me according to how he sees me.
And neither would I - that's the point I was trying to make as far you being completely honest with the breeder or bringing someone along other than yourself who will be completely CANDID about your personality type. Many times I find it is better to talk with the wife, husband, girlfriend etc. as you get a better picture of the true buyer.

Even then I wouldn't let the breeder select the exact pup, but I'd sure let them tell me which pups he or she feels would best fit my personality type.

To each his own I guess - a couple hours of observation or many weeks - who do you feel is REALLY making the best informed decision?

Just sayin'!
 

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I can't argue with that logic, but like I said, I've never been disappointed with my choices and I've chosen 5 Labs and 1 Chessie using this method over the past 35+ years.
 

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Does the order of the pick in the litter really matter?

NO. There is an old saying among knowledgeable professionals: "I'd rather have the last pick in a good litter than the first pick in a bad litter." Think about it. Could you go to the hospital and pick the smartest baby from the nursery?

This says it all, it is a crap shoot but observe and decide.
 

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Swanyriver said:
This says it all, it is a crap shoot but observe and decide.
I disagree. It is not all a crap shoot, but whoever said that you should pick the litter is right. Do your research on the breeding and that will increase your chances at a great dog, however, spend some time with the pups....an more than just on the day you are going to pick them up, if it is possible. Most breeders will allow this. See how each of them interact with each other, how they react to birds, etc. Most of these traits that we are looking for in a hunting dog are instinctively there, so comparing a puppy to a human baby is insignificantly wrong....I personally don't know any 7 week old babies that can walk, let alone eat by themselves. The more aggressive pups will bite and nip at you....you can pick out the more aggressive chewers, as well. I look for an even tempered pup...not too aggressive, but not a push over either...you certainly don't want the pup sitting by itself in the corner. Believe it or not, the pup that you should take home is the one that picks you. Spend some time with them...you will see exactly what I am talking about...is this an exact science, no..but as you have read, each of us has our own ways...looking for traits that appeal to us as individuals...you should consider that first..what traits are you looking for, and the pup will pick itself.

Labs
 

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The 1st time I went to see the litter Boomer came from, he was only 3 1/2 weeks old. I put a blue collar on him just as a possible pick.
I went back a week later just to look at the pups again and Blue collar was laying in the dry food bowl and wouldn't let the other pups eat. I didn't much care for that behavior so I removed the collar and observed the litter for an hour or so then left.
I went back another week later and watched the pups again for a while, then I used the wing on a string and Boomer was all over it.
I took out my fingernail polish and marked the base of his tail to claim my pup. A week later, he came home with me.

Like Labs said, spend some time with the litter to learn their personalities and you'll greatly improve your chances of pickin' the right dog.
 

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I don't believe the actual # you have for a puppy in a litter has any impact what type of dog you get. You're assuming that everyone else is after the samething you are. Everyone is using their own experiences and logic to pick what they want.

When we sell a litter we send a survey out to each person asking specifics about what they are looking for....when the perspective new parents come to look at the puppies, we give them our opinions on which seem to be what they are looking for and go from there..

I 100% agree with the statement " I'd rather have the last pick in a good litter than the first pick in a bad litter".

We wouldn't have done the breeding if we didn't think we were improving the breed.....

We've bought 2 puppies, one in 92 from Maryland - she was out of a National Champion & a Master hunter. The last puppy we bought was in 1995 - one of only 2 chocolate boys out of 10 puppies in which both his parents were National Finalists.
I told both breeders what we wanted and they shipped us a puppy.

I've been hunting/training/competing dogs since 88 (13 yrs old & now I'm 32) and I have never picked a puppy out of a litter.

My uncle and I have have had 7 chocolate litters since '92 and have had a couple of left over puppies....

1st breeding left over pup - Tank, won a 50 dog qualifying at 25 months old, AKC MH and finished a number of all age stakes.
(I will admit I was hoping no one would pick him as he was 2 x's bigger than his littermates)
2nd breeding left over pup - Tucker - Qualified all age & AKC MH.
3rd breeding left over pup - Max - won a informal derby, JH, Master leg - produced numerous titled dogs.
4th breeding left over pup - babe is an JH, SH - Master legs, NAHRA leg, got RJ in the only 2 Qualifiyings & running the open
5th breeding no left overs
6th breeding left over pup - Maggie - JH - 6months old, SH & Master legs @ 17 months - She was also the #6 derby dog in Canada
7th breeding - we kept a pup - TJ - 10 months old and training....

And all have been awesome hunters no matter what we were after....

We have a socialization schedule which we have followed throughout the litters and it has seemed to work.

Most well socialized pups shouldn't really fight or wiggle when picked up and held.....When you roll them over most will make eye contact with you showing you your the boss.....

Good luck with your pick, remember to use bird wings & birds often.
Tell the breeder what you are looking for - most will want to make the right fit....!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
thanks guys really appreciate all the help. I just put a down payment on a chocolate male when I went and looked at them. The mother was very beautiful and the breeder seemed very honest and down to earth. So I now have 1st pick of the 6 males ehhh gonna be hard to choose but thanks for the help!
 

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I have to agree with what CuivreDog has stated. What you're actually seeing from a litter at 6-8 weeks can change daily. I went to pick my pup, armed with all the tricks and really couldn't decide over a couple of hours. They were all outgoing, friendly, full o' trouble, and they all let me play with their feet and tails. What I eventually did was to pick the pup that kept breaking away from the pack to hang with me and my son.

It's hard to pick wrong from a really good litter that has been socialized and reared properly. Don't buy the pup; buy the breeder.
 

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It's hard to pick wrong from a really good litter that has been socialized and reared properly. Don't buy the pup; buy the breeder.
As usual I agree with WisestGrunt (sorry man, I'm stickin' with that) However, a little short story about getting the runt! My bro got stuck with a runt once - I called him special Ed - he was flat and looked weird, even his Mother didn't like him. Well, I am sorry I don't have a pic with me of Marty - He turned into a 120lb fine *** Chessie that was a warrior in the field. It was all in the pedigree which was great. . . I think some breeds you need to be very aware of the pedigree and Sire and Dam in particular.
 
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