WHAT DO I NEED IN A PUPPY? WHAT OUR SCORE CARDS MEAN - TEMPERAMENT TESTING
We don’t breed bad temperament. Our breeding dogs all have sound minds and are of excellent character. We have put this information together to help you choose the right traits for your home and environment and to be prepared to learn and work with your puppies natural traits. There is no perfect puppy! The amount of time and effort you are willing to put into guiding, training and caring for your puppy will determine the outcome. You have to be committed to provide your puppy what is necessary to grow and learn and be an amazing adult dog. This is a 12-15 year commitment. If you don't like how your dog is behaving, you have the power to change it. You must be willing to reach out to a trainer if you run into challenges, unless you are of course a dog trainer yourself. Many times problems arise simply by not understanding how puppies & dogs communicate. If we don’t know how to communicate to our puppies in a positive manner to help them develop into amazing adults we have to reach out to people that do. Call a professional trainer for help. The fix usually isn’t difficult, it’s just knowing how and what to do. Fixing bad behaviours takes so much more time and is more difficult than taking the time to teach them right in the beginning.
Please understand the traits shown on our puppy score cards are tested for at the age of about 7 weeks of age. We are looking for reactions during the test to determine natural tendencies and traits in puppies. The failure rate of puppies in Service Dog Training and Law Enforcement are very high. We believe we as breeders can do a better job in placements of puppies by determining the natural traits of puppies, doing early neuro-stimulation and early scent introductions along with temperament testing however, the environment a puppy is raised in, while with the breeder as well as when they go to their new home will have a significant influence on what these puppies become as adults. You can still manage traits quite well that may be considered obstacles for your environment and purposes but, it’s much better to have better expectations of the natural traits of your puppy in order to have better understanding of extra effort that may be needed to have a successful outcome for both you and the puppy if you choose a puppy that doesn’t have the ideal traits for your purpose. Puppies are not perfect! We are not perfect! Don’t set your expectations so high that you set yourself up for failure. You will encounter mistakes in your training and your puppy will make mistakes but, you will be better equipped to handle those challenges with this information. The joy is not in the end result but, in the process of getting there. Enjoy the journey together!
If you raise your puppy in a home that has some structure, training, enrichment, exercise and mental stimulation you likely will develop your puppy into an amazing adult dog. Socialization is MANDATORY for all puppies. Socialization means to different environments, all different people (different sizes & colors) and all different types of animals in a controlled effort (using leashes, crates, playpens) by using these tools your training efforts will be faster and you will have better success. The goal to a well socialized puppy is to have your puppy / dog ignore everything else around them and keep their focus on you. The more you introduce new things (people, places, animals, environments) the more your puppy will be able to accept future exposure to those people, places, animals and environments in positive ways. ALWAYS maintain control of your puppy. Example: If you let your puppy chase the cat, you will always need to keep your cat safe from your dog, for the rest of his life! Teach your puppy while he is young that he is NEVER to chase the cat (he must learn to ignore the cat) and he will eventually accept the cat as part of the family. Exercise your puppy well before working with new introductions such as the cat. Have your puppy in a crate or on a leash so he CANNOT chase the cat.
Proper socialization requires you to ALWAYS have your puppy under control. If he is off leash, not in a crate or playpen he is not under your control. If you believe your puppy should have more freedom you will simply have to work harder and longer to complete the level of training you wish your puppy to have. You will deal with accidents in the house and maybe eaten TV controllers or your puppy running after the cat or neighbors dog etc. It’s up to you. We keep our puppies on leash, in a crate or in a playpen at ALL times until such time that they have earned the right to be off leash. For us this means they absolutely will not potty in our house, they won’t chew anything up and they respect us and our home and they have learned manners and control. The time it takes to do this is different for every puppy and for every different handler / owner. These requirements may be something different for you depending on what you are willing to tolerate in your own environment and home. If you are having challenges, don’t wait to reach out to a trainer. The sooner you get help through your training challenges the fewer behaviour corrections you will need to make. Learning is much faster when learning positive behaviours as opposed to teaching them not to do the bad habits they have learned. Traits that you CAN change in a puppy: Confidence, touch tolerance, sound sensitivity, sight sensitivity, human focus. Confidence for example is not born into us or our canines. Just like children, we have to help build confidence in our puppies through positive experiences. You can select a puppy that is not high on confidence and spend a little extra time with him on things that he is cautious of or afraid of to build his confidence. Our puppies are typically on the Medium to High level of confidence. This is not natural, it is due to the curriculum we do in the first 8 weeks of life but, as you explore into new environments, a new home and new experiences you will need to work with your puppy so he learns you are there to protect him and encourage him, not enable him. He will then grow up to be your protector and your friend for life.
What is Tenderhearted? Tenderhearted puppies have very soft personalities. They don't need hard discipline. They sometimes will roll over onto their backs or urinate if scolded too hard. If you are a Sergeant in the Military a tenderhearted puppy would not be a good choice for you. You could break the temperament of this puppy.
Traits that you cannot change in a puppy but can be managed. These are: Assertiveness, Energy Level and Prey Drive. These traits can be managed and channeled into positive directions but, you cannot take these natural traits out of a puppy. This puppy is generally extremely intelligent and learns very quickly. The family members of this puppy must all have Leadership personalities or this puppy will take charge and the leadership roll. A soft spoken or very soft personality in the home is generally not a good fit for this puppy (the husband CANNOT manage this puppy for his wife or kids) The entire family must be ALPHA / leaders! If you have kids and your kids don’t respect you, this puppy likely won't either. It is recommended you have previous German Shepherd experience when selecting a High Assertive, High Energy and High Prey Drive puppy. Experience doesn’t mean you grew up with a German Shepherd (your parents raised him, not you) and unless he was an Assertive, High Energy and High Drive Puppy, he is not the puppy you had as a child.
Assertive Puppy: This is typically the puppy that the puppy buyer says “this puppy chose me”. He is super outgoing. If you are not up for the challenge of managing a puppy that does not respect your space and is always trying to stay a step ahead of you from an intelligence standpoint, don’t choose this puppy. These puppies are very willing to please but also need an active, engaging environment. These puppies are great for Service Homes, Search and Rescue, Law Enforcement, Competition, IPO, Agility, Active Outdoor People and those family homes that have structure and respect. If your kids are running around the store screaming because you said NO, this is not the puppy for you! If you tell your kids NO once or have very little confrontation occasionally and that’s it, no more arguing, you can handle this puppy just fine. These puppies are amazing and can do just about anything when trained. They are typically the Breeders Pick of the Litter Puppy (but not always). This is the puppy that will try to figure out what you want him to do and they just do it to please you. They are very engaged. They do not make good Full Time Outdoor Property Protection Dogs, they will get very bored and not live a fulfilling life they deserve.
PET HOMES: With Young Children DESIRED TRAITS: Human Focus, Low Sight Sensitivity, Low Sound Sensitivity OBSTACLES OR CHALLENGES: High Prey Drive, High Assertiveness, Low Touch Sensitivity, Low Nerve Strength, Extremely Tenderhearted
YOUNG ADULTS OR NO CHILDREN: Traits vary depending on couples needs and desires
RETIRED: Varies on couples needs and desires. Typically obstacles would be High Energy and High Drive.
ESA (Emotional Support Animal for Depression and or anxiety): DESIRED TRAITS: Human focus, low sight sensitivity, low sound sensitivity. WORKING HOMES/SERVICE DOGS:
Type of Service Dog must be known, age of handler, professional vs owner trained, environment dog will be worked, level of activity/hours worked, traits from multiple categories may be needed. DESIRED TRAITS: High confidence, low sight and sound sensitivities, high motivation, high nerve strength/resiliency. Item retrieval (mobility/psychiatric work etc.) Scent Training: Nose awareness (desire to explore environment/sniff surroundings. Mobility: Low Prey Drive THERAPY DOG:Type of Therapy must be known, handler ability / experience, professional vs owner trained, environment dog will be worked, highly tenderhearted pups may not be able to handle intense emotional environments. DESIRED TRAITS:High touch tolerance, low sight sensitivity, low sound sensitivity, human focus.