Help. Should I buy a trained dog or a puppy - working GSD

Discussion in 'Working Trials' started by suejoh, Jun 2, 2015.

  1. suejoh

    suejoh Registered Users

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2014
    Messages:
    28
    As a novice trainer do you think it would be helpful for me to get a dog that has been part trained by an experienced trainer rather than buy a pup. There is a 6 month old bitch for sale that has done all the basics - and does them very well. However it is nice to have a puppy and I have always done basic training with my dogs from puppyhood. Nowhere near as good as this one though!
    I am looking for a working GSD pup to do working trials with. I find it all very confusing as I have always had show line dogs before.
    I have not been to see her yet and obviously that will be decisive but she is quite expensive and I dont want to fall in love and get her when it would actually be better to get a puppy.

    Any thoughts would be great.
     
  2. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    11,699
    Location:
    Andorra and Spain
    Hmmm, I'm a novice trainer, too, and I'm not sure it makes any difference whether you get a 6-month old or a new puppy, to be honest. The weak point in the dog/handler combination is going to be the handler when you're inexperienced, whether you get a puppy that's got some basic training or not.

    OK, with a young puppy, you're going to have to start from scratch, but with a 6-month old, you're approaching adolescence very quickly and will have to cover the basics again. It's usually easier the second time around, but if the pup has been trained by someone else, you won't have the confidence in yourself from having done it all before with a young puppy, and if your techniques differ from the other trainer's at all, which they undoubtedly will, then you may end up confusing the dog.

    I think, having put it down on "paper" that I would lean towards getting a new puppy, because I would want to ensure the methods used were the ones I was happy to go forwards with. If you can cope with the sleepless nights, toilet training and biting that comes with a young puppy.
     
  3. JohnG

    JohnG Registered Users

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2014
    Messages:
    108
    Fascinating question :)
    When I was "shopping" for a lab I saw some adverts for 6 month old Foundation Trained puppies. But they were very, very expensive. 2-3k in UK money if I remember correctly.

    For me, I enjoy (mostly!) every minute of the training experience and always working to learn more and improve my skills.

    I don't think you can ever call a 6 month dog trained though, and consider it done. Do you know what their training methods are? Punitive training may hold up for a long time (if they've had the fear of god imprinted into them), but positive training needs constant reinforcement otherwise it can vanish.

    Not only that, when the puppy goes through adolescence (anywhere from 9 months to 2yrs I think?) they can forget all their training, and you get through it by continuing their training and staying consistent throughout. You would ideally need to know how they trained each activity so you can top it up yourself when needed. Do they come with a manual? :)

    Which then leads me to think you may as well just start from the beginning yourself, because I feel you can't get away from needing to continue it, one way or another. And there will always be new training challenges and more advanced stuff in the future, which you may be at a disadvantage for if you weren't solid on the foundational stuff.

    You can't beat the bond you get from an 8 week old pup who has only ever known you, and you are the center of their world. It may take more time to build on that with a 6 month old. Could even be unsettling for the puppy as he/she is effectively being re-homed and having their world turned upside down. The puppy might not even listen to you at all to start with, because you weren't their "boss" and educator.

    My gut feel is the negatives out way the positives. But that's just my humble opinion.
     
  4. JohnG

    JohnG Registered Users

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2014
    Messages:
    108
    snap :)
     
  5. suejoh

    suejoh Registered Users

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2014
    Messages:
    28
    Many thanks for your opinions. Yes, she is round about the price you suggested so I thought it would have to be an advantage for her to be trained.
    The trouble is that there are no working bitch pups around at the moment.
    So - I must not go and see her. I must be strong. I must not go and see her....... :)
     
  6. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2013
    Messages:
    22,638
    I've never myself bought a part trained dog, but my family had two dogs that in their early months were trained by professionals and they were both fabulous dogs (both better than the dogs that grew up in our busy family home with kids ruining my mum's training efforts). All guide and assistance dogs are trained by others before they find their final owner too. I'm sure lots of factors influence the success of it or not though.

    I'd definitely consider a part trained dog - what would be important to me was what the dog was like, so I'd expect to be able to have it on a trial basis for a bit.
     
  7. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    11,699
    Location:
    Andorra and Spain
    Except you were far more reasoned and eloquent!

    Sue - to me, that price would not be worth it at all. Like John, I have loved ever minute of my training and the bond it has built with my dogs - even through the difficult times! Also, since choosing to have a puppy, learning and researching about positive reinforcement training methods, I wouldn't want any dog of mine to be trained through any other methods. I am by no means perfect, but I strive to be. As much as positive reinforcement is becoming more and more accepted throughout the training world, it is still in the minority, and so I would be somewhat doubtful that anyone training "my" puppy would live up to my standards.

    Please note, I'm not saying that a 6 month old puppy trained to a high standard is over-priced. I fully appreciate the extra cost of food, veterinary care and the time and effort put into training comes at a high price for the 8 week to 6 month period. I'm simply saying that in my case, I don't think there is that much value added to the puppy, since I got so much out of that extra time with them.
     
  8. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    11,699
    Location:
    Andorra and Spain
    Are there any breeders you can put your name down with? Most well-bred pups are snapped up well before they are born.

    Wise. If you can stick to it. I know if I went to see her, I'd be coming home with her. So far better to do your reasoning without the pull of the heart strings. Hell, that's how I ended up with two puppies instead of one... actually, make that two puppies instead of none. :rolleyes:
     
  9. Oberon

    Oberon Moderator Forum Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2013
    Messages:
    14,438
    Location:
    Australia
    The thing I'd consider is - what are your training skills like? How much do you know about training? Although an older dog will have had some training, it will be up to you continue it and to use exactly the same cues as the original trainer did. And a puppy will have to be started from scratch. Both prospects will require good training skills, and I'd say that that is more important than whether you get a baby pup or an older pup :)
     
  10. Karen

    Karen Moderator Forum Supporter

    Joined:
    May 24, 2012
    Messages:
    10,606
    Interesting. I have a friend who bought a trained two-year old gun dog as a family pet. She hadn't made the grade as a gun dog, but is fantastically trained and is a wonderful house dog! I'd have thought a young dog of six months is only partially trained...

    I was talking to someone about possibly breeding from Poppy next year, and my worry about what happens if I can't find a good home for all the pups. She (a very experienced and well-respected breeder and trainer) said that I shouldn't worry; if one of the pups doesn't find a good home I could always keep him/her, start training, and then sell the puppy at six months as partially trained. She seemed to think there are lots of gun dog owners, not wishing to spend time with puppies, who choose to do this.

    Not that I would choose to do that. I think on the whole it's just nicer for a puppy to be with a family from the word go.

    Angela got her Dexter at five months old, I am just remembering.
     
  11. Dexter

    Dexter Moderator Forum Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2013
    Messages:
    11,178
    Location:
    Dubai
    Hi there,
    We live in Dubai and dogs cannot enter the country until they are 4 months old and due to a birth date mixup,our yellow boy was 5 months when he arrived.He came from a Gun dog kennels.He is our first dog and all I had to go on was an email from the Breeder about what basic skills he had....like Fiona mentioned I had to reproof most things.I also feel now I look back that it hindered my loose lead walking ....Dex had been handled kindly but 'traditionally' so I think it was confusing to him when I went about training him in a positive way.....at first.
    The benefits to us were he was house trained and crate trained and I missed most of the puppy biting and chewing.I was totally clueless about training him too,I've learned ( with a lot of help and advice from my Forum Friends ) as I've gone along so having some of the basics in place did help me for sure.
    Despite his strong working lines,Dexter is our pet and we love him to bits so I do regret that I never had his puppyhood.Totally ridiculously I wish I'd known Dexter 'Crocopup'
    Dexter was very cool towards us for a good while,he's not a hugely affectionate / friendly dog by nature and it took him time to warm to us.He is the best cuddler ever now and constantly by my side but he wanted his own space when he arrived.To be fair that was probably due to the set up he had come from rather than to do with his age.I can't bear to think about not having him so I try not to look down the years and say 'when we get our next dog' but I think having learned so much alongside him I'd feel equipped to take on a puppy and not make too much of a mess of it!
    Let us know what you finally side,and great to meet you on the Forum ,
    Best wishes
    Angela x
     
    Emily_BabbelHund likes this.
  12. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    11,699
    Location:
    Andorra and Spain
    Sorry to hijack the post, but a question, Angela. I know Dubai isn't exactly a doggy-friendly place, but do people breed dogs there? So, would you be able to get a young puppy at some point in the future? I'm not saying in a post-Dex world; you can have two dogs at once, you know! ;)
     
  13. Dexter

    Dexter Moderator Forum Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2013
    Messages:
    11,178
    Location:
    Dubai
    I know! I know.....and maybe....one day,but definitely not while we still live here.
    The only time I've ever heard of a properly bred set of pedigree pups was one of the vet nurses at our vets who 's friend bred from her spaniel.You see adverts on supermarket notice boards but it all feels unprofessional and irresponsible to be honest.EVERYONE I know with a dog has either imported from their home country with papers and thorough health checks,adopted from one of the rescue centers ,or bought from the pet shop ( pet shop dogs are puppy farmed dogs and it breaks my heart,I don't go into any of the shops that stock livestock)
    For me to come by another lab in this country it would probably be one that has been put in the rescue centre......so not a puppy ,so I'd miss all the early stages again! X
     
  14. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    11,699
    Location:
    Andorra and Spain
    Is there any chance of you getting an 8-week old in the UK and staying with it there until it gets to 4 months? Not that you're thinking about it, but.... well, you know.
     
  15. Dexter

    Dexter Moderator Forum Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2013
    Messages:
    11,178
    Location:
    Dubai
    Yes absolutely ,not that I'm thinking about it....but hypothetically of course!But I really,really ,really won't do it.....hypothetically ,while I live in Doobs x
     
  16. suejoh

    suejoh Registered Users

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2014
    Messages:
    28
    Hi All. We did go and see the 6 month old and she was lovely but I did not buy her. She was a bit cool towards us and so I thought it was not worth the risk that she would not warm to us. I did worry though that this was due to her age and as a pup she might have been all over us as Dexter mentioned. Anyway it is done now and she sold immediately after so no going back.
    Thanks everyone for being so helpful. Sue
     
  17. Dexter

    Dexter Moderator Forum Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2013
    Messages:
    11,178
    Location:
    Dubai
    You were brave !Well it sounds like she wasn't for you and she will have made another family very happy.Your dog/ puppy is still out there .....
    I've just read my original reply back to you and it sounds so irresponsible me saying I just had an email to go on from Dexter's breeder.!!!!!!! there was so much more to it than that.The Breeder was very well known to a family friend of ours who had bought several dogs over the years from him ......and over the 10 years it took for my Husband to get me to agree to a dog we always knew that we would approach this particular breeder....phew !I feel better telling you that I didn't just google and buy him!
    Let us know how you get on with your search and remember to come and introduce us to your new family manner when you find him/ her x
     
  18. suejoh

    suejoh Registered Users

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2014
    Messages:
    28
    Will do. Feeling a bit low about it though.
    Must just do other things through the summer.
     
  19. Karen

    Karen Moderator Forum Supporter

    Joined:
    May 24, 2012
    Messages:
    10,606
    Don't worry, the right dog for you will come along, I guarantee it. :)
     
  20. Oberon

    Oberon Moderator Forum Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2013
    Messages:
    14,438
    Location:
    Australia
    Definitely. When you get that dog or pup s/he will become so much a part of your family you won't be able to imagine life with any other dog.

    I think you really did the right thing by walking away when it didn't feel right. That dog doesn't sound like she was very people-oriented.

    Use the time to keep looking for the right dog/litter and planning your approach to training :)
     

Share This Page