This time I will talk about the pro and cons of starting with a pup.
First the Con’s
There are many unknowns. Is the pup the type of dog that you were hoping for when he or she is matured? Will there be health issues later in time? Can you get through the fear-period’s which might pop up in the pup growing up?
Starting with an 8 week old pup means that it takes at least 14 months before the dog is ready for some hard working on the street, and is still not matured enough to deal with some stress like a real fight. (for a multipurpose police dog). This is at least 13 months of having a dog in training and taken care of.
Time is money……..
But now the Pro’s.
I am a trainer that likes to reach the 100% level or at least close to it. Not saying that 100 % is the same for every dog, no 100% for that dog in question. Example: If I train a dog tracking I want that the dog does it with everything he or she has. The dogs must want to make the find even more than I do. If the dog finds out that tracking is on the menu then I want to see drive popping up almost beyond control. (not to be confused with hectic).
That is 100% performance for that dog.
To be able to reach that, starting with a pup is almost a must. Or at least if you want to reach that on a regular base and not too much hits and misses. Carefully selecting out of the known genepool’s and raising the little dog in environments the same as the future workplaces is an almost unbeatable start. Here at the beginning of development of the instincts and the drives of the dog we can bend the instincts to our own usefulness. Then let the drive take over and the dog is almost training himself. Yes, I am not talking about sit, down and heel. I talk about tracking, detection and apprehension.
Of course it needs trainers that have endless patience and know how to let the little dog experience no pressure of “have to” on a to early age. Hence if you do it correctly the dog won’t ever feel it as “HAVE TO” but as ”I WANT IT”, “try to stop me if you can”.
Yes, it takes time and money. The dog will be expensive if we look at the age compared with kennel dogs at the same age. But if you look at level of training and age the dog is cheap. Think about how much service life this dog is going to give you. Cheaper than the kennel dog for sure, it’s just a normal calculation.
Many, many, many questions I get about the out. Or better said does not out.
First of all congratulations you most probably have a dog with possession drive . A sub drive from prey drive.
If we look at nature then it is totally unheard of for a wild dog/wolf to let go what he just conquered or killed or just is about to kill. This is instinct to survive.
And we humans want to fight this against instinct. Even worse we demand it from dogs that are in the upper scale of the ranks and that are bred for their natural extreme high prey drive.
The only way to get a descent out and save the drive is exchange for something better. Like change the sandwich for a steak.
All the rest has drive killing in it. You have to trade the steak for a sandwich or else………. Or I say the word (out) and correct you off the steak and you have to settle for a sandwich. Or I say the word (out) and if you don’t all hell brakes loose on you. Endless combinations we have.
But it’s painful as drive is killed and handlers get bitten.
I am not saying it can’t be done. If there is a good build-up in the exercise on an early stage so the dog doesn’t see it as a conflict then it doesn’t have to be a problem.
But very often you see dogs more worrying about the handler coming towards them then the decoy/steak. While the handler coming in should be a ”Ha my buddy is coming to help me out”.
For me the answer lays in why work against nature. But that is something for next time…