Good first sport dog?

Discussion in 'The Dog Breeds' started by Muttkip, Jul 25, 2012.

  1. Muttkip

    Muttkip LABRADERP!

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    I've ALWAYS wanted an APBT more then anything, but lately despite EVERYTHING I've said, the field bred Labrador is looking better and better for my first sport dog. I have a Lab mix and I love her to death. Dumb as a box of rocks, but she's sooooo fun and sweet. Shame she has no ball drive and hates the water. I even found a breeder that really appeals to me that is not to far from me.

    Anyone have any thoughts on a field bred lab as a first sport dog?

    This is the breeder that I'm falling in love with, I LOVE the looks of their dogs and I'm even planning names for the male puppy I want in the next year or so.

    http://www.autumnridgelabradors.com/index.htm
     
  2. Kilter

    Kilter New Member

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    I guess it depends on you as a trainer and what appeals to you, how you'd train and so on.

    Storee has a show dog/performance dog mom, and a field dog for a dad. She's a golden. MUCH different than my first golden who was show/performance. At five, she's finally settled down and started to really care if I'm part of the game. Before that there was quite a few times I'd toss up my hands and put her back in her crate and quit bothering to power struggle with her.

    I've seen that with border collies too, where people think drive = ribbons and get a dog that's way way too over the top. Just something to consider!
     
  3. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    I think a dog like summer is the best 'starter' sports dog. I got her as an adult (4 years) and we've just played with training. We could have competed if I had been more serious with her but we're still playing and having fun together. She's taught me a lot.

    Summer's just a great balance of a dog. She's very easy going, biddable, pretty smart, she has good food drive but she's in no way over the top. She was great to learn on because I didn't have to spend so much work on her as opposed to Miss Mia who is waaaaay faster than me and I find myself tripping over myself very often. The impulse control issues I have with Mia weren't there with Summer either. She's just steady... without being slow at all. Honestly, Summer's on the fast side of dogs, even at 8 years old, but not turbo like Mia. I think I would go crazy with the kind of dog you have to constantly try to bring 'up' all the time.

    I guess it does depend on what 'sport' you're looking at. But I do really recommend that most people go with a good, steady for their first agility dog. More room for errors that way.
     
  4. Emily

    Emily Rollin' with my bitches

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    Well, it depends so much on what you want. If you like the retrievers/gun dog types, I'd say they often make excellent first sport dogs. Biddable, fun, and lacking the potential for reactive/aggressive tendencies like many herding breeds. It also depends on what sport you want to do.

    That said, field Labs can actually be quite hard headed - not that that's a bad thing, if you know how to work with it. But if you like gun dogs and what to dabble in dog sports, my first choice would a performance bred Golden. There's a strong contingency of Goldens bred for OB/agility (and hunt testing) and IME they're really, really nice dogs. My friend has a gorgeous performance line Golden who's pretty awesome - maybe a tiiiiny bit on the soft side for my taste, but a very nice dog.

    ETA: Go check out local trials, there will be tons of Goldens in the Obedience ring. See what you think! And check out agility trials as well, there will be probably be at least a few running.
     
  5. monkeys23

    monkeys23 New Member

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    There are ways to work on building toy drive. Maybe try that with your lab mix?
     
  6. Red Chrome

    Red Chrome New Member

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    I know a lot of Labs and really like them. As soon as I can convince my friend to let me "ruin" one by doing Schutzhund with it, I will have one. Her dogs are drivey and awesome!!
     
  7. CaliTerp07

    CaliTerp07 New Member

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    I gotta agree with a few of the other posters. Without knowing what sports you want to try, my gut says to use the mellow, biddable dog you have to learn the ropes. Honestly, Lucy was too much dog to have as a first agility dog. We had to work 3x as hard as others to get basic stuff, because she's SO drivey and wound up all the time. She doesn't have a realistic speed--it's just ZOOM. She doesn't have a bone in her body that says, "Oh, you want me to do this? Okay." It's all "What's in it for me? Huh? Huh? Too late, I found something more exciting over here, *ZOOM*"

    At the same time, I had no clue what I was doing and had to learn from the ground up. I made a ton of training errors with her. If I get another dog after her, I'll know exactly what to start training from day 1. I would think if you're getting a sports prospect, you'd want that knowledge under your belt before you brought the dog home.

    That said, there is a girl in my classes who has 2 field bred labs (one is 4, one is a puppy) and is very successful with them. She learned on her (now elderly) mystery mutt she already had though, so she could hit the ground running when she brought her labs home.
     
  8. MafiaPrincess

    MafiaPrincess Obvious trollsare Obvious

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    Hey it's Cider and my story.. Cider at 7, almost 8 is still high. Still climbs the wall. Is STILL spun. She was my first dog and while a mill rescue, had more drive than I knew what to do with. We made tons of errors in training, and it was a long hard road.

    Got Smudge wanted drive but less.. he was far easier to work with..

    Now I'd like pup three.. and want more drive than he has to be more competitive than he can be. If you are new to training and sports I'd pick something more moderate to learn with, and then maybe make the leap to higher drive later.
     
  9. CaliTerp07

    CaliTerp07 New Member

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    Yup, that's Lucy! I have no desire to have multiple dogs, so she is what she is and I'm working with it, but man it's a challenge! She's 7-8ish too, and regularly climbs the fence out of my yard and is faster than most of the other dogs at trials--she just has zero inhibition or impulse control except what little I've worked my behind off to instill in her.
     
  10. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

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    This is truly valuable. Also the more biddable the better!
     
  11. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    And I agree if it's agility or rally or obedience you're interested in, start with your current dog (unless there's a health issue there). I am always a fan of starting with the dog you have to test the waters. Dogsports can take up a lot of time and money *looks over at the $150 I spent today on cleanrun* I think it's very easy to say you want a high drive sports dog without any experience without realizing what it can entail.

    You don't need toy drive for agility at all either. Food works just about as well and you can always build toy drive.

    I honestly got a Mia dog too soon. I had done about 6 months of training with Summer but it was with a not so great trainer with outdated methods. Mia was... a new experience, lol! In better hands, she'd have already been amazing. I'm still fumbling along well behind her. I still often times have more fun training Summer than Mia. It's so nice to have a confident, easy going, happy, fun dog to play with sometimes.
     
  12. mrose_s

    mrose_s BusterLove

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    I agree with Laur. I got Quinn as my first sport dog and in hindsight, it wasn't the best decision BUT I had thought about that and I decided if I was going to take on a dog for the next 10+ years I wanted something I REALLY wanted. A smooth collie or nice GSP would have been "easier" to start with, I've already made so many mistake with Quinn and created problems I didn't need to but I wouldn't change her for the world, she teaches me so much.
     
  13. MandyPug

    MandyPug Sport Model Pug

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    For things like agility and rally and that kind of stuff I'm a firm believer in working with the dog you have (as long as they're physically able to do the job). The bond is there already and really any dog should be able to do those sports. Your current dog will also teach you a lot about the sports and no matter what kind of dog you have now or will get in the future they'll always teach you something valuable that you can carry on to the next one.
     
  14. Muttkip

    Muttkip LABRADERP!

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    The dog I can do sports with has no drive AT ALL! She's a great dog, but she HATES water, HATES toys. She's just not an ideal sport dog. I chose the field bred Lab for the drive and fact that I can also do duck hunting with him as well.

    I might look into another Beagle again for an agility dog, but I want something bigger with more drive. I'm in the beginning stages of research right now, I used to be die hard MUST have APBT!!!! But the DA, and BSL has turned me off a bit towards them, so I want something different.

    Feel free to add more breeds from the gun dog group. That doesn't need much grooming and has great drive. I'm also thinking of maybe even a well bred pointer or GSP.
     
  15. Emily

    Emily Rollin' with my bitches

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    I understand that she doesn't like toys, but does she like food? If she does, you can do plenty in Rally, OB, and agility. I'm not saying you shouldn't get a new dog but while you're waiting, working the dog you have can put you miles ahead for when you do get that perfect puppy. Trust me, you won't regret putting a foundation on the dog you have now. It will be time well spent. Also, read up on building prey/toy drive and start working. Those techniques will be vital when your puppy comes home.

    I know sometimes people make it seem like "sport dogs" come with perfect genetics because we spend so much time on selection, but the fact is that even with driviest of dogs, handling is an absolutely enormous part of you success. If you hash out some of these skills on your less than ideal dog, your pup will be set up for success.
     
  16. Zhucca

    Zhucca Lab Love

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    I think labs would make a fantastic first sports dog, if you get one from the right breeder.

    Honestly, most true field bred labs are absolutely nuts. (I mean that in an very endearing way). They can be very difficult to work with because they're very hard headed and have a lot going on. They're just a lot of dog. If you're just starting out in dog sports I'd recommend a more balanced lab to start off with. With labs being so common there are a lot of breeders to choose from. My lab, Duke, is probably the best first sports dog I could ask for. I haven't started anything with him yet (money reasons) but I do train him outside of classes/sports and I have to say he can be a lot easier to train than my friends lab McGruff who is high octane. He's more forgiving of mistakes.

    I guess it just boils down to what type of dog you want. If you're used to low key dogs and just want a fun companion who is motivated and loves training, go for the more balanced dog. You don't need to get a Ferrari to bring to a hobby race. If you like dogs who go-go-go all the time, get your high energy field lab. With their certain challenges aside, they are awesome dogs to work with.

    P.s:
    Just cause I love this breeder (I kinda stalk her posts on a lab forum) but check out http://www.windycanyonlabs.com
     
  17. MandyPug

    MandyPug Sport Model Pug

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    That. A crazy sport bred dog may have drive but it's up to you to be able to build and channel that drive properly and be able to handle it in the sport. My pug didn't have much toy drive but I built it up and now shes a pretty sweet performance dog. It can be done, it just takes some patience and persistence (so does handling a crazy drivey dog though too).
     
  18. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    Summer hates water and hates toys. You don't need toy drive or a dog that will play in the water for agility or obedience. What exactly do you want to do in sports? What sports are you wanting to play?

    You can do so much with just food. I agree, you won't regret working your current dog even if they're not an ideal sports dog. Really, 99.999% of dogs are not 'ideal' sports dogs. There's always something to work through.

    And hey, my dog that has not played with a toy in her entire 8+ years was tugging after ONE session of building her toy drive. Not a hard tug, but it's a start.

    I'm also watching one of the most timid/nervous dogs really start to blossom in just a month and a half of foundation classes right now. Good instruction and foundation work will really bring out drive like crazy.

    Ask BostonBanker about training her dog, Meg. There are a lot of people that start out with less than drivey dogs and end up with solid competitors.
     
  19. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

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    I wish my toy driven psycho had more food drive but I used to wish Arnold had ANY toy drive. The grass is always greener. LOL
     
  20. Shai

    Shai & the Muttly Crew

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    +2 or 3 or 4 to the idea that starting with the dog you have is the best possible thing you can do. What have you got to lose anyway...if you're still in the research phase for your next pup you have time. Use it to learn the basic skills needed and train yourself. And all the work you put in to teaching your existing dog to focus, to drive, and to enjoy the work will pay off big time when you start over again with the new pup.

    Training yourself while training the dog can be done but it's hard and there is usually fallout. Ask my oldest girl, Kim. She had the potential to really be a rockstar, both physically and drive-wise...still does...but she was saddled with a rookie under extremely poor tutelage early on. Taught me everything I know and more but man do I wish I could go back in time with her!
     

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