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Hi, I am on a reserve list for a black mini litter. When I was looking at breeders for toys and minis some of them had posted videos of their litters. As these were all litters who were bred at home to decent breeders I loved seeing how confident the little ones where when they were venturing out of the puppy-pen. I quickly found myself attracted to the pups who were the bravest. The ones climbing out first and didn't always turn back when the mother called haha. Or who stole the toys away from their sibling.

So since I am one of the first on the reserve list (the litter is planned for autumn 2021) I guess I will be able to pick. Unless its only a singleton or there is another buyer looking for a show-quality. So I have been thinking about what qualities I should ask for. We are two young adults, no kids, no other pets, very active. So I suppose that we could handle the energetic and outgoing puppy. I think what really attracts me to a dog is confidence (but nurture plays a big role with that too).

But I am curious, especially those of you who are breeders, how accurate were your early predictions of temperament? Have you found that the way that the pup behaves when its around 5 to 7 weeks or even earlier was a good indicator for their temperament as an adult? or have you had situations where the first one to climb out of the puppy pen grew up to be a bit more nervous or low energy than expected or vice versa?
 

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Congrats on your upcoming addition. I would always defer to breeder opinion on puppy temperament because they will know them best. My pup was picked as an agility prospect. He was a very confident puppy that probably would have rated 2s and 3s on volhard. I was told he had a great temperament, was high energy, but very focused and attentive to people. He is now 13 months so still developing, but these qualities have stayed true. He is incredibly confident and rarely finds anything to be afraid of. Everybody and everything is viewed as a potential playmate. He was/is a difficult and demanding puppy in that he was incredibly mouthy and headstrong, and has a great deal of energy and enthusiasm for everything. He enjoys learning and picks things up quickly, though he needs things to be kept interesting. In puppy class he was the puppy that benefited the most from settling exercises, and the challenge was to keep him from zooming around like a madman. Yes he learned faster than the others and did anything I asked of him, but I think the other puppy owners were much happier with their lazy easy settling pups! He does have a great off switch at home provided he gets an hour of dedicated outdoor exercise and plenty of tug/fetch time. I love him and am very happy to have him.
 

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Congrats on your upcoming addition. I would always defer to breeder opinion on puppy temperament because they will know them best. My pup was picked as an agility prospect. He was a very confident puppy that probably would have rated 2s and 3s on volhard. I was told he had a great temperament, was high energy, but very focused and attentive to people. He is now 13 months so still developing, but these qualities have stayed true. He is incredibly confident and rarely finds anything to be afraid of. Everybody and everything is viewed as a potential playmate. He was/is a difficult and demanding puppy in that he was incredibly mouthy and headstrong, and has a great deal of energy and enthusiasm for everything. He enjoys learning and picks things up quickly, though he needs things to be kept interesting. In puppy class he was the puppy that benefited the most from settling exercises, and the challenge was to keep him from zooming around like a madman. Yes he learned faster than the others and did anything I asked of him, but I think the other puppy owners were much happier with their lazy easy settling pups! He does have a great off switch at home provided he gets an hour of dedicated outdoor exercise and plenty of tug/fetch time. I love him and am very happy to have him.
I'm not entirely sure whether I truly want an energetic pup or whether I have just developed stockholm syndrome from growing up with a dog who was not just a labrador x Border Collie mix but most likely came from working dogs. We used to go to the pet store on fridays to 'buy peace' in the form of chews to be able to have a family movie night haha.
 

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I'm not entirely sure whether I truly want an energetic pup or whether I have just developed stockholm syndrome from growing up with a dog who was not just a labrador x Border Collie mix but most likely came from working dogs. We used to go to the pet store on fridays to 'buy peace' in the form of chews to be able to have a family movie night haha.
A good thing I heard a trainer say is that when deciding something like this, it's good to pretend you have a dog for a week. Walk the walks you will with your dog every day. Set aside time in you schedule that you spend "training" and "playing" and see how much time you are realistically comfortable with. It's easy when you have time and energy for the dog. Less so when you are tired or very busy.

Most minis are higher energy dogs. Unless you want to do agility or other performance activity that requires a lot of drive, you probably will be perfectly happy with a less intense dog. I love my dog and his energy is a good match for my lifestyle, but I do see how in the average house he could be a very difficult dog. A bored dog is a recipe for disaster. And he isn't a big chewer, so I have to exercise his mind.
 

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Hi, I am on a reserve list for a black mini litter. When I was looking at breeders for toys and minis some of them had posted videos of their litters. As these were all litters who were bred at home to decent breeders I loved seeing how confident the little ones where when they were venturing out of the puppy-pen. I quickly found myself attracted to the pups who were the bravest. The ones climbing out first and didn't always turn back when the mother called haha. Or who stole the toys away from their sibling.

So since I am one of the first on the reserve list (the litter is planned for autumn 2021) I guess I will be able to pick. Unless its only a singleton or there is another buyer looking for a show-quality. So I have been thinking about what qualities I should ask for. We are two young adults, no kids, no other pets, very active. So I suppose that we could handle the energetic and outgoing puppy. I think what really attracts me to a dog is confidence (but nurture plays a big role with that too).

But I am curious, especially those of you who are breeders, how accurate were your early predictions of temperament? Have you found that the way that the pup behaves when its around 5 to 7 weeks or even earlier was a good indicator for their temperament as an adult? or have you had situations where the first one to climb out of the puppy pen grew up to be a bit more nervous or low energy than expected or vice versa?
Whether you are first on the reserve list or not should have nothing to do with you being able to pick your puppy. Responsible breeders don't let people select their own pup, they pick the best one in the litter for you. They do temperament testing at approximately 7 weeks and then decide which puppy to place with each potential owner depending on the results. My current girls from each litter I got a pup from were placed with me by my breeder based on my requirements because I do high-level performance training and showing, especially agility, but also obedience, rally, barn hunt, coursing, etc.. I wanted a bitch, that was non-negotiable, but had no color preference because I wanted the best pup for me, irregardless of color (there were both blues and blacks in each litter). I also wanted a high drive/high energy, super confident and very outgoing pup. I have Standards, but "energetic and outgoing" of any size is something to think about..You say you are very active young adults and that is great. But what do you plan to do with an energetic/outgoing puppy? A dog like that will absolutely need a combination of decent physical activity/exercise as well as structured mental stimulation and training. I can absolutely say that the pup from each litter picked for me by my breeder based on temperament testing by her and the other tester at about 7 weeks, evaluation of the litter for conformation and structure, plus my breeder's knowing the pups inside and out from raising them, doing puppy culture, ENS, etc. was spot on. My older girl has 86 titles across multiple venues - agility, obedience, rally, barn hunt, tricks, etc. and my younger is coming up on 30 something in the same.
 

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Thank you both for your replies.

You say you are very active young adults and that is great. But what do you plan to do with an energetic/outgoing puppy? A dog like that will absolutely need a combination of decent physical activity/exercise as well as structured mental stimulation and training.
I think with our schedules we would have to be more careful of not over-exercising when its young. We would have to reduce our activities the first few months (our relaxed evening walk last night was 4km and 2hrs long) and replace them with training and socialisation sessions. I find that providing enough exercise is easy, teaching impulse control and to settle, thats the challenging part of an energetic dog. They don't just magically turn off after a 2hr run. Although I would say that adolescence is worse than puppyhood for that. When they are puppies they still need their baby sleeps. As adolescents they have the (lack of) impulse control of puppies with an added sprinkle of hormones and the energy levels and sleep routines of an adult...

Whether you are first on the reserve list or not should have nothing to do with you being able to pick your puppy. Responsible breeders don't let people select their own pup, they pick the best one in the litter for you. They do temperament testing at approximately 7 weeks and then decide which puppy to place with each potential owner depending on the results. .
I guess I should have been more clear. The breeder is not going to just let me walk in and pick which ever pup I find cutest. But I also do have to disagree with you a little bit. Picking a puppy is not just up to the breeder, its a joint effort between the breeder and the potential owner. What I am trying to decide is what to say to the breeder so she can help me pick the right pup. I had written a very long explanation of why I picked the poodle and why I picked this breeder. But I am not going to bore you with that essay. But to sum up, rest assured that I wouldn't be getting a miniature poodle unless I was comfortable with the whole spectrum of the poodle temperament/energy levels. I am a strong believer in that although dogs within breeds are individuals and they fluctuate in their intensity you don't get puppy of a breed with the hopes that it will be the least intense version of that breed. If I wanted a lazy lapdog then I would be contacting Cavalier breeders, not Poodle breeders. I am also very comfortable with the breeder that I have chosen. We had a very long discussion about temperament and we agree on what we find important in the breed and in small dogs, mainly confidence.

As I had been so focused on just finding a good poodle, which was hard enough. I wasn't as well prepared for the question of how to pick a puppy from a litter that already fulfills my criteria. Its like picking which piece of chocolate you want from a box of luxury chocolates.

What I am curious about is actually how accurate those early temperament assessments are. If we have a conversation with the breeder and she decides to allocate us the pup who is more mellow. What are the chances that it will grow up to have the energy levels which could rival a Belgian Malinois? Or vice versa, can the pup who climbed out of the puppy pen first grow up to be a bit of neurotic mess?
 
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