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I don't know that that is the actual question to ask, but since it is what was asked, here are my thoughts. The answer to that specific question is probably a bit different for agility than for the other sports mentioned since the dogs have to have a much higher level of physical fitness and sound structure that mitigates against injury risks.


For obedience and rally the dog is much better off if it has good structure and fitness. For instance would I really want to jump Javelin over 24" high jumps or 48" broad jumps if he was overweight as opposed to on the lean side. In agility people (interested in any breed) are more likely to look at things like shoulder angulation and length to height ratios and such.


Genetics clearly plays a role in the structure the dog attains as an adult, but nutrition during growth, amounts and types of exercise also are important influences on what the dog's physical capabilities will trend towards.



Genetics also plays some role in the innate eagerness to learn and to understand certain types of activities. Guess what, poodles love to retrieve almost all of the time since they are, after all, retrievers. I know any number of folks with non-retrieving breeds who fight with the dumbbell.


Here too, the puppy environment plays a role as well though. Is the pup offered the opportunity to play scent games and retrieve oriented games? If yes, then the pup is likely to remember the basics of those games and transfer them to those exercises in obedience fairly easily. Training informally can and should begin early in a pup's life. But once the puppy is well grown enough to do movements on the flat training for sports can become more formal and serious. Once a young adult training for the chosen sport should be built into many different settings and as many days of the week as possible. Results will be different though for indiviual dogs of the same and of different breeds, with different handlers and using different techniques. Some people might get great outcomes if they are great trainers with smart working dogs. Other people might be great trainers but have somehow ended up with a pup that is not much smarter than a box of rocks who they will struggle to get good executions from.


Not really a simple question....
 

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Catherine, thank you. I was hoping you would jump on this b/c I knew you were one of our members here who is knowledgeable about it.

The member in mind is looking for a spoo puppy to do stuff with; I don't know the specifics of sports she's interested in.

I'm wondering now if you or others know if it's possible to select a spoo pup that would be innately good at this, i.e. have the good angulation you mentioned. I'm guessing the best indicator is it would have two parents that are well-structured and have won a lot of ribbons or titles in their sport, and if the pup is very playful and active (?) Seems the odds would be stacked in the puppy's favor.

At the same time, I think of how two couch potato parents sometimes have a very athletic child, or vice versa, and guess that dogs do this too.
 

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Vita I am wondering why the member here hasn't just asked for themselves about these issues. That seems to be one of the functions of a forum like this is for any person to ask or answer any question directly for themselves, rather than having back channel discussions where information is being filtered or altered in its passages through different people's ways of thinking. I hope that member will just chime in and ask for themselves about their concerns.



It is not always going to be the buyer who will know the answers to those questions it will be the breeder who produces the puppies. This is why a quality breeder is important particularly for someone who wants to do a sport(s) wth their dog.
 
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Well I certainly don't think anyone broke a written rule, but do think that those kinds of private discussions fly in the face of the spirit of any forum in that there is back door conversation happening that if held in the open forum could benefit from the eyes and ideas of all. It could get better answers for the person asking the questions and provide information for other people searching on the general topic.



I have real world friends who I met through PF and that is lovely for all concerned, however that doesn't mean I am going to babysit any of them. We can all pull on our big girl/boy panties/boxers and speak for ourselves (unless there is bullying going on, which doesn't seem to be the case here). If I have PM discussions with people (and I do) I don't hint about the nature of those conversations in the open forum and often my answer to people is "see this thread" or "search this topic," not okay I will carry your water for you.



I am now actually rather sorry I took the bait here because I really think this is just supremely silly to have one person here serving as a surrogate for another. This is a nice group of people. If your "friend" doesn't understand that then maybe she has some things to think about.
 

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Well now, back on topic.

I read this article, Helen King on Structure Evaluation. It has anatomical photos for reference too. Here's an excerpt:

..."When I look at a puppy for evaluation, the first thing I look for is a long and well sloped pelvis. Then I look at the croup. Is there a lot of room from the top of the pelvic bones to the root of the tail? A great performance dog needs lots of strength and power in their rear ends. That is their engine! A weak rear in a dog with a great front is like putting a go cart engine in a Lamborghini. In agility, the ability to stop quickly and effortlessly, accelerate with power and turn on a dime will serve the dog well.

"A good sloping shoulder will allow the dog to reach and accept the power from behind. If the dog has good rear angulation and power from behind, it needs a well angulated shoulder to balance that drive. If the shoulder angle is lacking, the dog will tend to move up and down rather than forward but that doesn鈥檛 mean it still can鈥檛 be a great agility dog!..."

It says so much more on the topic. I found this by googling, "poodle angulation in sports".
 

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Helen King was PF member Jility. You can search for her posts here to gain insights about her experience with spoos in agility. She was a very successful and well known agility competitor. Sadly she lost her battle with cancer in September 2015. I am sorry not to have met her in person but we were connected through FB performance poodle peeps.
 

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Ok,for me,I had Otter's litter temperament tested ( 7wks) by my main trainer and trusty assistant (also a top competitor,though neither are poodle people),and we all agreed "Blue" was the one.(even though he had previously been chosen by a pet person-popular pup!:angel2:) You are looking for traits,I suppose. He was a natural retriever,follower,quick recovery from startle.forgiving (thank God,or we would not have the relationship we have today)

Too bad Stacey is not on PF, Catherine,or she may have some insight. I never chose a competitor by testing,just went with what I had on the lead!:ahhhhh:

Martha et al
 

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Ok,for me,I had Otter's litter temperament tested ( 7wks) by my main trainer and trusty assistant (also a top competitor,though neither are poodle people),and we all agreed "Blue" was the one.(even though he had previously been chosen by a pet person-popular pup!:angel2:) You are looking for traits,I suppose. He was a natural retriever,follower,quick recovery from startle.forgiving (thank God,or we would not have the relationship we have today)

Too bad Stacey is not on PF, Catherine,or she may have some insight. I never chose a competitor by testing,just went with what I had on the lead!:ahhhhh:


Martha et al

Yes, Stacey might have some insights for here, but she certainly has other things on her plate right now.


Anyway, Javelin was also a pet home person's top choice too and he had done all sorts of testing on his pick visit. We went either later that same day or the next day and did not do any formal temperament testing, but came up with "blue collar boy" as our first choice too and I got him since I was first person on the boy list. He has turned out to be a lovely and spirited dog who loves to learn, but has a bit of the wild man in him too. We are finally figuring each other out. About time since we have spent just about 23.5 hours per day together since June 2017 when I started bringing him to work with me.......
 

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I truly think it's a mix of training and genetics when it comes to a great performance dog based on my experience.

I have two standards: a 5 year old and a 16 month old. The 5 year old is a grand champion and my "A" dog. We were able to get a CD, PCD, BN, and RA, plus his CGC (and some of the UKC equivalents of these titles). He is extremely intelligent (and beautiful), but he does have a stubborn streak, is very sensitive, and is a clown. He needs lots of motivation to stay engaged in what he's doing; if he finds something is boring or unfun, he will shut down. His training in open came to a screeching halt because the trainer I was working with tried the force retrieve method for the dumbbell. Well, that didn't go over very well. And we have stopped training for Open for the time being to play in agility. Agility is very self rewarding to him. Unfortunately we started this a bit late, so we may be eventually able to get some of the novice titles, but I don't think MACH is going to happen before he gets too old to run safely.

Now my 16 month old, has a completely different temperament: he is very drivey, loves to learn, is eager to try new things, and has a great work ethic. We are right now starting his adult conformation career, but once his hair comes off, we are off to performance training. I've joked with his breeder that he will be the first GCH, OTCH, MACH, ROCH poodle, however I think in the right hands, he can do it. His auntie and grandmother are proving to be exceptional obedience dogs. He will be a fun one, once he grows out of his teenage puppy brain. :)
 

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Well now, back on topic.

I read this article, Helen King on Structure Evaluation. It has anatomical photos for reference too. Here's an excerpt:

..."When I look at a puppy for evaluation, the first thing I look for is a long and well sloped pelvis. Then I look at the croup. Is there a lot of room from the top of the pelvic bones to the root of the tail? A great performance dog needs lots of strength and power in their rear ends. That is their engine! A weak rear in a dog with a great front is like putting a go cart engine in a Lamborghini. In agility, the ability to stop quickly and effortlessly, accelerate with power and turn on a dime will serve the dog well.

"A good sloping shoulder will allow the dog to reach and accept the power from behind. If the dog has good rear angulation and power from behind, it needs a well angulated shoulder to balance that drive. If the shoulder angle is lacking, the dog will tend to move up and down rather than forward but that doesn鈥檛 mean it still can鈥檛 be a great agility dog!..."

It says so much more on the topic. I found this by googling, "poodle angulation in sports".
I was pointed to Helen King's writings during my search for a spoo 3 years ago. Though I didn't care about conformation per se, I wanted a sound dog for agility. I know more than I want to on the topic, for example, puppies must be evaluated for structure at a specific age (I think 7 weeks) where they most resemble their future adult proportions. After that they may grow in strange ways, legs faster than body, etc.

I've stated in other threads that I believe that each litter has the capability of producing a "performance" dog. Find a good breeder and trust their evaluation and recommendation. It's difficult, though not impossible, to create the kind of drive that my boy was born with.
 

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I truly think it's a mix of training and genetics when it comes to a great performance dog based on my experience.

I have two standards: a 5 year old and a 16 month old. The 5 year old is a grand champion and my "A" dog. We were able to get a CD, PCD, BN, and RA, plus his CGC (and some of the UKC equivalents of these titles). He is extremely intelligent (and beautiful), but he does have a stubborn streak, is very sensitive, and is a clown. He needs lots of motivation to stay engaged in what he's doing; if he finds something is boring or unfun, he will shut down. His training in open came to a screeching halt because the trainer I was working with tried the force retrieve method for the dumbbell. Well, that didn't go over very well. And we have stopped training for Open for the time being to play in agility. Agility is very self rewarding to him. Unfortunately we started this a bit late, so we may be eventually able to get some of the novice titles, but I don't think MACH is going to happen before he gets too old to run safely.

Now my 16 month old, has a completely different temperament: he is very drivey, loves to learn, is eager to try new things, and has a great work ethic. We are right now starting his adult conformation career, but once his hair comes off, we are off to performance training. I've joked with his breeder that he will be the first GCH, OTCH, MACH, ROCH poodle, however I think in the right hands, he can do it. His auntie and grandmother are proving to be exceptional obedience dogs. He will be a fun one, once he grows out of his teenage puppy brain. :)
Are there no poodles who have all of those titles yet? I hope you go for it and I also think it would be fun to try for all of those with Luna! I think the only thing that could hold us back is our lack of shows nearby.
 

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I truly think it's a mix of training and genetics when it comes to a great performance dog based on my experience.

I have two standards: a 5 year old and a 16 month old. The 5 year old is a grand champion and my "A" dog. We were able to get a CD, PCD, BN, and RA, plus his CGC (and some of the UKC equivalents of these titles). He is extremely intelligent (and beautiful), but he does have a stubborn streak, is very sensitive, and is a clown. He needs lots of motivation to stay engaged in what he's doing; if he finds something is boring or unfun, he will shut down. His training in open came to a screeching halt because the trainer I was working with tried the force retrieve method for the dumbbell. Well, that didn't go over very well. And we have stopped training for Open for the time being to play in agility. Agility is very self rewarding to him. Unfortunately we started this a bit late, so we may be eventually able to get some of the novice titles, but I don't think MACH is going to happen before he gets too old to run safely.

Now my 16 month old, has a completely different temperament: he is very drivey, loves to learn, is eager to try new things, and has a great work ethic. We are right now starting his adult conformation career, but once his hair comes off, we are off to performance training. I've joked with his breeder that he will be the first GCH, OTCH, MACH, ROCH poodle, however I think in the right hands, he can do it. His auntie and grandmother are proving to be exceptional obedience dogs. He will be a fun one, once he grows out of his teenage puppy brain. :)

Well now I personally know a GCh, OTCh, MACh, RAE/RM poodle, a silver mini. Her owner likes titles so I hope you get all those titles but I think since this team has a head start on you they will be the first. I don't think anyone has earned a RACh yet under the original point schedule, but there are a bunch of people who are pretty close.
 
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You are looking for traits,I suppose. He was a natural retriever,follower,quick recovery from startle.forgiving (thank God,or we would not have the relationship we have today)

Martha et al
Those sound like great traits in a pet too, how do you know you have that when you look at a litter? Are you more likely to find those qualities when seeing a breeder focused on performance rather than your typical show breeder?
 

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Those sound like great traits in a pet too, how do you know you have that when you look at a litter? Are you more likely to find those qualities when seeing a breeder focused on performance rather than your typical show breeder?

Not necessarily. Both of my wonderful workers come from breeders whose pups mostly go to pet homes. I think those traits will be present in varying ways in any litter of puppies. To find the qualities one wants one has to find a good breeder with whom you can build a relationship wherein their interests are in understanding your interests and needs.
 

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You are looking for traits,I suppose. He was a natural retriever,follower,quick recovery from startle.forgiving (thank God,or we would not have the relationship we have today)

Martha et al
Those sound like great traits in a pet too, how do you know you have that when you look at a litter? Are you more likely to find those qualities when seeing a breeder focused on performance rather than your typical show breeder?
These are all things that are tested for in the Volhard puppy aptitude test. A lot of breeders use this test, whether show or performance. My breeder and our other local breeder breed mainly for show but they both use it. I have helped them perform it on some of their litters. It should be done right at 7 weeks old. Something you may want to ask about when you make contact with a breeder. If the puppies are under 7 weeks still you could possibly request that they do the test, though I would probably feel most comfortable with the results of a person who has done it before.
 
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Those sound like great traits in a pet too, how do you know you have that when you look at a litter? Are you more likely to find those qualities when seeing a breeder focused on performance rather than your typical show breeder?
Otter's breeder concentrates on conformation only,but there are performance dogs in the way background,and several people have done performance with her lines. I had helped Dottie,my main trainer,test another litter of spoos,and the differences were staggering. (I was frankly a little scared after we tested the first litter,but that was a different line) The people who tested Otter's litter have done this for years,and the companions they chose for themselves have done very well.I believe they use the Volhard test.
I have to believe it is the individual dog more than anything, and then going forward with positive training to enhance that.I am fortunate to have friends well versed in "traits/aptitudes",'cause I would take them all!

Martha and the WildMan
 
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