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Delicate subject...should I or shouldn't I?(LONG)


sushiwelldone
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[b]I know there are some here who do not agree with dog breeding of any kind..if it offends you to read about people who produce puppies...please don't read[/b].

My Mother is a highly respected breeder of Miniature Poodles. She has never had more that one litter in a year or owned more than one breeding female at a time. All of her dogs live in her house (never has more than 3 dogs at a time) and she has had the top miniature poodle for conformation in Canada in the past. Almost all of the dogs she has owned went on to get their obedience titles after retiring from the show ring and she has taught obedience and conformation classes. The line she has developed was out of her mentor's dogs (a respected judge/breeder from Toronto) and this was also the woman who my Mother learned her life-long profession of dog grooming from. My Mother's poodles were always very out-going, friendly and intelligent. Some of her past pups went on to become hearing ear dogs and therapy dogs but mostly family pets.

Here comes the problem...I have found that in the past 5-6 years she has had 2 or 3 pups that had questionable temperaments and conformation wise I don't think they are up to her previous standards. My sister co-owns one male who has done great things (conformation, obedience, agility and flyball titles) but he is very shy when my sister is not around. When she is there he is out-going and friendly but I have looked after their dogs and when I would try and let him out for a run he wouldn't even come out of his crate for me. My Mom has a female that doesn't like kids or other dogs and can also be quite nervous at times (these are all dogs who could NOT have had more varied or complete socialization). When I am over with my dog her female sits at her feet and snarls at my dog (something called"resource guarding"). She does not have the out going personality I am used to in my Mom's dogs. This female had a litter about 1 year ago and she sold a male pup to a couple who had had 2 of her pups in the past (both died of old age). This pup suddenly became very aggressive at about 11-12 months of age. The people could not control him so they spoke to my Mom who told them to bring him to classes where she worked with them and the dog to show them how to assert dominance. (I think she was too aggressive with the dog...but she knows more than I do I guess). Anyway, they were supposed to do some work at home with him, get a halty for walks, etc. A few days later my Mom gets a call that the dog bit the husband badly and they were going to put the dog down. My Mom offered to take him back and work with him and give them a refund or a future pup as she guarantees her temperaments unconditionally. They felt it would be "unfair" for anyone to have the dog as he was unpredictable. I saw this dog at classes and he was quite nasty but my Mom seemed to be able to handle him without any fear. The lady was very scared of the dog you could tell. I know my sister will be very upset when she finds out the people decided to put the dog down.
I think the line my Mother has now is just not as stable as it should be. I don't know how to say this to her without upsetting her. I am no expert but I think I may have a better perspective as I am not emotionally involved with the animals. I don't know exactly where things "went wrong" but I think she is playing with fire and needs to re-think anymore breeding until she gets a handle on this temperament thing. It is such a shame because until recently her dogs were always solid as could be in every way. (I guess that's why so many people like this couple kept coming back for another pup when the old one passed away).

How would you approach this subject with someone who is far more experienced in dogs than yourself? I have told her that I don't like her female's temperment and she agrees that it isn't what she would like (but this dog has never been aggressive to people..though she avoids children). I feel that although not aggressive to people, she doesn't have the personality a poodle should, so maybe she shouldn't have used her for breeding. She is spayed now. She has the sister of the aggressive male and she has her conformation title already. This dog is out-going but can become nervous in a new setting (despite going to a lot of dog shows). She has shown [b]no[/b] aggressive behaviour and loves kids. What do you experts here think? Should this female be bred given her brother's problems? I am conflicted on whether I should open this can of worms or not.

I should add that I do not subscribe to the belief that "THERE ARE NO BAD DOGS..ONLY BAD OWNERS" I firmly believe that a dog can be mentally unstable for purely organic/genetic reasons. There is no reason why a thinking animal such as a dog couldn't suffer from a host of mental illnesses which may result in aggression. Of course, most of these conditons can be overcome with effort but I do believe there is no hope for some very unstable dogs.

Hope some of you can help me decide what to do with this touchy subject (sorry I tend to ramble) :(

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[color=darkred]Hi sushiwelldone

I think many breeders should look at this problem when considering to breed there dogs, if a pup was born with aggression you can guarantee it came from its parents......which of course should not have been bred from in the first place. There are dogs who have a mental problem and it is up to the breeders to sort it out, however even those that are nervous shouldn't be bred from, this will be passed over to the offspring which will just carry on and on from puppy to puppy.
Puppies should show no signs of nervousness, aggressiveness, or shyness, they should be alert and take an interest in what is going on around them, playful etc, so personally I don't think it will be a good idea to breed the female whatsoever given the circumstances :) [/color]

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Well personally I think you SHOULD say something.

Just emphasize(sp) that you DO realise that she has a lot more experience than you do, but tell her HONESTLY what you think and WHY.

Sometimes it is easy for the owner/breeder to become "kennel blind" , but it is easier for an "outsider" to see the faults of the individual dog/dogs.

Also tell her that you are concerned for her reputation. And that you would hate to see her reputation ruined due to the temperments of the current puppies that are being produced. As we all know. It takes YEARS to build a GOOD reputation. But it can be ruined VERY quickly.

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:D

Black GSD is right, reputation can be permanently ruined by just rumor.

Offer to help your mom with the pedigree to see if you can locate the temperment culprit. If she has always have a wonderful line it should be easy to locate the line she bred to that brought the problem into hers and she can work backwards. As experienced as you feel she is, she should be experienced enough to know how to locate the culprit and what breedings will correct it.

Good luck

:angel:

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Wow, that certainly would be a tough subject to broach, I can't even give my mom advice on what breeder to go to. I think you should try because if your mom has done such a good job so far she certainly can't want things to go awry now. Best of Luck, sorry I don't have a suggestion on how to go about it.

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I'm only offering some support. I don't know how to bring this up, unless you find a way to dig out an old photo album, "reminisce" about the top-quality dogs she used to have, then gently suggest that the temperments now are not up to par and that she should consider not breeding those dogs, but restructure her program. I am also a member of the "some dogs are born bad" school, I've met several who just had a few screws loose.

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Thanks for all your replies. I am a bit chicken so I think I am going to bring it up in conversation with my sister first..to test the waters so to speak. She can get pretty hot under the collar so if she goes off on me I will have a better idea of where things stand. :agrue:

I am so glad I never got involved in the whole breeding thing like my sister did. I was never as involved as she was in the showing (although I did handle one of my Mom's dogs for a while as a teenager). Just like my pet I guess.

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