October 08, 2005

The Puppy Puzzle

I am currently reading Another Piece of the Puzzle: Puppy Development edited by Pat Hastings and Erin Ann Rouse. It is a collection of articles by well known breeders and trainers such as Brenda Aloff and Karen Pryor.

The chapter Picking Your Agility Puppy could just as usefully be titled Picking Agility for your Puppy; Dusty came first, and I'll now decide whether agility is an activity we'll do together. In evaluating a puppy for agility, Elizabeth Barrett looks at structure first, then temperament.

  • Overall Balance: height, length, depth of body, and length of leg are in proportion, and puppy walks steadily and stops 'four square'.
  • Front Assembly: good shoulder angulation; strong, straight parallel front legs; tight cat feet and barely sloping pasterns will assist in sharp turns and shock absorbtion.
  • Rear Assembly: well proportioned with moderate angulation that will provide both propulsion and stability.
  • Back: too long and it will be susceptible to stress, too short and it will lack flexion.
  • noise tolerance
  • confidence
  • social attraction
  • toy interest.

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