Administrator & Alpha Bitch of the Wild Bunch
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Michigan, USA
I wouldn't say "late bloomer". I'd say NORMAL for a pup of these lines, particularly a male. While I agree that DDR lines are typically not the best choice for sport work like SchH, and especially the ring sports, and even moreso for a novice handler, that's neither here nor there at the moment as you've got the dog. The challenge now is being patient for him to mature, and also finding helpers/decoys/training group who have the knowledge, skill, and patience to work with a dog who doesn't fit their desired mold of a crazy prey monster at a young age. This may require finding another place to train.
Even with higher drive, quicker maturing lines I would not be quick to wash out a dog at 7 months for lacking "intensity" and "courage". It's a baby. Obvious nerve issues, fearful behavior, and that sort of thing yes. But not because the puppy isn't gangbusters over chasing around a helper with a rag. Many lines, particularly DDR, do not show much prey drive at all, much less early on. Defense and aggression matures much later and these dogs can be very strong in protection. But one needs to wait for maturity and then approach protection from the standpoint of something much more serious, giving the dog a reason to work, not treating it as a game.
Even with our own dogs who are much quicker to mature and higher in prey, and thus would chase a helper waving a rag around at this age, we don't do it. Maybe a couple times here and there, but with most we don't start protection until at least a year old, maybe older. Or if we do do some early drive and grip work when young, the dog then gets put up for quite a while to grow out a bit before moving to the next step. Maturity brings a variety and balance of drives with which to work, things that pups just don't have, and this way we can treat the work more seriously and not just as a game becuase frankly it shouldn't be just a game, even though many do approach it as such.
Give him a year, maybe more, to mature. You'll probably see a very different dog then. But it will still be imperative to find a training group who knows how to read the dog and work him appropriately for who he is, not work him like other dogs of very different temperament. Given this current training group is quick to wash him out because he doesn't act like a prey monger at this age, getting good training that is appropriate for your dog may well require finding a training group more open to working dogs of different types, and adjusting the type of work to fit what each individual dog needs, not trying to fit all puppies into the mold of what they prefer and dismissing those who don't automatically fit that mold.
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