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Hi all,
We're getting close to the end of fostering 5 mixed-breed (GSD+??) puppies. We will be adopting one of them, and it's such a tough choice. What I'm wondering is how much of a puppy's behavior at 8-9 weeks can be expected to carry over into adulthood? One of our favorites seems less confident/more sensitive than the others, even though he's the biggest. With new things (like going outside or being a leash for the first times) he holds back and is hesitant. With his litter mates and with us in familiar surroundings, he acts just fine and engages in typical rambunctious puppy stuff. He also seems calmer than the others overall and is less bitey/jumpy. I'm not very experienced with dogs, so I'm wondering if this type of behavior will stick with him, or if he's just going to be a less outgoing dog. It's a little worrisome. Any insights are appreciated. Thanks.
 

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If there not a biter as pup, as long as you don't promote it with certain types of rough play, they generally will not be as a adult.

Temper on the other hand is a bit of a crap shoot.
Socialization as they grow older, training and there encounters will play a huge influence.

The breed and parents temper is a good way to judge but without knowing one of them also makes it a crap shoot.
 

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It's hard to say. Temperament can be adjusted somewhat, through training and socialization (it is possible to teach a shyer dog to be more outgoing, for example, but it takes a lot of careful work).

Personally, unless you're okay with the potential of a shy adult dog, I'd pick one of the more outgoing puppies.
 

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Here is what my breeders always say. Yes. You can try to predict adult behavior but even when it appears the puppy is all that their planned genetics predict, they can still wash out in IPO, Police, Service work and so forth.

One thing I will say is that I would NEVER take a puppy that appeared less confident than its siblings. Temperament is largely genetic in its basis. A dog with a fearful and shy temperament as a puppy will usually only get worse (not every time). Confidence coupled with pack drive is key to a great dog, regardless of the drives the dog exhibits later on for whatever you are doing or trying to do. A dog that does not want to be with you (and we are talking here the difference between dependence and wanting to engage/asking to engage you in play) is also one to avoid.

Rough play.. can be just that OR it can be nerve. The more frantic, the most likely the biting is out of nerve. When the entire pack of puppies is hanging off your pant leg, that is more group think than nerve. In a pet dog I do not like a lot of nerve. In an IPO working dog, a little nerve can be good if there is enough drive and confidence as it can make the dog a bit more flash and dash. Again, there is that word, confidence.

A puppy who is possessive of a toy is nice, if the possession is calm and simply (with the other puppies) "this is mine." OTOH a puppy who is playing with you one on one who gets a toy and takes off and lays down "over there" consistently NOT wanting to engage with you can indicate a puppy with less pack drive. I have one like this and I had to EARN my relationship with her. Even as a puppy she would chase a toy and then take it and run past me and lay down and keep it and give me the puppy stink eye clearly saying, "Mine and I can play over here by myself thank you very much."

All of these things are hard wired in. A good breeder, who knows the dog and the bitch and their lines and what they bring to the table will get more consistency in a litter. Honestly? There are few breeders with this knowledge out there.

You said you met the dam of these puppies? What was she like (I think you said she was a GSD). What she was like will heavily influence how the puppies are.. The bitch is larger in the puppy behavior than the male simply because her first weeks with the puppies are large in the Nurture side of things. The top breeders I know all say the bitch is 70% of the puppy (I know.. science says 50-50).

You KNOW these puppies. I would pick a confident puppy that wants to be with you and if that puppy leaves its buddies to be with you, all the better. I would NOT take a puppy that is shy and reserved. Ever. Not for pet. Not for working.
 

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I'm not sure how much other puppy behaviours influences adult personality, but with shyness/fearfulness it can definitely be an indicator of their adult behaviour. Not always of course, but as 3GSD4IPO said, that type of behaviour often gets worse as the puppy grows up. For a less experienced owner I would definitely NOT select that particular puppy.
 

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Here is what my breeders always say. Yes. You can try to predict adult behavior but even when it appears the puppy is all that their planned genetics predict, they can still wash out in IPO, Police, Service work and so forth.

One thing I will say is that I would NEVER take a puppy that appeared less confident than its siblings. Temperament is largely genetic in its basis. A dog with a fearful and shy temperament as a puppy will usually only get worse (not every time). Confidence coupled with pack drive is key to a great dog, regardless of the drives the dog exhibits later on for whatever you are doing or trying to do. A dog that does not want to be with you (and we are talking here the difference between dependence and wanting to engage/asking to engage you in play) is also one to avoid.

Rough play.. can be just that OR it can be nerve. The more frantic, the most likely the biting is out of nerve. When the entire pack of puppies is hanging off your pant leg, that is more group think than nerve. In a pet dog I do not like a lot of nerve. In an IPO working dog, a little nerve can be good if there is enough drive and confidence as it can make the dog a bit more flash and dash. Again, there is that word, confidence.

A puppy who is possessive of a toy is nice, if the possession is calm and simply (with the other puppies) "this is mine." OTOH a puppy who is playing with you one on one who gets a toy and takes off and lays down "over there" consistently NOT wanting to engage with you can indicate a puppy with less pack drive. I have one like this and I had to EARN my relationship with her. Even as a puppy she would chase a toy and then take it and run past me and lay down and keep it and give me the puppy stink eye clearly saying, "Mine and I can play over here by myself thank you very much."

All of these things are hard wired in. A good breeder, who knows the dog and the bitch and their lines and what they bring to the table will get more consistency in a litter. Honestly? There are few breeders with this knowledge out there.

You said you met the dam of these puppies? What was she like (I think you said she was a GSD). What she was like will heavily influence how the puppies are.. The bitch is larger in the puppy behavior than the male simply because her first weeks with the puppies are large in the Nurture side of things. The top breeders I know all say the bitch is 70% of the puppy (I know.. science says 50-50).

You KNOW these puppies. I would pick a confident puppy that wants to be with you and if that puppy leaves its buddies to be with you, all the better. I would NOT take a puppy that is shy and reserved. Ever. Not for pet. Not for working.
This is great information, and though I saw the post after we finally chose the puppy to adopt (picking him up today) it's reassuring, because we did choose one who seems to possess the positive traits that you mention. The mother was very gentle and completely trusting of us right from the start, and very vigilant with her pups. I don't know if all dog mamas are "good" mothers, or how that plays into the puppy personalities, but she was so patient and even playful with them sometimes, even when they would just not leave her alone and probably had no milk left. If we picked up a puppy near her, she might follow us and stay close for a little while, but she was never at all aggressive. Just overall a sweet animal. Thank you.
 
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