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I do have to say that the more time I spend working with dogs the more respect I develop for the innate tendencies relating to anxiety, confidence, social drives, etc, that a dog is born with. As a trainer, I'm all for the progress that can be made in building confidence, eradicating fears, adjusting social relationships, etc, but at the end of the day every dog's genetic predispositions exist on a scale, and you can only train them so far to the "better" side of the scale before you hit the limit of the progress that dog may be able to make. The myth of "training can save/"fix"" every dog is very much a myth, and part of it is the genetic behavioral predispositions that a dog is born with.

Also, while "reputable breeder" is a term that has a different meaning for every person who uses it, I think we can all agree that reputable breeders are not breeding primarily to sell puppies. Some breeding programs may have be commercial in scale, especially as you get in to working dogs, which I can say would personally be a turn off to *me* if I were looking to buy a dog, but a commercial kennel operation does not by default mean that breedings are producing dogs with temperament and health issues. A reputable breeder is always going to be able and willing to talk about the strengths and weaknesses of their dogs.

My younger dog is the first dog I really got with purpose in mind (sport ability and service work). I learned a lot through that experience.

My biggest suggestion is to get involved in the sport(s)/work you're interested in doing NOW. Keep a notebook of dogs you meet that are the breed you're looking for, where they're from, their age, any notations on their temperament and ability. Network. Facebook can be a good tool for finding information, though you'll get as much second hand "my friend met this dog once" as actual personal experience. There are sport specific groups as well as breed specific groups you can find and join. Basically, continue with what you're doing. Ask people you talk to if they have suggestions for dogs or breeding programs to look into.
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