Earlier in May I picked up a five month old Belgian malinois puppy that I hoped would be my next performance and demonstration dog - the dog I was going to take through Search & Rescue Training, Schutzhund/IPO and possibly Ring Sport. We'd compete in obedience and probably Flyball & Agility. That didn't turn out to be the case. He was a lovely, lovely dog but not what I was looking for to participate in bite sports like this with. The puppy simply wasn't going to enjoy these kinds of
activities. It's very hard to return a puppy even one you have spent a short period of time with, while it's the right intellectual decision, emotionally it is difficult. One becomes attached to a dog very quickly (at least I do). So with much painful deliberation that puppy went back to his breeder with her blessings.
There are situations where a great breeder, great owner and nice puppy are still not an ideal relationship or match. Frustrating, sad -- I've had three Belgian shepherds, love the breed and was really looking forward to a puppy and training a dog from the beginning again.
Every time I get involved in what I think are fairly typical situations for my clients 1. select a breed 2. select breeder 3. get a puppy. I understand and gain empathy for my clients because the process of doing those things is not an easy one, if it's not an easy process for a dog professional - it can't be simple for the average person. It's difficult to find a breeder and a puppy that is the right one for you.
You have to really do your research, meet many dogs and wait at least months and in some cases a year or more for your dog. In the end if we do our research, we will hopefully end up with the right dog for us and for what activities we wish to pursue with them.
I've "gone to the Dutch side" as I was not really connecting with a breeder of working malinois puppies -- I decided to get a Dutch Shepherd puppy. It was, after all, just such a puppy that really inspired this journey. It's been about 15 years since I have raised a puppy - over 16 since I have intentionally selected and purchased a puppy for a specific purpose(s).
The box of puppy goodies is growing - collars, leashes, every sort of puppy tug...little "working dog in training" vests. My puppy is on the ground and I will fly out to Utah to get the puppy near the first part of August. It's a fabulous breeder and a wonderful line of dogs almost all of whom are Police, Search and Rescue or Protection Sports dogs (Schutzhund, IPO, French Ring, Mondioring).
So I'm waiting for the "Moon" and he'll look more or less like this when he is all grown up.