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[SOFT MUSIC PLAYING] The puppies are almost eight weeks old. Although it'll be two more weeks before the puppies go to their new families, now's the time to begin formal evaluations of the litter. A good breeder will have already formed relationships with prospective puppy buyers, and now has the complex task of matching the needs and expectations of those buyers to the puppies in the litter. People's reasons for wanting a dog range from companion, to show, to agility, obedience, or other dog sport, but it's not even that easy. Even within those categories, there can be significant differences in homes. A young, active couple looking for a companion will offer a different situation than an older person who wants a dog to watch TV with them. Even within show homes, there are different venues and preferences, and we have to take that into account when we make placements. In the end, it also means that we might not have the right match for someone who's been waiting for a puppy, but a good breeder will not be afraid to disappoint a puppy buyer, if it's in the best interests of either the puppy or the buyer to do so. We conduct two separate evaluations, one for confirmation and one for personality. Of course, by this point, a breeder's gotten to know the puppies and has a pretty good idea of which home will suit each puppy, but the breeder's vision is often clouded by emotion and is not always as objective as it could be. Therefore, there is no substitute for formal evaluations of structure and personality, by experienced people who have some distance from the litter. For our confirmation evaluations, we're joined by Victoria Corse, of Corsaire Bull Terriers. Victoria is an AKC judge and has been breeding dogs since she was 14 years old. She's produced numerous bull terrier champions and has judged bull terriers around the world. This litter goes back to Corsaire dogs on Daphne's side, so Victoria brings professional and personal insight into the evaluations. [PUPPY BARKING] That's so good. We're also joined by Daphne's co-owners and co-breeders, Dr. And Mrs. Irv and June Krukenkamp, of TNG Kennels. The Krukenkamp's first breed is Dalmatians. They spoke with us about their rather interesting beginnings in both Dalmatians and bull terriers. One of the cardiac anesthesiologists had a litter and we were just talking about it in the operating room. And Keith said, well, would you like to see the puppies? And there was this one fabulous, fabulous little girl that everybody wanted, and strategically, Rick says, well you can't have that dog. And I said, well, you know, you don't have a heart surgeon who can't have anything, so I'm going to get that dog. She was a fabulous dog and part of the deal of getting her was to agree to show her. How'd that work out for you? Well, it maybe didn't work out so well. He tried. I took her in the ring the first time and I was excused from the ring. And then this crazy woman came running from across the arena and very directly told me that I did not know what I was doing, that I did not know anything about this girl Dalmatian, and that I should just sell her right away, you know, to this lady. It was me. Yeah. But I wanted to buy her because she was so beautiful. Well I wasn't going to sell her, of course not. And then that just enhanced her value, that someone else would want her. And I think I showed her again, maybe in like January or February after that, with equally poor results. And then I decided, you know, I don't really think that my place is inside the ring, maybe I'll just have somebody handle her. I saw June handling and I liked the way that she handled, so I said, you know, maybe I'll give her a call. Then it progressed over another year or so and, actually, I bought two more Dalmatians. We actually imported another Dalmatian from Argentina. All of these handling expenses became just outrageous. And even on the lowly salary of a heart surgeon, I just could not afford her. So I said, I can't afford it anymore, I'm just going to have to marry her. So, whose idea was it to get a bull terrier? June. We didn't plan to become breeders of bull terriers. Right. We just wanted-- To get into the breed. --a bull terrier. We wanted to get into the breed. And we didn't want to really get a show dog, we were just going to get a pet. No one knew that we were going to get Fergie. Oh, she was a little red fireball. Oh, she was adorable. [VIOLIN MUSIC PLAYING] She was 12 weeks old when I put the first leash on her, and I saw her stack herself and her move. And I called the breeder and I said, this is not just a pet sitting in my backyard. She just bulldozed her way right up to the top and she was a fabulous bitch and she went all the way. She won the breed at Westminster, which we were very proud of. I wanted a pet and she turned out to be the one bull terrier in 2003. [LAUGHING] So she left a little impact for a little while, you know, and we couldn't be happier to have started bull terriers with her. She was great. Derby would not go across the line to the other room. Fergie would come right in, you know, and just stand there. She didn't care. She'd come right in my office and stand there. You know, and just the more you yelled at her, the more she was happy. She'd look at you like, what, it's me, I'm cute. From a little tiny puppy, I have pictures of him as a little tiny puppy, on her back, in his lap. She grew up on her back, on your lap, in the recliner. Great dog, great temperament, great style. You know, just a really good bull terrier. [VIOLIN MUSIC PLAYING] So, Fergie-- Great-grandmother, right? Yeah. Isn't that right? Fergie, we bred Fergie, and we produced a beautiful, white bitch, named Zulu. And Zulu was bred to produce Daphne. And Daphne is the mother of these puppies. A little bit of Fergie will live on in these puppies, as all breeders want. They have something of her to carry on through the years. Oh, don't get me going, I'll start crying about her. You're gonna get me going now. We're gonna have to cut. Cut! [VIOLIN MUSIC PLAYING] [LIVELY MUSIC PLAYING] Grading a litter is a lot of fun. It's a great time where all the people involved in the litter get together and we sit down and we look at them and we make formal decisions. What we're looking for, ultimately, is type. We're looking for the typiest puppy; the puppy that epitomizes what our breed is; the puppy that has those characteristics that make it look like our breed of dog and no other breed of dog. In bull terriers, head happens to be a lot of type, so we spend a lot of time looking at head, eye, ear expression. You're ultimately looking for the puppies that you're going to hope are going to turn into your next big show puppies, and also grading the litter to decide which are going to go to pet homes. When we say pet, we don't say-- we don't mean it to be a lesser quality dog. All of the dogs that we breed in a particular litter, all of those puppies are pets. They're all going to be companions. They're all going to be in our home or someone else's home. As a breeder, though, we look for qualities that we can move forward within our breeding program, and some of the dogs-- some of the puppies in the litter may not have that quality for things that would seem silly to other people, you know. [INAUDIBLE] Down low, down low, and then not oblique. They're straight. It's not going to be [INAUDIBLE] You have to breed good companions, as well as you breed good breeding dogs and show dogs. You know, what good is breeding if you can't place them and enhance somebody's life that's going to take your puppy. When you breed any litter, you're lucky if you have one dog in that litter that you can move forward with, as far as breeding and showing. The rest of the puppies have to go into homes. So, a good companion person that's going to make a great home for your dogs, very valuable to a breeder. I know to an outsider it can seem really baffling that there are all these people involved with this litter, but the co-ownership is not a monetary issue. The person that you buy your foundation animals from is going to be your mentor, should be your mentor, and should be a lifelong partner with you, or at least take a lifelong interest in your success as a breeder. And these relationships are immensely important to us. Victoria, who was here to help us evaluate the litter, sold me my first foundation animal in 1997. And we remain friends to this day and to this day she takes an interest in my litters and I take an interest in hers. Dog breeding, in its finest, really is a community, and it's something that's extremely emotionally meaningful to us. And we're all bonded by our love for the animals and our desire to do the best we can by the dogs and for the dogs and for the breed. It's one of the really rewarding things about being a dog breeder, is the people you meet and the relationships you form. [PIANO MUSIC PLAYING] Just after the puppies turn seven weeks old, we have their temperaments evaluated by a third party. Our friend, Diane Sedrowski, will be doing the evaluations for us. [DOGS BARKING] Diane breeds Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and is very active in therapy dog work. She's evaluated hundreds of litters, including many of our bull terrier litters, so she has a great perspective on puppy temperaments. The object of the testing is to take the puppies, one at a time, out of their litter, put them in a strange environment with a person they've never met before, and run them through a series of exercises designed to measure different personality traits. Here are the things we're looking at. Social Attraction. [MUSIC PLAYING] Desire To Follow. Reaction To Restraint. Ability To Forgive. Reaction to Elevation. Chase and Retrieve. Touch Sensitivity. Sound Sensitivity. Sight Sensitivity and prey drive. Startle Recovery. Reaction To The Unexpected. [MUSIC PLAYING FROM RABBIT] SONG: I want candy. I want candy. I want candy. I want candy. The data we gain from puppy testing gives us great insight into each puppy's personality, but experts disagree as to the ultimate usefulness of this information. To my knowledge, there is no published peer-review scientific literature on the usefulness of puppy testing and how it relates to successful placements, but I don't believe that means that puppy testing is completely without value. To understand puppy testing, you really have to understand where it came from. Guide Dogs for the Blind was trying to improve their likelihood of success with their guide dog puppies. It's really expensive to raise a guide dog puppy and it is helpful if you can screen the young puppies before you invest $100,000 in training them. So, they developed a series of tests, which tested very specific attributes that would be needed in order for a dog to become a successful guide dog. So let's think about this. You've got a fairly restricted gene pool and you've got a very discrete set of tasks that these dogs have to be good at. It is not the same as trying to predict which dog is going to do good in the house in the suburbs, on 2 and 1/2 acres, with kids aged 18, 16, and 3, where the mother works full time and the father works from the house. And which dog's gonna be good for them? The truth is that the needs and wants of pet owners are extremely diverse. While puppy testing may accurately predict certain key characteristics required in a successful guide dog, there are just too many variables, when placing a pet, to be able to use a standardized test to predict which placements will be successful where. You cannot use puppy testing as a predictive test in the same way that Guide Dogs for the Blind, apparently very successfully, has used it. So, well then why would I puppy test? As a breeder, why would you puppy test if you can't use it as a predictive tool? To me, it's not so much a predictive tool as a diagnostic tool. So when I take that litter of puppies and I take them into a room that they've never been in before, with a person they've never been with before, and that person puts them through their paces, what it tells me is which puppies need work in what areas. If I see a puppy that has very poor recovery to a startle or a fearful exercise, then I'm going to work with that puppy on that. If I see a puppy that has, what I think, maybe a little more prey drive than I'd like to see, I'm going to work with that puppy on some impulse control on that. I think it is a very useful tool, and I don't think that as a breeder you can just sit there and look at them around your house and know everything you need to know about those puppies' personalities. I think it's immensely helpful to take them out of their milieu, to take them out of their litter, and to put them in that situation and watch them objectively.

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Duration: 16 minutes and 49 seconds
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Language: English
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Posted by: norabean on Apr 2, 2018

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