Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Hamster on wheel = My brain

So, I finally sat and watched some of the DVDs from Nationals this past weekend, including the Am. Bred class that Elli was in. I rarely get to see how my dogs are moving, being on the other end of the leash and all, so this allowed me to see what she looks like in the ring.

And now, I'm majorly stressing myself out.

What I know: I don't like her front movement. What I don't know: What is throwing it off. Shoulder layback (or lack of same)? Short upper arm? Round rib cage that pushes the elbows out? I'm enough of a newb that I can't say for certain where exactly the problem lies. I'll be taking her along for the ride when I go to Macungie and will have an experienced breeder look at her there. I've also sent photos and video (and will be trying to take better video) to another breeder to see if she can share any insight with me.

But these questions lead to larger ones for me. I know there is no such thing as a perfect dog, and all of them will have some fault or another. My biggest question is where to draw the line when it comes to breeding? I mean, obviously I would look for a dog who would be most likely to correct her faults without introducing new ones that I don't already have. But there has to be a point where you say I'm not going to try to correct all this; let's go a different way.

I just don't know where that point is. My little hamster-in-the-wheel brain keeps spinning and spinning. Do I breed her? To this dog or that dog? Can I realistically expect to improve on her? Will anyone buy one of the puppies? Will other exhibitors point and say, "Look at her, she bred that bitch that she couldn't even put points on!" And yeah, what other people are going to say and a collection of ribbons (or lack thereof) shouldn't be the driving force behind my decision making, and it isn't, but I know how the dog show world works well enough to know that there may be at least some of that.

Or, if I decide not to breed her, where do I go from here? Buy another bitch puppy from a promising litter? Look to buy an older puppy so I have a better idea of what I'm getting? Lease a bitch? Pay for the stud-fee and co-breed a litter with someone who has a bitch I like? Wait to see how Magnum turns out and hope that someone wants to breed to him and take a puppy back? And if I do that, do I try to title Elli in agility myself, or place her in a performance home with someone who is way better at or more committed to agility and herding than I am?

I know, I know, we all have to start somewhere. Most people don't start with a Nationals-winning bitch, and I don't expect to be the exception. But I DO take breeding seriously, and I want to make sure I'm doing it in a way that produces sound, healthy, quality dogs, and in a way that is up front and can be respected by my peers. That's the only way to build a solid foundation for the future.

*spin spin spin whirl whirl whirl*

Gah! Thoughts? Comments? Observations? Am I just being a total spaz who needs to calm the eff down and stop worrying and over-analyzing everything to death? Someone throw me a bone!


  1. I'm going to go with stop over-analyzing. :)

    Well, that's not entirely true. It's good to question, panic, question again, and figure out exactly what it is you want to change. And then look at her again and add in the other parts of the tests, temperament, pedigree, etc. Make a pro/con list if you have to.

    But yes, all dogs have faults. Lizzie is a nice and typey girl but if I start to pick her apart I can convince myself otherwise. Her puppies from her first litter weren't bad but I can certainly pick them apart quickly too. If you start only looking at faults, you can miss the total dog. On the flip side, you have to know individual faults too...just don't focus only on them.

    It's an evolution process for all of us, and we would all likely make a different decision. I can't keep more dogs than I currently have, so in order to breed Lizzie this winter I will have to be creative on where my pick goes. In other words, there are many factors for each of us. I don't necessarily think there is shame in choosing to breed a dog that you love who has a couple more missing pieces than another dog may have, provided that you are aiming to improve and are willing to be more patient to get where you want to be. And you never may get lucky in the first generation and make a leap forward instead of a small step. Then you just have to figure out how not to regress. :D

  2. I agree with the above poster. You're way up in your head about this. Take a breath and relax. While there is no perfect dog, Elli is a soundly bred dog that you can do a lot with. You can have a wonderful journey with her...Enjoy the ride.

  3. I say go for it. Elli is a sound, well balanced, CORRECTLY SIZED Cardigan bitch. And if the worst happens, you can pet all the puppies and say, "Well at least I tried."