Monday, January 17, 2011

Structure in Action

Here are some notes from the Pat Hastings seminar. These deal primarily with evaluating puppies. Truly there is too much info. I am looking at my notes and getting overwhelmed by the thought of trying to fashion it into something coherent to post! I think maybe I will do multiple posts or perhaps I will just do this post.

Please be aware that there are often mistakes from the ear to the paper. Pat told a great story of a woman who had been to MULTIPLE seminars. She asked Pat if she wanted to look at her notes. Pat said sure and discovered things she swore she never said! That being said here you go….

Pat Hastings started in dogs in 1958 with no “formal” education. She is sharing what she has learned. She has bred 26 different breeds of dogs and evaluated over 34,000 puppies. Her mentor has been Dr. Barclay Slocum.

All dogs are born with the natural instinct to do their job, but not all have the structure to do the job. In order to work all day in terrain a dog must have good structure.

Understand when you look at a breed standard it is all compromise. Breed type is critical but type has to be on a quality animal.

PH strongly feels the phrase “pick of the litter” should be eliminated from a breeder’s vocabulary.

Vets are taught that the only time you can evaluate structure is at 8 weeks. Tissue does not have enough strength to hold bones in correct position prior to 8 weeks. Bones are similar in proportion to an adult dog at 8 weeks. 3 days on either side of the 8 week anniversary works. 4 days does not.

PH did an experiment with 100 litters. She tried a 7 week evaluation, an 8 week evaluation, and a 9 week evaluation. 8 week evaluations were 100% accurate. 7 and 9 week evaluations were about 70% accurate.

For a proper evaluation the puppies should be in a totally new environment. The WORST person to evaluate the litter is the breeder. Breeder will spend the entire evaluation trying to make their favorite the pick. PH suggests getting someone else, outside of your breed, to do the evaluation.

PH always does her evaluations on a table with a mirror facing her. This allows her distance and angle. She started with a scale of 1 – 5; she would now recommend a scale of 1 - 9.

3 is your average show dog; 5 perfect – doesn’t exist; 1 should be euthanized.

Scores each of the sections on a scale of 1 – 5:
Shoulder – point of shoulder up
Front – post-sternum down
Rear assembly
Does not evaluate heads

4 pieces of a breeder’s job:
Structural Soundness

Any dog whose structure is less than a 3 doesn’t belong in a performance home, shouldn’t be bred, and should be sold STRICTLY as a companion.

Busiest puppy in the litter typically does NOT belong in a performance home. The reason it is busy is because it cannot comfortably stay still and the busy-ness becomes a habit. (Debbie Gross Saunders said the same thing in her seminar I attended a few years ago.)

One of the litters that Pat evaluated was a litter of labs. She stated that they were overweight. She said that puppies that carry the HD gene and are overweight increase their chances of developing HD by 50%.

She sees too many people fault breeding, or trading faults. This one has the head I want so I will breed to xyz. She said it is best to breed to the best total dog that includes the strengths you are looking for. Also recommends knowing as much as you can about the litter the sire/dam came from because whatever that litter consisted of is likely what the dog will throw.

Pat also has a spiffy trick to help stack puppies. She holds them so their feet are barely touching the table and moves them around the table. Their nails are dragging. Then she sets them down and sets them up. Because the puppies felt as though the floor was moving, once it stopped they did not move. She did this with both litters of pups and every pup stacked beautifully.

She did not talk much about actual showing but one thing she did say is that people tend to touch problem areas and it is a dead give away to the judge. She said to stack your dog and refuse to touch the problem area once he is stacked – all it does is call attention to it. It is commonsense, but sometimes we overlook the obvious!

That’s all for now; I have to organize my thoughts about the structure analysis and decide the best way to present it – if I am going to.

By the way, Bug’s chiropractor was there and she said a lot, if not most of this information is in Pat Hastings’ video Puppy Puzzle.


Crazy Cardiness said...

Thats great Julie! I love the PUppy puzzle videos and use them to do my evals too, very informative.

JackPDB said...

That is a lot of information -- some of it common sense, some of it counter-intuitive. Lots of people glom on to the busy puppy as the show dog because they see evidence of drive, but sometimes busy is just busy...
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