Cookie and Sassy are my 4th and 5th Obedience dogs, so I have experienced the differences that personality makes quite a bit over the years. It’s put into sharp relief though when training two at the same time, who are at the same level.
Cookie is very precise, nails her fronts and finishes and is turning into a good little heeler. BUT, she is not all that motivated and gets bored easily.
Sassy has way more drive to work, but tends to either be moving too fast to be precise, or attempting to guess what I want without actually listening for it.
Both have their advantages and disadvantages and I’m not sure which one I’ll prefer competing with down the road. I suspect if I could better channel Sass’s energy, she will hold up better over long weekends of competing, but Cookie’s precision will help her win if I can figure out how to keep her energy for it up over longer periods (she will retrieve all day, so it’s more the mental energy than the physical that needs supporting).
Raising littermates has been such an interesting experience! But not one I would recommend for inexperienced dog owners.
Cookie (Jamrah’s Legally Blonde) 6/4/2015
Sassy (Jamrah’s Blonde Ambition) 6/4/2015
Chloe (HIT HC Windsong’s Femme Fatale, UDX, OM2) 6/7/2009
Scully (Coventry's Truth Is Out There, UD, RN) 4/4/1996 - 6/30/2011
Our foster Jolie (UCh Windsong’s Genuine Risk, CDX, WC) 5/26/1999 - 3/2/2014
and Mulder (Coventry’s I Want to Believe, UD, VER, WC, RN) 5/26/1999 - 4/20/2015
I completely understand. But if I had to choose, I'd take a high drive dog any day (well... most days, I think.) I don't know if it's the same in your game as ours... but sometimes getting performance right is hard and boring. A high drive dog will run drills until they drop and just a little encouragement keeps them working hard. And when they get it right, Oh, baby!!!! they are a thrill to watch (and run.)
I can agree with you 100% on how hard it is to train one dog for competitive dog sports, much less litter sisters. I've really enjoyed watching your girls progress and mature, and I look forward to their future!
So interest they can be so different in approach
I think I prefer "some" drive that needs to be cleaned up. But then Rocky has little drive for "work" and isn't precise (he gets too exited about food even when hidden and just sorta throws himself all over).
Rocky and Penny (Feb 10 2013 - July 23 2016)
It’s such a disconnect on Wednesday nights when I go straight from Novice class with one of the youngsters (they alternate) and then right into Open with Chloe. My trainer says it’s like putting on an old comfy pair of shoes, LOL. I will say that perfecting Chloe is raising my standards for the pups, and will hopefully help me avoid letting them get into any bad habits from the beginning. (e.g. fronts and finishes have to be PERFECT every time - with previous dogs, I was just happy if they were close).
Raising litter mates is not for the feint hearted!
My babies, Friday and Lola, will be a year old April 15th, and are doing really well so far with their training. Their personalities are similar, but one is a tad more mellow and reminds me so much of her dam, the other is a bit more busy and enthusiastic, and also a bit softer. They are both very very smart, and pick up on new things really fast, but I train them so differently. I do conformation mostly, but I dabble in field work, and require my dogs to have good manners, and basic obedience at the least, and a proofed "Here", as well as a good free stack and gait well.
Friday is just about perfect, like her dam, eager to please, learns everything the first time, smart, funny, confident and affectionate. Food motivated but will work hard for my praise. Happy happy happy, tail wags all the time.
Lola is animated, bouncy, confident, loving, and possibly the best retriever I have ever had, her reward is bumper time, although food is appreciated. She is a teeny tiny bit softer and gets upset if I correct her, or raise my voice at all, she is very in tune to my tone. I don't yell at my dogs, or use harsh corrections, it's just her personality.
I like both personalities, and they are so young, they have lots of developing in both body and mind to do yet. I do like the "Up" personality for showing in conformation, and field work, because it is much easier to harness and focus that energy, than it is to bring a down dog up. Neither are down, just varying levels of animation, and both are super cute, happy and fun to be around, and i am no closer today to choosing one, than I have been since I kept them both! I was planning on placing one eventually.
Boating, Lola left, Friday right
I am totally getting about what you're saying about a comfortable pair of shoes LOL! for a while, Trigger was in baby puppy class, with Scout doing his umpteenth repeat of an advanced class directly afterwards. While Scout is in no way anywhere close to being a "good" Obedience dog, he so enjoys the classes.
And they are almost opposite ends of the spectrum in drive - Trigger is go-go-go but always happy happy happy, and Scout is always a happy boy, but needs LOTS of working-up to get him going. Its going to be really interesting figuring out different training techniques for the little squirt.
He had his 1st Competition Puppy class last night (he's done baby puppy 2x and is 3/4 of the way thru Level 1 family dog class). wow, only 1 other dog in the class. that in itself was almost more distracting than working around 10 other (some less than controlled) dogs. He is such a little sponge, but oh-so-easily distracted by scent.
I'm really looking forward to Scout's class tonight - like sliding on an old pair of slippers, he'll smile and be happy to be the one getting the attention.
Scout CD RAE6 WC March 6, 2007; Tullemore Browning Superposed "Trigger" Nov 11, 2016
Castelleja's Dual Mags "Mags" March 1993 - March 2008
"Pocco" the chocolate wonder August 1993 - December 2007
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