How much of a difference does delaying training impact the overall results?
I have been looking into purchasing a working bloodline pup for some time with the goal of going as far as possible with obedience training. The breeder I chose is overseas and currently has an ideal puppy but says they need to wait another month before shipping her to the US, at which time she will be 4 months. In your opinion, how much of a difference does delaying training impact the overall results?
There really isn't a set in stone answer to this because it all depends on the drive & temperament of the puppy AND the foundation and experiences she gets before she comes to you. I would hope the breeder is someone that is active and successful in whatever sport you choose.
For example, if I was going to allow someone else to raise my puppy for the first 4 months then I would want someone like Michael Ellis or Janice Gunn or one of my experienced training colleagues that have raised successful working puppies. One of the reasons we don't bring pups over from Europe anymore is because they changed the rules around the age of shipping from 2 months to 4 months of age. I don’t want to sacrifice that critical window of opportunity between 8-16 weeks. I have a specific plan I follow with my sport puppies, and while it can still be successful after 4 months, I've found that the most fun and rewarding part of the puppy experience is those early weeks.
Puppies are a gamble no matter what, so if you are comfortable with the breeder and their puppy raising protocol, then it will make your decision somewhat easier.
Sorry I'm not more help, this is one of those things that is highly personal and also has a large number of variables.
If you haven't watched the Raising a Puppy video with Michael Ellis, I'd recommend it. This in depth video outlines the plan I follow with my own performance puppies as well as our pet dogs. I've also linked some of our other material geared towards puppy owners who have competitive goals in obedience or any dog sport.
Thank you for your fast response. You put things into perspective for me. They seem more geared toward building bite drive than doing obedience with their pups and I don’t want to miss the early weeks, but I also haven’t found a breeder here I like. I’ll take some time to decide. Thanks for the recommendations.