Tuesday Topics 2 - The Big CC

Here's a photo of my younger daughter, walking Cabana and doing a very nice job of it!

With my Tuesday posts, I want to ask questions of other puppy raisers (thanks to all those who responded last week!). So, for those who have had puppies that were career changed, I'd like to know if you had any idea that this would happen. I'm sure you didn't if it was for a medical reason--but if it was for a behavioral issue, were there clues along the way that made you think that your puppy might be career changed? Or was it a total surprise? Our puppy group leader says that each puppy makes a decision as to whether they want to be a working dog or not (excepting medical reasons). Could you tell during the puppy raising stage what decision your puppy was making, or does the decision come later?

I know that getting career changed isn't a horrible thing. I've learned from reading other puppy raising blogs that there are many other careers available, and being someone's pet is far from a letdown! After all, it's what's best for everyone, puppy included.

Hobbes Dogs  – (March 10, 2009 at 9:06 AM)  

Hey - hopefully this will work today, I tried to join in last week's discussion but was having difficulty with commenting. Just wanted to say I think the Tuesday Topics is a great idea and I will be looking forward to reading everyone's replies.

I have had 4 dogs disqualified/career changed. One was a health issue that we had been suspicious about for a while. The other three were behavioural. Two were not big surprises - they were for pretty major issues that we had been dealing with for all or part of the time we had the pups. The other was totally unexpected - the trainer's description of the dog in training was very different from what she was like at home - I guess maybe kennel stress had something to do with it as from what I have heard she is doing very well in her new home (in fact, all four of them have found perfect forever homes!).

Even though several of the career changes didn't come as a total surprise, I wouldn't say that I would have predicted them either. I've also had several dogs that had challenging behaviours during their puppyhood, but ended up growing into wonderful working dogs. I've given up trying to predict my pups' outcomes, I just do my best for the first year, and then let the trainers and dogs themselves decide the rest.

Megan and Fullerton  – (March 10, 2009 at 2:21 PM)  

Out of my seven pups five have been CC'd. One I knew from day one was never going to make it. (She was transfered to me for a whole rainbow of issues, she was fun and came a long way but I knew I was raising someones pet) Another started off okay but when he was 15 months old he started having some issues that we couldn't work through. Both of those pups were cc'd before they made it to formal training.
One of the puppies I raised had so many fear issues I though for sure she would not make it through phase one, she proved me wrong by making it to phase 8 before being cc'd, but for reasons totally unrealated to fears. I was very proud of her.
The other two that were CC'd were the only two that I thought would for sure make it. One was cc'd for fear issues which she never had with me and totally surprised me because she would have been an amazing guide, and the other was a medical reason. These two cc's were very hard for me as they both loved the work and were very confident and willing puppies. But, they are both were they are meant to be and they are extremely happy.

I have only lost touch with one of my puppies but the rest are in wonderful homes with people who care for them and love them to no end. :) I try not to dwell on the those thoughts of "is my puppy going to make it or not" I just think about the hear and now and do the best I can for the time they are with me. :D

I really likes these topic tuesdays, keep em' coming.

Emily, Burgess, and Tahoe  – (March 10, 2009 at 3:19 PM)  

I've raised 2 puppies, and have experienced 2 Career Changes, for basically the same thing. My first puppy was a very confident, happy puppy. About a month before she went IFT we went to a Fun Day where she was fearful of everything from going in a crate to a big scary mask. My CFR and leader told me it wasn't a big deal, we had a bad day. After 5 months, I got a phase report saying phase 10. I couldn't have been any happier. Less then 24 hours later, I found out she was CC'd for fear issues. I went a picked her up and had her for a little while before she went to her forever home. Since she has returned home, there haven't been any fear reactions. Not even one. My second pup, Suede, was also CC'd for fear issues. The summer she went IFT she had fear issues for about a month with my mom while I was gone, but NEVER with me. I tried everything to scare her, but it never worked. She was CC'd in phase 8 for fear issues, anxiety whining, etc. I placed her too, and since come home, she has had no issues. She only whined when I picked her up and we were walking out of the kennels.

So... I didn't expect it with either of my girls :) The kennels are a very different experience for the dogs, and it can change anything and everything.

Elizabeth and Peyton  – (March 10, 2009 at 4:14 PM)  

With my two career-changes, I saw it coming from a mile away. Both times I kept thinking "oh, everything's going to work out", "we're just going through a rough phase", or "it'll get better soon". It's natural to want to be optimistic, but inside I knew for sure that Alana and Luigi just wanted to be pets. They certainly have ways of letting you know if they'd rather spend their day running loose in a meadow rather than sitting under a desk! :)

Having said that, there are a lot of times where you are very surprised with the CC. The dog you just know is going to graduate is CC'd for dog distraction that you never saw, or something like that. Sometimes the kennels aren't a good environment for the specific dog.

In-home CCs are becoming very, very common. I think it's good to let the dogs who obviously aren't cut out for guidework move on with their lives. Just getting to recall is a major accomplishment that all raisers should be extremely proud of, no matter what the outcome.

In conclusion, CCs are always tough, no matter what the circumstances are. Nothing can really prepare you for that life-changing day when you hear the news. Even if you can see it coming, it really is tough for all involved. In the event of a CC, try to remember that you taught a phenomenal dog who will be the world's greatest pet for someone!

ann  – (March 11, 2009 at 5:56 AM)  

Two things: first I wanted to thank you so much for commenting on my blog. Even though I know people read it, hardly anyone comments. Thank you AND for the book suggestions! I have glass castle sitting by my bed, waiting to be read.

Secondly, I've raised 4 pups for CCI, 3 COC, and one in 'college.'
I've given up trying to predict. My first was released for hips, oh, how I cried. My second is still the best I think, she was released even before turn in for vocalizing, a small little harumph that sounded like a growl. My third was distraction. It's heartbreaking when they don't make it. I haven't kept one yet because I was working full time and couldn't bear to leave them home by themselves after being with me 24-7, so I have friends who are eternally grateful to me for giving them the best dogs ever.
Good luck with Cabana, just enjoy the ride and not worry too much about the destination.

Kim, Bethany and the girls..  – (March 11, 2009 at 8:14 AM)  

I am on puppies 14 and 15 and am starting to see issues earlier on with my puppies. So I think you know better if they are going to be a CC as you have raised more puppies.

However, in general I think you do know if it is behaviorally related. Many times you best see the issues during puppysits when you get your reports back from the puppysitter.

If it is medical sometimes you know as well. My last puppy was CC'd for IBS and we had worked with it pretty much non-stop since she was 5 months old.

There are so many reasons though and like someone mentioned above sometimes dogs with one issue will go through a lot of training and then get cc'd for another issue. I sometimes wonder if this is just the dogs way of making it obvious to us they do not want to be a guide. For example I had a Golden Retriever with alert barking issues get cc'd for reacting to another dog being pushy in the community run by growling and getting mad at the dog- I would say maybe a stress reaction?

Here are a few reasons my dogs have gotten cc'd (alert barking, fear issues, allergies, IBS, cataracts, not getting along with dogs issues, seperation anxiety-Phase 10, would not stop barking on tie-down, and people "aggression"-mouthing with a purpose.

I think many times they are cc'd in home for more "trainability" type issues like hyperness, not wanting to please, dominance, etc... And then there where the two dogs in my club with the odd issues. One was scared of smoke from things like campfires and burning and the other of bread smells.

The good thing about cc's is that they make the best pets of all!!!


pup4gdb  – (March 11, 2009 at 5:49 PM)  

Coming from the leader who says that each of these dogs makes a choice... I had dogs go both ways and surprise me! There were two that I was 100% sure that they were coming home because of issues they had at home (some aggression in a GSD and kennel stress in a golden). Both flew through training and did great. One worked for 8 years and the other is still working.

I have had career change surprises as well. Some just fall apart in the kennel and there no way to predict it. You and I are lucky enough to be able to send our pups to the kennel they will be training in for some exposure before they are actually there for good.

So far, I have raised 16 puppies. Of those, 5 have graduated (ACK! That looks worse in writing that it feels just saying it!) Of the others, I was certain about 2 of them. One, I left in the kennel and she was a pitiful mess of a golden. She was SO scared of the other dogs barking and me leaving. She was CC'd 4 days later (yep, 4! Technically, bad hips got her, but a behavior career change would have been about a week or so later). And then there was Rebel. I adore Rebel. He was a transfer that came with major major issues. I did what I could to improve him. He changed by leaps and bounds. But, he came with a mold that wasn't made to be a guide. From what I hear, he is an excellent hearing dog. You don't need as much confidence for that job. He's loved & that is what is important.

So, 2 of 10 were expected. The other non-medical CC's have made sense for the dog. Traits that I saw in the dog had become more prevalent in a high stress environment.

I stopped guessing what each dog would do after #5. It's up to the dog. You know Accord. You have puppy sat Accord. I still have no clue how he will do in training. He's a good boy. He's well rounded and can handle all public situations. He has one medical quirk that may be his demise. Well, 2 medical quirks, but the tail is just cosmetic. But, behaviorally, I have no idea what he is going to do. He will make his decisions once he gets to college. If he chooses not to be a guide, one of his current traits will get out of hand, or he will come up with some new behavior that screams to his trainer "I don't want to do this!!!" My hope for him, 17 days before turn in, is that his trainer listens to what Accord is saying - either that he wants to be a guide, or that he doesn't. Accord is a smart boy. If they listen, he will tell them.

Each of my 10 CC'd dogs have had amazing lives. Two got to live with me :) One of those did pet therapy at a children's hospital. One is with my parents. One is raising my nephew and helping him with his autistic tendencies. One (I'm jealous of this one!) lives between California and Mexico - he sails with the family yacht back and forth every couple months. Two lived with friends from high school as pets. One is with a college friend and is loving being a farm dog. One is a hearing dog and doing the right job for him. The last one is living with the family that started him. All great lives. All happy. All loved. That's the most important part.

raiserally  – (March 12, 2009 at 12:00 PM)  

pup4gdb. You raised Rebel? As is Tahoma's son. Brother of Russ, Radar, Rally, Renna, Rae and Rose? Just curious!

Megan and Fullerton  – (March 12, 2009 at 9:14 PM)  

Yep, Rebel is part of the Tahoma/Francois litter. :D

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