Male Seven-Month-Old Pup Available to a Working Home
“Zoom”, the “Red” male from the ZZ litter, whelped 6/16/23, now 6 months old
Zoom is not registered –
this is just a call name and can easily be changed when he goes to his home.
Zoom is from the first litter by my young stud dog, Justice. So far, I would say he is producing super noses, busy-ness and a very special sweetness – just like him. The ZZs have also inherited his noisiness and love of carrying things in their mouths.
Justice is behind in his training because I didn’t get him until he was 10 weeks old and his breeder did nothing with him – like I do my pups – to encourage a love of learning and trying new things. That said, he has now learned to love nosework and hopefully will be ready to compete in 2024. He likes obedience, too, though other than getting his CGC and certifying him as a therapy dog, I haven’t yet continued his obedience training. He is a really good therapy dog with the nursing residents. I haven’t yet tried him in Reading Dog with elementary school students (where kids struggling in school read to the therapy dog), because I want him to gain more experience before being around excitable kids.
Mercy, Zoom’s mother, really wanted to do SAR, like her mother and a litter brother, but has to put up with just nosework here. Mercy, is my highest-drive female and quite nose-driven herself. Her pups have always been very busy and love training. Mercy has produced SAR dogs.
Mercy loves nosework and competes extremely well. Now that she’s retired from breeding (and spayed), we’ll concentrate on getting the rest of her advanced nosework titles. Too often she was either in heat or in whelp in May and October, when we have the nosework trials in this region.
Zoom is a dark black & tan male from an incredibly nose-driven litter, and the most intense litter I’ve ever bred. As one of my SAR friends commented, “The whole litter is led around by their noses.” Years ago, before a foot condition forced me to quit tracking, I did a lot of competition tracking and loved it. Zoom has me absolutely itching to track with him and sad that I can’t. Zoom flunked the on-leash walking part of puppy kindergarten because I could never get his nose off the ground, no matter what fantastic treats, including roast beef, I had. All he did was investigate every inch of the training arena. He was the star of the class, though, on the night when we did body-awareness and obstacle-maneuvering exercises.
On the cadaver part of the SAR temperament test, Zoom was electric. I wish we had a video of his reaction to the first whiff and then of him air searching for it as Bonnie carried it away to put it up and continuing to search for every trace of it after it disappeared. At the bottom of the page, I will include Zoom’s SAR temperament test results.
One of Zoom’s ears has not come up, though it has tried. I’m pretty sure one of the two females that I kept (Zest & Zeal) injured it. All three pups are extremely oral and always carry something around – and when they play, they grab all kinds of body parts for tug – legs, any loose skin and ears. Zoom’s ear was up at first, then went down when he hit a teething phase. I taped it up twice, but the girls targeted the ear brace for tug. I had thought I’d tape it when he left here, but now it’s probably too late. He’s a silly, goofy boy, quite the clown and a real character, so maybe the ear just wants to “fit” his personality.
I compete in nosework and have started all 3 of the ZZs in training, though I just did a few sessions with him as I didn’t want to goof up any SAR or other training in his new home. The girls are doing great in nosework classes. Zoom loved the introduction to nosework (I use the Dave Kroyer method which first teaches a solid indication before introducing any searching, so he just learned a down indication on the essential oils that are the scents used). He really wants to use his nose. And he definitely needs a job, as he’s a high-energy, very busy guy.
The ZZ litter, especially Zoom, are terrible about grabbing (usually stealing) things. Zoom is also VERY busy, though his sisters aren’t very much calmer. He, though, seems to be the instigator when they get in trouble. One morning, even after a thirty-minute ball session that should have worn the ZZs out, he and Zest sneakily tiptoed past my office carrying the bathroom plunger. It happened to hit against a kitchen cabinet, giving me a warning. I rescued it and gave them a “Leave it!” lesson as I put it back in the bathroom. I no sooner sat back down at my computer when he and Zeal tried to sneak through the kitchen carrying the broom. Again the end touched a cupboard, and I caught them. We’ve had MANY “leave the broom alone!” sessions but it continues to fascinate them enough that they work to get it out of its tiny storage spot, a crack between two dressers.
One morning after their ball session, Zoom and Zest stole my warm hat with ear flaps off the dresser by the back door where I set it and my gloves between ball sessions. They snuck it out the doggie door and proceeded to pull out nearly all of the sheepskin lining on the ear flaps and inside of the hat, totally ruining it.
Another day Zeal stole a piece of paper from a stack of papers I was typing from. She very sneakily oozed up to my desk, grabbed the paper with the edges of her front teeth and silently slipped it out of the middle of the pile. At least I came back to my desk in time to rescue it before she shredded it.
I usually keep the bedroom door closed because I’m afraid they’ll steal the top of the humidifier, and carry it off to destroy. I thought it was safe to have the door open while I brushed my teeth, since the humidifier is just outside my bathroom door, barley into the bedroom and I can watch it. One morning, however, Zest stole the container of lanolin for my hands off the bedside table and, by the time I had noticed it and went in pursuit (toothbrush in hand), had carried it into the kitchen and somehow unscrewed the lid and was happily licking away.
Still another day one of them stole the pencil I was using to check off the AAA litter temperament test comments as I typed them. I didn’t catch them that time – the next day I found the remains of the pencil end in the snow. I only had 2 pencils, so now I have to remember to put the remaining pencil UP high on my desk so it doesn’t also disappear. At least they haven’t yet stolen the keyboard or mouse. I already have everything stored much higher than I ever needed before – and these pups are 6 months old! I have a feeling that life with them will always be an adventure – and full of laughs.
Zoom’s latest “adventure” was somehow extracting the big Pine Sol bottle that was helping prop open the cabinet doors under the kitchen sink to keep the pipes there from freezing. I rescued that right away! He managed it even though I had the knobs on both doors tied together to keep the doors from opening more than a few inches. My reaction to him anymore is “What next?” He does make for good stories, though!
Explanation of the Police/Narcotics Test
My good friend, Suzan Guilford, does the police/narcotics test that she modified since I am not particularly breeding for police dogs. Suzan is a former K9 handler and police officer, former police chief, and has taught at the Wyoming Police Academy. She has done my temperament tests for over twenty years, except for a two-year absence while she was working in Florida. Suzan and I over the years have incorporated most of the SAR exercises into her testing so she can include them in case the SAR testers can’t come do their test.
The main difference I see between the police/narcotics test and the SAR test is the attitude of the tester. In the police test, the tester is very quiet, talking little and using very little body movements. No other people are present and the environment is kept quiet. In the SAR test, the tester (often two do the test together) is somewhat more enthusiastic, uses some verbal praise and body movements to get the pup “up” and gives praise.
This would fit well with the ultimate purpose of the dogs being tested for both types of training. In police work the dog must be able to dig down deep inside himself or herself to find the courage and aggression to confront a criminal and/or to search independently and at great distance from the handler. In SAR the handler is usually closer to the dog and is able to praise and encourage him, especially in extended searches. There is also generally all kinds of activity and distraction at a search scene so the dog must be able to filter out the extraneous activity and focus on her job. Both tests are fascinating to watch as is the difference in the pups’ responses in each test.
The puppy buyers are invited to watch the tests and talk to the testers afterwards. Other people are also sometimes present to watch. All are asked to be as quiet as possible, neither making noise or moving around, so that they don’t draw the pups’ attention from the tester and cause them to stop retrieving, tugging or using their noses so that they don’t test as well as they could. This litter was much more aware of their surroundings than most. I think all of them noticed the people standing out of the test area, watching. Mr. Red even gave a tiny growl.
The pups tested well. As soon as I have time, I will type a summary of the test scores for the diary, then the complete ratings/comments, and get both on the website. We’ll decide who gets which pup tomorrow after the Search & Rescue Test, then pups start leaving Sunday.
I’ll put detailed results on the website later, but here is a summary. First, an explanation of some of the tests that aren’t self-explanatory:
Social Attachment: Acknowledges new person; dominance or independence
Following: Willingness to follow and acceptance of tester
Sound Sensitivity: Can of Rocks: a sudden loud noise behind them, in this case a can of nuts and bolts dropped from about 2’ elevation
Confidence/Elevation: Confidence/dominance shown when held in air and has no control
Prey/perseverance: Willingness to chase toy, solidness of bite, use of body to possess
Sound Sensitivity: Train: a moving, whistling battery-operated train engine (if they got different ratings for the two objects, that is listed; otherwise they rated the same on both)
Surprise/Stability: umbrella opened suddenly as they pass by; not recovery after initial startle
My pups are very people-oriented and voice responsive, so they never do as well on the police/narcotic test as on the Search & Rescue test because on this test, the handler is deliberately very calm and quiet and doesn’t say much. As usual, Suzan commented that the pups came alive when she gave them the tiniest bit of praise.
My female line typically has booty drive come in first (desire to possess the toy) and being very obvious now, with the retrieve drive coming in later than the age at which we do the temperament testing, so it’s common for few to get a low retrieve rating on the temperament tests.
I am not breeding for police dog candidates, for which they want crazy drive, activity level and pushiness. Suzan gives this interpretation statement: This test was designed for police dogs and dogs of similar professions. This is a good predictor of a strong, confident dog, but also one that may be more independent and not as willing to work with humans as much as they just want to work. Having scores that are average and minimal in some categories may be just what is needed for the agility, therapy or family dog.
ZZ litter Comments on the Police/Narcotics Test: None of the pups liked restraint and struggled, particularly on the Submission test. All of them found something extremely interesting on the ground and mats. Sue is currently doing puppy kindergarten classes and nosework classes, so we figured there were treat crumbs in the area. These pups love to use their noses and have good ones.
Zoom’s Police/Narcotics Temperament Test Results (He was Mr. Red.)
Average-Good: Following; Pain Sensitivity; Prey/Perseverance (He had front-teeth bite but liked to chase toy); Sound Sensitivity (can of rocks); Sound Sensitivity (train); Surprise/Stability (when encouraged)
Minimal: Restraint/Submission (eye contact at 6 seconds; struggled mildly); Social Dominance; Confidence/Elevation (for 23 seconds, then struggled)
Insufficient: Retrieve ball/toy (typical of my litters as they have strong booty drive that comes in first – at about 5-6 weeks of age, with the retrieve drive coming in later, after the temperament test at 7-8 weeks)
Unacceptable: Social Attachment (Struggled to get down. Didn’t recognize tester.)
Explanation of the Search & Rescue Temperament Test
Bonnie, my Search & Rescue friend from Bozeman came to test the pups for Search & Rescue (and other working) potential. She comes to test most of my litters and I greatly appreciate it.
The test elements:
Acceptance/Attachment The first test involves evaluating the pup’s acceptance of the strange place and its willingness to interact with the stranger. Ideal reaction is eye contact and interest in the stranger but no sign of nervousness in the interaction (we don’t want a “Protect me!” attitude), followed by visual investigation of the surroundings and then a return of attention to the tester.
Eye Contact Desire to connect with the tester by looking them in the eye was noted.
Confidence The confidence part of the test involves holding the pup out at arm’s length for several seconds. Again, the pup should accept the handler putting it in position and remain calm.
Independence How comfortable is the pup, will it work away from the tester or does it stay underfoot? Or does it avoid dealing with the tester by staying away and playing on its own.
Pain Sensitivity The loose skin over the ribs or between the toes is gently pinched and the pup’s reaction is noted. Ideal reaction is to notice the pinch but be unconcerned by it. We also look for a willingness to forgive the tester.
Retrieve Next, willingness to retrieve is evaluated using different toys and balls. Ideal reaction is to repeatedly bring the toy back to the handler rather than moving off to “possess” it. The type of bite on the toys is evaluated: a full mouth bite shows more confidence and drive than a front-teeth-only bite.
Metal Object Tester tosses a set of car keys and observes to see if pup will put its mouth on it, pick it up and/or retrieve it.
Perseverance (Chase) Then perseverance is evaluated by seeing how enthusiastically they will pursue and grab hold of an object. Ideal reaction is to pursue enthusiastically and grasp with a full mouth bite.
Tug Ideal reaction is a full mouth bite, tug and do everything possible to possess the object. We like to see a pup get its whole body on the sack/rope/toy in an effort to
Prey Drive Strength of desire to chase and attack is evaluated.
Hunt for Toy While playing with ball or soft toy, hide it and encourage pup to use nose to find it. Interest? How long will pup search? Uses nose or eyes? When thrown through tunnel, will it go after it?
Unstable Footing Since SAR dogs will search in all kinds of terrain and areas of destruction, they must be confident in insecure situations. We made a rough, unsteady surface using a tarp, folded wire crate, raised dog bed, an agility hoop on its side, and other things. Toys were thrown or drug over the unstable area.
Submission The submission test is designed to give an idea of the pup’s tractability, trust in humans, and willingness to submit to a human’s directives. In the submission test the pup is held firmly on its back for a short period of time. The tester counts the seconds it takes for him to resist, then accept, the restraint. She should not passively accept the restraint, nor should she panic or show avoidance of eye contact. Ideal reaction is to resist, then submit and look the tester in the face. We also look for a willingness to forgive the tester.
Runaway The tester shows pup food or a toy, gets its interest, then runs away. She observes how eagerly the pup comes and how naturally it uses its nose to find her once she hides.
Reaction to Strange Objects We used a battery-operated, remote-controlled mouse. We also had a very large stuffed teddy bear and a large stuffed duck sitting around.
Cadaver Test A vial containing cadaver material was waved past the pup’s nose as it played. Its reaction and interest or lack of interest were noted.
Wagon Test The pup was placed in a wagon. One tester walked to the side to keep the pup from jumping out, while the other pulled it around the room.
Courage Test Courage is normally evaluated using something that vibrates, makes noise and moves erratically. Today we used a battery-operated robot that moved, makes noise and flashes all kinds of brilliant lights. Will they stand their ground? Will they go investigate it? Excellent reaction is to go to it and check it out. Extremely excellent reaction is to actually attack it while it moves. Good reaction is to investigate it after the tester turns it off. The tester encourages the pup to investigate after it is turned off, if the pup wouldn’t while it was making noise. She notes how much encouragement is needed.
Fear A metal can filled with metal items (hinges, bolts, etc.) is dropped behind them from a height of about 2 feet while they are looking away from it. One tester does this when the pup was intent on whatever the other tester is doing. Will the pup hold its ground and then go look at what dropped from nowhere? Excellent reaction is to acknowledge and turn towards the sound and then confidently go see what made the racket. The tester encourages the pup to investigate, if it doesn’t on its own. She notes how much encouragement is needed. I find most of my pups look towards the racket and keep on playing with the toy they had, rather than stopping their play to go investigate.
Surprise This test involves getting the pup to follow you (or a toy) towards a place with a hidden person, from behind which an umbrella is opened suddenly and then lowered to the ground, still open. The pups are evaluated on how they recover from being startled and if they’ll go investigate. Ideal reaction is for the pup to startle but hold its ground, then move right up to check out the umbrella. A super excellent reaction is to go up and bite it and/or walk all over it. The tester encourages the pup to investigate after the umbrella is on the top step, if it doesn’t on its own. She notes how much encouragement is needed.
Hunt for Food I This test begins with a piece of chicken jerky tied on a string and dragged to attract the pup’s interest and see how interested it is, how hard it will work to get it, and how hard it will work to keep it as the tester jerks, tugs and generally prevents the pup from easily eating it. They also hold it high to see if the pup will look up to search for it.
Hunt for Food II The testers spread pieces of my homemade salmon treats and Braunschweiger treats around on the floor, on top of and under objects. The pups had to use their noses to find where the treats were. They were judged on how they how they used their noses and how systematic their searching was.
Puppy Drag I took my puppy drag, which is a piece of rope I fasten around my waist. Gunny sacks are attached to the rope and move enticingly as I move around, so the pups focus on biting and tugging on them instead of me. I normally wear this as I exercise the puppies’ mother each morning, to divert them from biting my legs or pants. Most pups have a great time as it was drug around the room, chasing, tugging and at times riding on it.
Bonnie’s ratings are marked “Bo” and Bridget’s are marked “Br.” If both gave the same reading, I put “both.”
After years of trying to decipher the ratings as the testers put marks in sections of the box, say, for “10,”, I created a test sheet with boxes for every possible rating – and they still occasionally give a 10+ rating. Mr. Blue, Miss Pink, Mr. Red and Mr. Yellow all received a score of 10+ – and Mr. Red received a 10++ on his cadaver test – a first in all our years of testing!
Specific ZZ litter Comments on the Search & Rescue Test: Bonnie took Mr. Yellow from this litter. She recruited another SAR friend, Bridget (who happens to have Mercy’s brother, Riker, and who ended up taking Mr. Orange from the AAA litter) to help.
All seven pups aced it. They had a ball, and the testers were high in their praise. Bonnie had to urge Bridget to move the toys faster as she played with the pups, because Bridget was used to testing seven-week-old pups who are more tentative this this mob of pups that turned 8 weeks old yesterday. They also played a lot rougher. The testers said all the pups should work – and needed jobs where they use their noses. Bonnie commented that none of these pups are for first-time GSD owners. Super nice litter. See the entire ZZ litter’s SAR test ratings.
The highlight of the day’s testing was Mr. Red’s reaction to the cadaver sample. He was absolutely electrified when Bonnie waved the vial past him as he played with a toy. Actually, the whole litter immediately chased down the scent and tried to climb into the vial, but Mr. Red’s reaction was incredible. He was on fire, pursuing the vial no matter how high, fast or where Bonnie moved it. Even after she stoppered it and walked away to put it up, he followed her, jumping up to try to get to it and stayed with her after she put it away. And he continued looking for it. His air scenting, following the odor trail, was impressive. All we could say was “WOW!!” So we’d like this boy to do cadaver/forensics if we can find someone who is looking for a pup.
Zoom’s SAR Ratings
10++: Cadaver (Bo; “Bonnie commented, “WOW! What a focus to hunt for that.”)
10+: Metal (Bo; Bonnie commented, Incredible! Tugging with metal.); Runaway (Bo; Bonnie commented, “Oh, My!!!)
10: Attachment (both); Eye contact (Bo); Independence (Bo); Retrieve (Bo); Perseverance (Bo); Hunt for Toy (Bo); Unstable Footing (both); Runaway (Br; Bridget commented, “Used cadaver for lure); Strange Object (both); Cadaver (Br; Bridget commented, “All about it”); Courage (both; Bridget commented, “Went and checked it out.”); Fear (both); Surprise (both; Bridget commented, “Didn’t care.”); Hunt for Food I (both; Bonnie commented, “Very driven!”); Hunt for Food II (both; Bridget commented, “All nose. Good independence.”); Puppy Drag (both)
10-9: Confidence (Bo; Bonnie commented, “Didn’t really like it.”); Eye Contact (Br); Pain Sensitivity (both); Tug (both); Prey Drive (both); Hunt for Toy (Br); Submission (Bo); Wagon (Bo)
9.5: Confidence (Br); Wagon (Br)
9: Independence (Br; Bridget commented, “Busy. Needs a job.”);
Bonnie: “What a nose! Really fun to watch his search for the cadaver odor! Nice Guy. Focused – very drivey.”
Bridget: “Needs a nose job. Very good nose. More independent.”