The Litter Evaluation Report (LER) is done on all ISSR Shiloh Shepherd litters when the puppies are 8 weeks old. This is a two part evaluation of the puppies. Note I did not say test- there is no pass or fail in an LER- its purpose is to provide us with more information about each puppy. It allows the breeder to match the correct puppy with the correct prospective owner. Trust your breeder- they can do a better job of picking the right puppy for you than you can. That might seem silly I know. I mean who would know better the right puppy for you than you-right? Not so, we tend as humans to use our hearts more than our heads in a lot of situations and I can't think of anything else that makes our hearts take over more than a litter of puppies. That big fluffy puppy may be just adorable- but based on the results of the LER he may not be the right one for you. His testing may have shown he will be the type of puppy that is more independent, a bit strong willed. You may have told the breeder you were looking for a puppy that will be easy to train as this is your first dog. Yes, if circumstances are right you may be allowed to bring your "pick" home- but your breeder will let you know that he may not be the easiest puppy to train. There is nothing wrong with a strong willed independent puppy- but he will be perhaps a bit more challenging! It is something you need to think about. That same puppy may be a perfect match for someone else.
The LER consists of two distinct parts- the first evaluates the puppy from a temperament standpoint, and the other for conformation. In the temperament testing portion the puppy is put through a series of events. These include: Walking away from the puppy-does he follow? Banging pots- what is his response? Putting him in a maze- can he make it out? There are 9 in all and they give us a lot of information about the potential of that puppy. Of course it can't tell us what the adult dog will be- the way the dog is trained and socialized has a lot to do with that. It can and does give us a good predictor of what the puppy can turn out to be with appropriate training and socialization. The second part of the LER consists of the conformation review- these puppies are scrutinized from the tip of their nose to the tip of their tails. Muzzle shape and size, ear set, ear size, tail set, withers, hocks, coloring, ribs, feet, top line, teeth, and the list goes on.I can guarantee that if I put a breed quality and a pet quality puppy next to each other the vast majority of people could see no difference. It takes special training to become an LER evaluator. I have often thought I am glad they don't do LER's on people-it is very picky indeed and I don't know of anyone that would be breed quality! The conformation part is very helpful in figuring out which puppies will turn out to be good breeding prospects. We compare what we see at the LER with the breed standard and try to find puppies that most closely match the standard. Many litters may have no breed quality puppies or perhaps just one. Again I say- if you are not planning to breed, don't worry about it. A pet quality puppy is just perfect to be a pet and usually that is what we are looking for. Don't get caught up in the classification of your puppy- it will not matter. I got my first Shiloh, Max, twenty years ago and he was pet quality. Then I adopted Leah, a retired breed quality girl, and then bought Marco a pet up dog.Marco turned out phenomenal he is now a breed champion as well as Grand Victor 2014! My newest addition is Greta who will be bred at some point, pending health testing. I can honestly say they were ALL fantastic dogs- gentle, intelligent and beautiful. My pet quality Max would gather crowds when we went out- comments like "he is beautiful," "he is so sweet" were a common occurrence.
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