German Shepherd puppy as natural retriever

I love this video that one of my new puppy owners sent! It shows an 11 week old puppy doing a natural retrieve. Natural, meaning not taught, just pure instinct. This is definitely a big characteristic in my bloodline and something I’m particularly proud of. Natural retrieving is the instinct most highly correlated with trainability for guide work for the blind.
To test your puppy for this instinct, set him up for success. Try it in a familiar place, with no distractions, not even other people or dogs he knows. Try a familiar object like a ball, and an unfamiliar object. For an unfamiliar object I like to wad up a sheet of paper and toss it. Only throw a few feet away. Almost any puppies will chase, some will pick up, fewer will carry, and very few will bring back. So far, all my puppies that I have tested have brought back! When your puppy is successful, praise him a lot to encourage the behavior. And never force the object out of his mouth! Offer a treat, or another toy, and he will eventually drop it. Check out this puppy, formerly known as Mustang!

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