I mentioned to my bear today that simply judging a pup by appearance, his sexiness, is juvenile. It really is something that we should grow out of as adults. As a trainer I am less concerned about how sexy a potential pup is and am more concerned with his character.
If you confuse "Virtue" with "Chastity", then this post is not for you. Find a monotheist church and move on. A virtue is a trait, a quality of character, that is good and considered moral and worth having as a trait. Chastity is too often about keeping a woman as property for breeding. We are not going there because my mother taught me better than that. So, having established what virtue actually is, let me explain a little why I look for it in a pup.
A good pup is a good person, at least in some serious and substantial way. He possesses a strength of character that leads him to create a good life for himself and others. That strength of a pup should never diminish others in his vicinity, rather it serves as a strength for others to lean on or be inspired by. But what strength am I talking about? Well, it would be a virtue of character, a trait such as kindness, curiosity, passion for play, compassion, rationality, to name a few. This virtue needs to be obvious to me; it needs to actually be present when I meet a pup or interact for the first time, so that I can see that the virtue actually manifests in a pups thoughts, feelings, and actions. You can say you are a brave pup, but you need to show it as a human being as well, across all situations and over time, not just in an instant of pup play.
Why do I look for virtue so much? Well, because it is a sign of emotional maturity. We all grow in stages, from toddler to young person, to teen, to adult etc. At each stage of development we have to solve problems that we face, resolve issues that arise. Like learning to share toys as a toddler, learning to ask questions as a young person, learning to express our sexuality as a teen, and learning to live in a society as an adult. Virtues actually evolve from resolving those stages in a good way. Sharing rather than being selfish or martyr like as a toddler. Ask yourself - do you know anyone who has entitlement issues? Who gives their partner or family way too much and does so little for themselves? If only they had sorted that shit out at 3 years of age....
Pup hood involves sharing, expressing your sexuality, being in a community, and asking questions. And a whole lot more. The practices of pup hood should reinforce positive traits and virtues in my opinion, rather than ensure a guy brings his baggage to puphood and develops more.
An example of judging by virtue is with my two pups GPup Alpha and Trooper Bravo. GPup's compassion was obvious to me, and sincere. Troopers courage was evident from the first time he called me. I am proud to be associated with such good pups. There's little more a pup trainer can ask than to feel his pups represent him by their virtue of character.