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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm in the puppy market. I've found a couple breeders through the DPCA site, and the one I like best says pups are due on Valentine's Day (isn't that sweet). A gal at the Dog Park told me about a series of "tests" you can do with a puppy to find out his temperment(?). She described doing things like rolling the pup on his back and scratching it's belly, and some other things I can't remember. Has anyone heard of this? Does it have a name? Can you point me in the right direction? I'm looking for my pup to grow up to be a good watch dog and a good Ratter (we have a yard full of them, and my other dogs refuse to take up the slack since Mavis has been gone), but not a monster.
Any help you can send my way will be very much appreciated.
Thanks.
 

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PUPPY APTITUDE TEST

Revised January 2003



Developed by Joachim and Wendy Volhard


PUPPY APTITUDE TEST

This score sheet has been prepared for the convenience of those who have
Dog Training For Dummies by Jack & Wendy Volhard (IDG Books, 2001),
which contains the information necessary for accurate results
and the correct interpretation of the scores.
Click here for Printer Friendly version

© Wendy Volhard 2003



Puppy (color, sex) ________________ litter ______________________ date ____________


TEST
PURPOSE

SCORE
#

SOCIAL ATTRACTION

Place puppy in test area about four feet from the tester. Tester kneels, leans backwards and coaxes the pup to her/him by clapping hands gently.
Degree of social attraction to people, confidence, or dependence.​

Pack Drive.

Came readily, tail up, jumped, bit at hands.​
1
Came readily, tail up, pawed, licked at hands.​
2
Came readily, tail up.​
3
Came readily, tail down​
4
Came hesitantly, tail down.​
5
Didn't come at all.​
6
FOLLOWING
The tester stands up and slowly walks away encouraging the puppy to follow. Make sure the pup sees you walk away. Coax puppy to follow by talking to it and attracting its attention.
Willingness to follow a person.​
Pack Drive.
Followed readily, tail up, got underfoot, bit at feet.​
1
Followed readily, tail up, got underfoot.​
2
Followed readily, tail up​
3
Followed readily, tail down.​

4
Followed hesitantly, tail down.​
5
Did not follow or went away.​
6
RESTRAINT
The tester crouches down and gently rolls the pup on its back and holds it down with light pressure with one hand for 30 seconds.
Degree of dominance or submissive tendency, and ease of handling in difficult situations.​
Fight or Flight Drive.

Struggled fiercely, flailed, bit.​
1
Struggled fiercely, flailed.​
2
Settled, struggled, settled with some eye contact.​
3
Struggled then settled.​
4
No struggle, no eye contact.​
5
No struggle, straining to avoid eye contact.​
6
SOCIAL DOMINANCE
Puppy sits or stands on crouching tester's left side and tester gently strokes it from the head to back. Continue stroking until a recognizable behavior is established.
Degree of acceptance of social dominance by a person.​
Pack Drive.
Jumped, pawed, bit, growled.​
1
Jumped, pawded.​
2
Cuddled up to tester and tried to lick face.​
3
Squirmed, licked at hands.​
4
Rolled over, licked at hands.​
5
Went away and stayed away.​
6
ELEVATION DOMINANCE
The tester cradles the pup under its chest, with both hands, fingers interlaced, palms up and gently lifts it two feet off the ground, and holds it there for 30 seconds.
Degree of accepting dominance while in position of no control.​
Fight or Flight Drive.
Struggled fiercely, tried to bite.​
1
Struggled fiercely.​
2
Struggled, settled, struggled, settled.​
3
No struggle, relaxed.​
4
No struggle, body stiff.​
5
No struggle, froze.​
6
RETRIEVING
The tester crouches beside the pup and attracts its attention with a crumpled up piece of paper. When the pup shows some interest, the tester tosses the paper no more than four feet in front of the pup, encouraging it to retrieve the paper.
Degree of willingness to do something for you. Together with social attraction and following, a key indicator for ease or difficulty in training.​
Prey Drive.
Chased object, picked it up and ran away.​
1
Chased object, stood over it, did not return.​
2
Chased object, picked it up and returned with it to tester.​
3
Chased object and returned without it to tester.​
4
Started to chase object, lost interest.​
5
Did not chase object.​
6
TOUCH SENSITIVITY
The tester locates the webbing of one of the puppy's front paws and presses it lightly between his index finger and thumb. The tester gradually increases pressure while counting to 10 and stops the pressure when the puppy pulls away or shows discomfort.
* Do not use your fingernail when performing this test. Press between the finger and thumb lightly then more firmly until you get a response.
Degree of sensitivity to touch and a key indicator to the type of training equipment required.​
8-10 counts before response.​
1
6-7 counts before response.​
2
5-6 counts before response.​
3
2-4 counts before response.​
4
2-3 counts before response.​
5
SOUND SENSITIVITY
The puppy is placed in the center of the testing area and an assistant stationed at the perimeter makes a sharp noise, such as banging a metal spoon on the bottom of a metal pan.
Degree of sensitivity to sound.​
(Also a rudimentary test
for deafness.)

Prey Drive.

Listened, located sound, walked toward it barking.​
1
Listened, located sound, barked.​
2
Listened, located sound, showed curiosity and walked toward sound.​
3
Listened, located the sound.​
4
Cringed, backed off, hid.​
5
Ignored sound, showed no curiosity.​
6
SIGHT SENSITIVITY
The puppy is placed in the center of the testing area. The tester ties a string around a bath towel and jerks it across the floor two feet away from puppy.
Degree of response to a moving object, such as chasing bicycles, children or squirrels.​

Prey Drive.
Looked, attacked and bit.​
1
Looked, barked and tail up.​
2
Looked curiously, attempted to investigate.​
3
Looked, barked, tail-tuck.​
4
Ran away, hid.​
5
STABILITY
An umbrella is opened about five feet from the puppy and gently placed on the ground.
Degree of startle response to a strange object.​
Fight and Flight Drive.
Looked and ran to the umbrella, mouthing or biting it.
1​
Looked and walked to the umbrella, smelling it cautiously.​
2​
Looked and went to investigate.​
3​
Sat and looked, but did not move toward the umbrella.​
4​
Ran away from the umbrella.​
5​
Showed no interest.​
6​
STRUCTURE
The puppy is gently set and held in a natural stance and evaluated for structure in the following categories:
  • Straight front
  • Straight rear
  • Shoulder lay back
  • Front angulation
  • Croup angulation
  • Rear angulation
(see diagram below)
Degree of structural soundness.​
Good structure is necessary.
The puppy is correct in structure.​

good
The puppy has a slight fault or deviation.​


fair
The puppy has an extreme fault or deviation.​


poor
(First published in the AKC Gazette, March 1979, in an article by Melissa Bartlett.)​








Developed by Joachim and Wendy Volhard
© Wendy Volhard 2003

© As long as the material used is correctly credited with the authors' name,
a link to this website, the publication where it was printed from and the copyright,
Jack and Wendy encourage people to use their material.
Updated: May 2, 2004 8:38 AM
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks a Million, BackInBlack!
That was quick! Eleven minutes, three in the morning local time. Boy, I love the Internet!
I think this is exactly what I'm looking for.

Does anyone here have any experience with this?
 

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No problem. Hope that helps. I have never done it, but I have heard alot of people do....

Isn't the internet great??? I love this website, I have learned a ton just reading alot of the posts on here.
 

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Oh, you might need this too.....haha...here is how to interpret the score.

Mostly 1's A puppy that consistently scores a 1 in the temperament section of the test is an extremely dominant, aggressive puppy who can easily be provoked to bite. His dominant nature will attempt to resist human leadership, thus requiring only the most experienced of handlers. This puppy is a poor choice for most individuals and will do best in a working situation as a guard or police dog.

Mostly 2's This pup is dominant and self-assured. He can be provoked to bite; however he readily accepts human leadership that is firm, consistent and knowledgeable. This is not a dog for a tentative, indecisive individual. In the right hands, he has the potential to become a fine working or show dog and could fit into an adult household, provided the owners know what they are doing.

Mostly 3's This pup is outgoing and friendly and will adjust well in situations in which he receives regular training and exercise. He has a flexible temperament that adapts well to different types of environment, provided he is handled correctly. May be too much dog for a family with small children or an elderly couple who are sedentary.

Mostly 4's A pup that scores a majority of 4's is an easily controlled, adaptable puppy whose submissive nature will make him continually look to his master for leadership. This pup is easy to train, reliable with kids, and, though he lacks self-confidence, makes a high-quality familly pet. He is usually less outgoing than a pup scoring in the 3's, but his demeanor is gentle and affectionate.

Mostly 5's This is a pup who is extremely submissive and lacking in self-confidence. He bonds very closely with his owner and requires regular companionship and encouragement to bring him out of himself. If handled incorrectly, this pup will grow up very shy and fearful. For this reason, he will do best in a predictable, structured lifestyle with owners who are patient and not overly demanding, such as an elderly couple.

Here are a few more that I found also..

http://www.ahtluvr.com/ahtpuptest.html

http://animalcontrol.co.la.ca.us/html/pages/adoptions/Puptest.htm

This is one they use on Pit Bulls...One for Under 5mos and one for over..

http://www.pbrc.net/temperament.html
 

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Honestly, it's great info, but there is speculation as to the validity of temperament testing puppies. To sum it up most tests fail to get at the underlying traits they are supposed to.
For example if (and this is quoted from "Culture Clash" do to my lack of originality!) "6 puppies are tested on their reaction to a novel stimulus like an umbrella opening. Puppies #1 and 2 are not spooked in the least, Puppies #3 and 4 spook first and then investigate. Puppies # 5 and 6 spook but don't come around to investigate. What have we learned from these pups? The standard test interpretation would say puppies number 1 and 2 are stable, 3 and 4 are a bit spooky, and 5 and 6 are very spooky. In reality we haven't learned anything about puppies number 1 and 2, 3 and 4 have demonstrated reactivity but excellent "bounceback", and 5 and 6 have demonstrated reactivity and some lack of "bounceback".
Fact is we've learned nothing about puppies 1 and 2, other then they aren't afraid of umbrellas, jury is still out as to how they behave and react when they do come across something they do fear, same with rolling them on their backs, testing aggression, etc.....

The fact is that puppies are such "open books" and have no limit to the amount of knowledge they are ready to take in and their behaviors are so changeable with just a little influence, that they can grow up to be completely different dogs than they were puppies.

Just a little tidbit, keep us updated on the puppy search :)
 

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I think if you have a breeder that spends a lot of time with the puppies and work with them you can change their reaction to that test. and then how much you work with the dog after you get him makes a difference. So I would see if I could how much the breeder wants you around. When I got Gunner she incouraged me to come be dwith the puppy. a couple different weekends. to make my pick. But she was also good about matching the puppies with people.
 

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Chances are very high the breeder is going to pick the puppy FOR YOU based on your lifestyle and your certain preferences and the breeder. If you get to pick any puppy from the litter you might be at the wrong place (byb or mill). Those are simply a series of tests a breeder might use to pick the puppy for you. Good luck :)
 
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