Temperment Testing for Puppies

Temperment Testing for Puppies

If there is one thing that you, the potential dog owner, could do to increase your odds of getting a dog that's right for your family, it's temperament testing. Yet, very few people are aware that this is possible, let alone actually doing it. Certainly, research in any form is a good idea. What type of dog is right for you? Are you active? Are you allergic to dander? Do you have kids or, just as important, will you have kids within the life span of the dog you choose? Do you live an apartment or in a house? Who will be taking care of the dog? These are all questions you should be asking, but they're only the beginning. Once you've chosen the type of dog you are getting and where you will get it (a breeder or a shelter?), you should have the puppy tested.

There are a number of temperament tests available. Perhaps the most commonly accepted is the Volhard Temperament Test. You can find out more about this test at volhard.com. The test is broken down into the following categories:

  1. Social Attraction - degree of social attraction to people, confidence or dependence.  
  2. Following - willingness to follow a person.
  3. Restraint - degree of dominant or submissive tendency, and ease of handling in difficult situations.
  4. Social Dominance - degree of acceptance of social dominance by a person.
  5. Elevation - degree of accepting dominance while in a position of no control, such as at the veterinarian or groomer.
  6. Retrieving - degree of willingness to do something for you. Together with Social Attraction and Following a key indicator for ease or difficulty in training.
  7. Touch Sensitivity - degree of sensitivity to touch and a key indicator to the type of training equipment required.
  8. Sound Sensitivity - degree of sensitivity to sound, such as loud noises or thunderstorms.
  9. Sight Sensitivity - degree of response to a moving object, such as chasing bicycles, children or squirrels. 
  10. Stability - degree of startle response to a strange object.

I would strongly encourage you to find a professional trainer with testing experience to help you carry out the test. To grade each dog requires experience with canine body language and the test itself. Administered correctly, you can get a fair assessment of each dog's personality. It is worth every penny!

Christi Blaskowski CPDT-KA


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