Sunday, September 19, 2010

Puppy Aptitude Test

Beau and Zachary (2nd day home)
Dog Blog Post #125: Puppy Watch continues... The litter was slated to have their temperament test today. I hope they studied!

The breeder uses the Volhard Puppy Aptitude Test, which tests:

  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 have no idea how much weight to put in these sorts of things, but it certainly can't hurt.

I just looked up Zachary's test, and his scores were:

  1. Social Attraction: 2
  2. Following: 1
  3. Restraint: 3
  4. Social Dominance: 3
  5. Elevation Dominance: 3
  6. Retrieving: 3
  7. Touch Sensitivity: 3
  8. Sound Sensitivity: 3
  9. Sight Sensitivity: 1

(Not sure where the page with #10 on it ended up!)

The tester's comments at the bottom were: "Has enough courage - no new situation will bother him. Would be a good obedience dog. Great Temperament."

( I don't think I got a copy of Beau's, but it wouldn't surprise me to find he scored 2's to Zachary's 3's.)

Looking at Zachary now, nearing maturity at 2.5 years old, I'd say the test was a pretty good predictor. Volhard's descriptions (on the test page) for a puppy who scores mostly 3's (as Zachary did) are: "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."

And that's a pretty good description of our Zachary! (Well, except for that "too much dog" part. Hard to picture the person he would be "too much" for... but then I'm not (too) elderly nor do I have small children, so I might not be the best judge of that.)

So, which puppy will be ours? Will the puppies that stood out for us have temperaments that match what we are looking for? What happens if they don't? I have no idea!

On the Getting-Way-Ahead-of-Herself Front: I have posted One-of-Ten's first Weekly Worksheet to my BZ Dog Activities blog, reproduced below for grins and giggles. I have decided to create different sheets for Zachary and One-of-Ten, at least until I decide not to!

(As always, click to see larger)


Katie, maizey (and meeka in our hearts) said...

Hi Kathleen, I am awed as usual! You are such an ordered person-something I envy greatly.

A question on "Chewies-I hold, you chew". Why "I hold"? Thought that very interesting.

BZ Dogs said...

"Why 'I hold'"? : When Beau was about 5 months old he flitted with resource guarding of chewies. I solved it by always holding one end and letting him chew the other. He quickly learned that it was MUCH easier to chew a chewie if I was holding it, and from then on not only let me take them, but would bring them to me in hopes I would hold them for him. That was the end of his resource guarding.

With Zachary, I decided I would hold the chewie from the start - at first most of the them, then gradually on and off. He's now the same way - chewies held by mom are MUCH better - although, to be honest, I don't think he would have been a resource guarder anyway.

Therefore, I will, once again, hold the end of the chewie for this puppy. So far it's a technique that's worked well.

katie, maizey (and meeka in our hearts) said...

What a brilliant idea to solve resource guarding! Make a note, one more thing to remember. ;)