© 1996 Wendy Volhard
This test is used to categorize puppies amongst a litter into which homes they would be better suited for. Score each puppy individually and compare their scores with the ideal scores for your household.
To test degree of social attraction, confidence
or dependence, place puppy in test area. From a few feet away the tester coaxes the pup to her/him by clapping hands gently and kneeling down. Tester must coax in a direction away from the point where it entered the testing area.
1.) Came readily, tail up, jumped, bit at hands.
2.) Came readily, tail up, pawed, licked at hands.
3.) Came readily, tail up.
4.) Came readily, tail down
5.) Came hesitantly, tail down.
6.) Didn't come at all.
To test degree of following attraction. Not following indicates independence, stand up and walk away from the pup in a normal manner. Make sure the pup sees you walk away.
1.) Followed readily, tail up, got underfoot, bit at feet.
2.) Followed readily, tail up, got underfoot.
3.) Followed readily, tail up
4.) Followed readily, tail down.
5.) Followed hesitantly, tail down.
6.) No follow or went away.
To test degree of dominant or submissive tendency.
How it accepts stress when socially/physically dominated, crouch down and gently roll the pup on his back and hold it with one hand for a full 30 seconds.
1.) Struggled fiercely, flailed, bit.
2.) Struggled fiercely, flailed.
3.) Settled, struggled, settled with some eye contact.
4.) Struggled then settled.
5.) No struggle.
6.) No struggle, straining to avoid eye contact.
To test degree of acceptance of social dominance. Pup may try to
dominate by jumping and nipping or is independent and walks away. Let pup stand up and gently stroke him from the head to back while you crouch beside him. Continue stroking until a recognizable behavior is established.
1.) Jumped, pawed, bit, growled.
2.) Jumped, pawed.
3.) Cuddles up to testor and tries to lick face.
4.) Squirmed, licked at hands.
5.) Rolled over, licked at hands.
6.) Went away and stayed away.
To test degree of accepting dominance while in position of no control. Bend over and cradle the pup under its belly, fingers interlaced, palms up and elevate it just off the ground. Hold it there for 30 seconds.
1.) Struggled fiercely, bit, growled.
2.) Struggled fiercely.
3.) No struggle, relaxed
4.) Struggled, settled, licked
5.) No struggle, licked at hands.
6.) No struggle, froze.
To test degree of willingness to work with a human. High correlation between ability to retrieve and successful guide dogs, obedience dogs, field trial dogs. Crouch beside pup and attract his attention with crumpled up paper ball. When the pup shows interest and is watching, toss the object 4-6 feet in front of pup.
1.) Chases object, picks up object and runs away.
2.) Chases object, stands over object, does not return.
3.) Chases object and returns with object to tester.
4.) Chases object and returns without object to tester.
5.) Starts to chase object, loses interest.
6.) Does not chase object.
To test degree of sensitivity to touch. Take puppy's webbing of one front foot and press between finger and thumb lightly then more firmly till you get a response, while you count slowly to 10. Stop as soon as puppy pulls away, or shows discomfort. Do not use fingernails.
1.) 8-10 counts before response.
2.) 6-7 counts before response.
3.) 5-6 counts before response.
4.) 2-4 counts before response.
5.) 1-2 counts before response.
To test degree of sensitivity to sound. Place pup in the center of area, tester or assistant makes a sharp noise a few feet from the puppy. A large metal spoon struck sharply on a metal pan twice works well.
1.) Listens, locates sound, walks toward it barking.
2.) Listens, locates sound, barks.
3.) Listens, locates sound, shows curiosity and walks toward sound.
4.) Listens, locates the sound.
5.) Cringes, backs off, hides.
6.) Ignores sound, shows no curiosity.
To test the degree of intelligent response to strange objects, Place pup in center of room. Tie a string around a large towel and jerk it across the floor a few feet away from puppy.
1.) Looks, attacks and bites.
2.) Looks, barks and tail up.
3.) Looks curiously, attempts to investigate.
4.) Looks, barks, tail-tuck.
5.) Runs away, hides.
Interpreting the Scores
- 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.
- Mostly 6's A puppy that scores 6 consistntly is independent and uninterested in people. He will mature into a dog who is not demonstrably affectionate and who has a low need for human companionship. In general, it is rare to see properly socialized pups test this way; however there are several breeds that have been bred for specific tasks (such as basenjis, hounds, and some northern breeds) which can exhibit this level of independence. To perform as intended, these dogs require a singularity of purpose that is not compromised by strong attachments to their owner.