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Old 02-14-2014, 03:49 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Temperament Testing

Hey Guys

My pup is almost a year old now and he's turned out to be an extremely soft dog, he is very environmentally stable but very nervy socially, despite my best efforts to socialize him. Now I understand that you can never truly know exactly how a young dog will turn out, once it is fully mature, but I do understand that they temperament test pups before they sell them off. I was wondering why his softness and low threshold to discomfort wasn't picked up during the puppy temperament tests that were applied to him.

Another thing that was puzzling was that the breeder sent me a document, detailing how the test should be performed. The document stated that the test should be performed by someone with no prior interaction with the pup (and hence no conflict of interest either), yet the breeder said that he conducted the tests himself, which contradicts the instructions in very document he sent me. When I wrote him back telling him this, I received no reply.

I posted in this forum because I wanted to know whether other breeders performed temperament tests themselves or had an uninterested third party conduct the test and also if something like my dog's soft temperament would have been picked up at all.
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Old 02-14-2014, 04:31 AM   #2 (permalink)
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As a breeder I do the temperament test myself. I'm the one responsible for placing the pups in their new homes and I want to ensure that everything is done properly. The breeder should know what they want out of their pups and place them accordingly.
If a breeder misrepresents their pup after the test this just makes them look bad and can ruin their reputation. Unless they beleive their selling the pup to someone that they don't think could understand the difference.
Between the initial test and 1 year of age a lot of things can change. Environment, negative situations, and lack of positive re enforcement can contribute to a dog showing signs of "soft temperament" or weak nerves. Not saying your dog has experienced any of that but a dogs temperament is like our personality. If someone isn't confident in them selves they tend to be shy or withdrawn from allowing themselves to be placed in situations where they are worried they won't know how to respond. It's the same with a dog. Positive reinforcements and building their confidence is essential in helping them improve. Which they Can if done properly! There are a lot of things to consider when accessing a pup with this problem. Was the pup bought as a pet companion or was the pup expected to be more when you got them? What's the pedigree and what type of line is the pup? Did the breeder take the appropriate measures to socialize the puppies early enough? I make sure my pups are socialized with almost every scenario a typical dog owner might face down the road. There is a certain time period for puppies when they have not yet established the sense of fear. If you can introduce them to things that might scare them during this time that will help them to develop into a far more superior adult dog. Never buy a pup from a breeder who can't explain to you the extensive list of socialization and time they put into their litters.




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Old 02-14-2014, 08:51 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I think the test should be performed by someone the breeder trusts. And it should not be done in the puppies comfort zone, they need to be in a new environment for better evaluation.

The breeder can be included in the observations, but should have someone else doing the exercises(someone that they trust!) to better evaluate.
That is just one moment in time, the breeder knows the puppies.....
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Old 02-14-2014, 08:58 AM   #4 (permalink)
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a good breeder will get the big picture by observing the pups day by day , situation by situation .
at best that test is a snapshot of one moment in time.

personally I don't like them --- behaviour is fluid , like mercury on a smooth surface -- by the time you have given meaning , trying to quantify something the moment is long gone , and may have had little meaning --
behaviour is dynamic -- a pup may test out well , then put that dog in a home where every experience impacts on that dog negatively and you get a different end result .
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Old 02-14-2014, 09:02 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Temperament Test?
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Old 02-14-2014, 09:17 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Most of our selection and placement of pups is based on observation during the weeks that they are here. We do also do a formal puppy test at 8 weeks, and this is done by a person who is a stranger to the pups and in a strange location. We observe the tests but don't participate and try to remain hidden so the pups don't really know we are there. I believe the strangeness of the test is important, as it's primary purpose (for us at least) isn't so much to uncover the pup's personality as we already have a good idea of what that is, but rather to see if the same traits and behaviors we are used to seeing over several weeks hold up when the pup is subjected to the stress of being outside it's comfort zone or if a new behavior surfaces due to that stress.

Puppy tests are only as accurate as the people observing and evaluating. The breeder has to know what to look for and has to remain objective and not make excuses. Even then, while looking at early puppy temperament usually translates well in most regards to adult temperament, that is not always the case. Sometimes puppies do change as they mature, and of course environment can play a role in outward expression of temperament too. There is nothing that is 100% accurate when it comes to looking at a puppy and trying to predict the future.
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Old 02-14-2014, 10:40 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alwaysaworkingdog View Post
Hey Guys

My pup is almost a year old now and he's turned out to be an extremely soft dog, he is very environmentally stable but very nervy socially, despite my best efforts to socialize him. Now I understand that you can never truly know exactly how a young dog will turn out, once it is fully mature, but I do understand that they temperament test pups before they sell them off. I was wondering why his softness and low threshold to discomfort wasn't picked up during the puppy temperament tests that were applied to him.

Another thing that was puzzling was that the breeder sent me a document, detailing how the test should be performed. The document stated that the test should be performed by someone with no prior interaction with the pup (and hence no conflict of interest either), yet the breeder said that he conducted the tests himself, which contradicts the instructions in very document he sent me. When I wrote him back telling him this, I received no reply.

I posted in this forum because I wanted to know whether other breeders performed temperament tests themselves or had an uninterested third party conduct the test and also if something like my dog's soft temperament would have been picked up at all.
The rescue where I volunteer, temperament tested a litter of 7 puppies. The puppies were tested by someone who had not met them before that day and in an area of the kennel they had never been allowed in before. The puppies are only 13 weeks now, so it will be interesting to see if these these traits are still the same at 1 year etc..
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Old 02-14-2014, 08:48 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks for the replies, some contrasting responses below.
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