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Old 10-27-2012, 12:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Temperament Test - 3's?

Hi All. This is my first post. I've been browsing the forum for awhile and have learned a wealth of information from you all....Thank You. So happy to have stumbled across this little online nugget!

Our family will be bringing our little fur baby home on December 1st. I don't think there is anyone in the State of Michigan wishing for snow season to arrive sooner than we are!

Pups were born two weeks ago - 6 males, 2 females. The breeder will be performing the temperament testing at 49 days. And from the selection of males she believes will suit our family, we will have first choice of a male from her selection.

Along with other characteristics we value in the GSD breed, we initially suggested to the breeder that we'd like a dog who will enjoy our on-the-go-lifestyle (we are boaters on the Great Lakes, so travel every weekend during the summer months....sometimes gone for 2-3 weeks at a time).

Having now read a dozen books and reading informative posts on this lovely forum, we thought a pup with mostly scoring "3's" from the Valhard test would suit our family. I emailed her yesterday and she responded suggesting a dog scoring all 3's may be more than what our family is ready for and that she would recommend a dog scoring more 3's than 4's. Ultimately, I trust her experience and judgment, but I wanted to put a few feelers out here on the www. My concern with 4's is that they lack self confidence and, from what I understand, are more independent/aloof. Please correct me if I'm misunderstanding!! I should also note this is our first pure GSD - we do have a 15 year old rescue shepherd mix.

We'd like a companion (we do have a 7 year old son who is very much looking forward to having a playmate), but also want a dog who will be obedient, willing and anxious to train/learn/exercise, one who will protect our home and family but not necessarily have that crazy-go-get-the-intruder-gene, a pleaser, not independent (as I understand independence is associated with lack of snuggles/being lovey with owners??), driven to learn new things/tricks....I think the said companionship we're desiring blossoms from those traits and training?

We've already pre-paid for personal one-on-one training with a reputable GSD geared facility. First session is scheduled 2 days after little man comes home. We are most definitely dedicated to training and exercise.

Based on the above, and your personal experiences, what are your initial thoughts of temperament?

Thanks so much...and sorry for the novel!

Andrea
Bringing our GSD home 12/1/2012 - Royale Shepherds Kennel - Michigan

Last edited by MIShep; 10-27-2012 at 12:30 PM.
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Old 10-27-2012, 12:48 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I don't have any experience with temperament testing, (I assume we're talking about the Volhard test?) if any of my pups were tested before I got them I was not aware of it, but just looking at the description of each number, I wouldn't be too concerned. Here's a link to the test:

Volhard Temperament Testing Puppy And Puppy Dogs

Quote:
Mostly 3's
This pup is outgoing and friendly and will adjust well in situations in which he receives regular training and exercise. High in Pack Drive, 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 and high Pack Drive 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 wonderful family pet. He is usually less outgoing than a pup scoring in the 3's, but his demeanor is gentle and affectionate.
No puppy is going to test ALL 3's, so it sounds like you and your breeder are basically saying the same thing - there's not a lot of difference between "mostly 3's" (you) and "more 3's than 4's" (your breeder). A dog that is mostly 3's could have some 2's in there too, which might be going in the wrong direction for a family companion, even an active family, that has a young child. A mix of 3's and 4's sounds like it would fit your criteria nicely.

Also, more independent does not necessarily mean aloof. Halo is VERY confident and definitely more independent than Keefer (who is practically smeared all over me most of the time, lol!), but she's also sweet, cuddly, and affectionate. He loves everyone, she is more discriminating than he is, but she likes people too, and will often climb into their lap if they crouch down to meet her, and then kiss them all over the face. With us, they are both quite affectionate, she just doesn't need to be on us every single second, like Keef, who will get up and follow me every time I leave a room.
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Old 10-27-2012, 05:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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There is an example of how the temperment test is used to place puppies with their new owners in How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend by the Monks of New Skete. It also explains why some 4s are desirable with majority 3s in a puppy that will go to a family with a young child. There is also a detailed description of the test in their book The Art of Raising a Puppy.
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Old 10-27-2012, 06:03 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Is this test accurate? Is it accepted as a true test of a pup's temperament??
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Old 10-27-2012, 06:48 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Interesting from what I read 3 and 4 puppies are good for family life.

I wonder what breeder do with the puppies score a 1 and how fast they find homes for them... I don't want to hijack the thread. So I'll ask in another thread later when I have time.
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Old 10-27-2012, 07:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I think this is also very subjective based on what the breeder tends to breed and what the current litter is. So someone's experience with dogs might lead them to think that a certain pup is independent while someone else's might lead them to think it really isn't compared to some of the things they've seen in their life.

To be on the safe side...I'd stick with 4's if that's what you think would fit your family. A dog with 3's has the chance of being more than just 3's and turn into 2's or 1's. But a dog of mostly 4's might turn into that dog with mostly 3's and some 2's.
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Old 10-27-2012, 07:05 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubbles View Post

I wonder what breeder do with the puppies score a 1 and how fast they find homes for them... I don't want to hijack the thread. So I'll ask in another thread later when I have time.
Fast. They screen the buyers. They warn.
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Old 10-31-2012, 12:23 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Can anyone else chime in here, please? I'm curious if this test is accurate or not. Is it something that is commonly used? Thank you!
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Old 10-31-2012, 01:20 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Puppy temperament tests can be a valuable tool for breeders to evaluate pups and place them in appropriate homes, but they should only be one small part of an overall much larger evaluation. Their primary purpose is to see if the behaviors and personality traits that a puppy exhibits during several weeks of observation by the breeder hold true in a strange environment with a strange person and when the pup is subjected to stress. They should be used to gather info to provide further insight into the temperament of individual pups, but should not be approached in an overly technical manner attempting to pigeon hole pups into predefined categories and reduce them to a number.

As far as puppy tests go, I personally believe that the Volhard test is a horrible one. It completely ignores and fails to evaluate some important aspects of GSD temperament, involves some unnecessary trauma to the pup that accomplishes nothing, invites gross misinterpretation of many possible puppy responses or leaves out other possible responses, and definitely strives for the pigeon hole situation which I feel is completely wrong for a test to do.
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Old 10-31-2012, 01:23 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Wild View Post
Puppy temperament tests can be a valuable tool for breeders to evaluate pups and place them in appropriate homes, but they should only be one small part of an overall much larger evaluation. Their primary purpose is to see if the behaviors and personality traits that a puppy exhibits during several weeks of observation by the breeder hold true in a strange environment with a strange person and when the pup is subjected to stress. They should be used to gather info to provide further insight into the temperament of individual pups, but should not be approached in an overly technical manner attempting to pigeon hole pups into predefined categories and reduce them to a number.

As far as puppy tests go, I personally believe that the Volhard test is a horrible one. It completely ignores and fails to evaluate some important aspects of GSD temperament, involves some unnecessary trauma to the pup that accomplishes nothing, invites gross misinterpretation of many possible puppy responses or leaves out other possible responses, and definitely strives for the pigeon hole situation which I feel is completely wrong for a test to do.
Thank you, Chris! What method of 'testing' do you use? When I went through this 3's test, Grim scored mainly 1's with some 2's. It seems fairly accurate description wise of him, but I wondered if this really was a true picture and if breeders actually use it.
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