How do breeders tempmerament test pups? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-24-2008, 01:18 AM Thread Starter
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How do breeders tempmerament test pups?

I have always wondered how breeders temperament test their pups before they go to their new homes? How do that test that young?

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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-24-2008, 07:29 AM
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Re: How do breeders tempmerament test pups?

The tests are age appropriate, but can tell you a lot about the raw animal, the genetics of the puppy, before it has been influenced and changed by environment.

I look for ability to handle stress (puppy put into strange/new environment), independence, sensitivity to sound, hunt drive, grip, fight, prey, desire to pick up and carry strange objects, forgiveness, and pain sensitivity.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-24-2008, 07:50 AM
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Re: How do breeders tempmerament test pups?

<span style="color: #3333FF">google</span>

<span style="color: #3333FF">google of this site</span>

Basically @ 6 weeks, you take each pup, into a space it's never been,
set it down, watch it's reaction, assign a point system, say 1 for investigates the space with confidence, 2 sits and looks around a bit
before doing so, 3 is tentative about doing so, 4 sits quietly, 5 whines
for mom, 6 hides and trembles.

Then you roll a ball, 1 chases and catches, plays with, 2 chases but doen't bite, 3 watches it roll away, 4 piddles...

Then a noisy object is dropped nearby 1 jumps on it, 2 no reaction,
3 is startled, 4 runs away for it's life, 5 piddles and shakes

then a toy dragged across the room, another hung in the air, a stranger callling, a stranger wallking & calling, then 2 strangers across from one another calling, etc.etc.

You get the idea. In this case lowest scores added together are the most outgoing, biddable, higher drive, more stable ones of the group,
while the higher scores represent the lower driven, weaker nerved,
less likley to work hard.

Boys tend to develop slower than girls, so you see that. Another round @ 8 weeks could be somewhat different. A breeder takes these all into account and balances the litter member's needs against the potential owner's desires and tries to match up pairs that will be
successful and happy together, resulting in less failures and fewer re-homing down the road. The lower drive pups go to folks looking for
couch potatoes, the higher drive ones to folks interested in working them.

It ain't rocket science, but it is scientific experimentation and all breeders worth a darn do it to help insure their pups have happy
forever homes and satisfied owners, as failure too often means death
or traumatic re-homing.


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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-24-2008, 08:14 AM
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Re: How do breeders tempmerament test pups?

IMO, formal temperament testing is only a part of the equation. The majority of puppy evaluation, and thus placing them in appropriate homes, comes just from living with them and observing. If you pay attention, and know what to look for, you can get a very good read on each pup's individual temperament just by watching them interact with one another, seeing how they react when exposed to new things, playing with them, etc...

The formal temperament testing people tend to do around 49 days is just a piece of the puzzle. We do this, but we aren't looking for it to answer all the questions about a pup. Usually we've already got a pretty clear set of answers. We use it as a means to possibly expose surprises, but mainly to check to see if the temperament traits we have seen thus far at home, in familiar environments, with us and littermates, hold true when the pup is placed in a strage environment, on it's own (no littermates around), with a strange person it has no relationship with.

Research has shown around 49 days to be the optimum time for formal testing, as that is the point in development where the genetics that affect temperament are most apparent, without having yet been strongly influenced by environment.


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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-24-2008, 09:28 AM
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Re: How do breeders tempmerament test pups?

Here is the test most people use or base their own on:

Volhard Puppy Aptitude Test

But as Chris said it's only one part of the puzzle.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-24-2008, 09:35 AM
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Re: How do breeders tempmerament test pups?

This is a recent copy of an email I sent out to my current litters buyers as they wondered how I select the puppy for them.

We also have an application process we use before accepting the buyer which describes what puppy will suit them best. Of course there are numerous emails and conversations along the way to best match buyer to puppy. Some folks were taken aback initially when I said I would pick the puppy for them but once they understood they were fine and more than confident I would do right by them and by my puppy.

Young Puppy Temperament Assessment
Much more important than puppy temperament testing is the socialization, education and environment that the owner should provide. However, some folks recommend assessing a puppy's sensitivity to various stimuli, using techniques such as those that follow, to get a general idea of a puppy's temperament.
* Clap your hands: does the puppy look at you? Does he approach readily, in a friendly manner? These are good signs of sociability.
* Make eye contact: does the puppy engage in eye contact? This is a good indicator of a confidence pup. In contrast, be concerned about a pup who will not look at you. This could reflect a temperament problem or a vision disability.
* Call to the puppy: a puppy who ignores attempts to get his attention may have a hearing or temperament problem. Disinterest in interacting with people can indicate a disease as well.
* Praise the dog: it's good if the puppy responds to verbal praise with some welcoming behavior, such as wagging his tail.
* Follow me: after playing with the pup for awhile, walk or jog away. If he tries to follow, that's a positive sign. Not following indicates the pup has an independent personality.
* Pet the pup: does he respond in a friendly or accepting manner? Or does he try to dominate you by nipping, growling or jumping at you? Does he reflect independence by trying to escape?
* Play with a toy: roll a safe dog toy, such as a ball, or a crumpled paper ball near the pup. But don't toss the toy at the pup. See if the dog will follow it. Encourage the pup to fetch the toy and to bring it back to you. A dominant-natured pup will fetch the ball, take it away, and resist letting you take it. An independent pup may show no interest in the toy; however, this could also indicate an ill puppy. A submissive pup may be a little fearful of the toy. A highly social pup will bring the toy back to you on his own. Normal behavior would involve the pup getting the toy, chewing on it, but allowing you to take it away. Willingness to retrieve can be an indicator of a dog's interest in training exercises.
* Rollover test: gently take the puppy and roll him onto his back. Gently hold him in place with one hand on his chest for 15 seconds. A dominant or independent pup will tend to resist the whole time. He might yip or try to nip you. A submissive pup does not struggle at all, and may try to lick you in deference. Most puppies will resist for a few seconds and then contentedly accept your handling.
Note: this rollover test is not an alpha roll. Never perform an alpha roll on any dog of any age. It's an old technique told to prove dominion, but eventually found to hamper the human/canine bond in addition to leading to many bite cases.
* Picking up the puppy: lift gently by interlacing your fingers palms up beneath his tummy. Hold him in this elevated position for 30 seconds. Does he struggle actively for release, for a prolonged period, signaling dominance or independence? Or does he quickly acquiesce? How quickly he accepts and relaxes can indicate whether he's relatively submissive or closer to a typical pup. A submissive pup will attempt to lick in deference to your control.
* Touch a paw, then press between the pads gently. The responses you get and how quickly you get them can reflect a pup's tendency towards submission, dominance, independence, or a more normal temperament.
* Noise test: make a sudden noise. See if the pup responds with curious interest, fear, barking, aggression, or ignores it.

* For a detailed puppy evaluation program see the Volhard Puppy Aptitude Test link below. This approach assesses social attraction and social dominance, retrieving, following, restraint, elevation (being lifted), touch sensitivity, sound sensitivity and stability, and ranks pups in degrees as socially attracted, adaptive, submissive, dominant and independent.
Notes about puppy handling and evaluation:
* Make sure nothing fearful or negative happens during any puppy evaluation or handling sessions.
* Responsiveness indicates that the puppy is probably pretty adaptive and has great ability to bond. A pup who seems very nervous or fearful may not be a good choice for a home with children or with a lot of activity. However, he may respond very well to gentle and consistent training suited to his personality. A dog who tends to be aloof even when faced with stimuli may be of an independent temperament, and might be stubborn when it comes time for training, but that's not always the case. Again, keep in mind that these are generalizations, and puppy adopter will be in the key position to shape the pup's behavior.
* Many behavior experts do not place great emphasis on testing of young puppies; however, some agree that highly aggressive pups often turn out to be dominant and aggressive adults. If you're checking out dogs in a litter, you may want to engage the help of a canine behaviorist.
* It is important to handle puppies frequently and every day. Always handle them gently and speak in a calm, happy manner. Your goals are to teach them to accept being handled, that no harm will come from handling, that it's OK to be examined (this paves the way for acceptance of everything from grooming to vet visits), and to trust you as a benevolent leader. Puppy kindergarten classes are also highly recommended to help provide essential socialization opportunities.

Some of you have wondered how we match puppies to buyers. One of the tests we use is this:
http://www.workingdogs.com/testing_volhard.htm
Follow this link above .

We know that pups have different days, different times of day, hungry, tired, etc. and don't rely soley on one test one day. We spend countless hours playing, observing, and socializing and have a really good idea of how that puppy will be.

We use our application to help us determine what you are looking for and what type of puppy is going to fit best in your home. Each one of the 10 people who are buying have unique situations and we welcome you to share any further information with us to help determine the best puppy for you.
Typically it comes down to 1-2 pups that would fit and we help you make the final decision. We want the best for our puppies and we know you want the best for your home as well.
If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to call or email.

The initial questions/tests should help you ( the OP) best select when you visit.


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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-26-2008, 11:14 AM
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Re: How do breeders tempmerament test pups?

Re-reading this thread, I did not mean to sound so callous with my use of the word piddle...but merely indicate the extreme end of the spectrum.

Of course it's only part of the puzzle. I wouldn't consider purchasing a kennel pup that wasn't observed and nurtured with a watchful and caring eye inside a home environment. There are too many unanswered questions and possibilities with any pup, so doing all and everything possible to insure success only makes sense. Desensitizing thru both <span style="color: #3333FF">Early Nueral Stimulation</span> and subsequent weeks of nurturing would also be a pre-requisite and merely a prudent requirement.

The onset of fear periods seldom occur before 49 days, so it makes good sense to me to test once before 7 weeks, and again before they go home. And of course there should be nothing traumatic in any of it, no matter when performed, but especially if during a fear period, as it can too easily cause a lasting impression hard to overcome later.


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