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Help for YOU in Choosing the RIGHT PUPPY, try this adaptation of Volhard's Puppy Test
So many people are unhappy, getting the wrong "sort of attitude" puppy. There is a 7 week test that can be done, my little new Bitch for Breeding passed 3-3-3 score... Look, while not completely foolproof, this may be a HUGE asset for you in getting the RIGHT PUPPY for your purposes. It could save months of grief and heartache....

The Trainer that did this, is pretty well respected. My female scored middle of the road 3's, might be a bit athletic, biggest of the litter, will take some extra training and exercise.. Look, with a little study you might be able to assess some of this with a version of the test on your own.. First response to each test is IT....

Volhard’s Puppy Aptitude Testing, or PAT is here edited, taken from a link to their website, thought it might be an asset to some of you, as I agree with the results on my new puppy... It is more than just "Puppy Love" ... I have taken Pick of the litter of two bloodlines I like, to start breeding. Having the right temperment for a larger sized Working Dog is important...


CHOOSING THE RIGHT PUPPY FOR THE RIGHT HOME!


Getting a dog or puppy on impulse is rarely a good idea. Remember that dogs, like cars, were designed for a particular function.

When the various breeds were originally developed, there was a greater emphasis on the ability to do a job, such as herding, guarding, hunting, drafting, etc., than appearance. If a particular breed interests you, find out first what the dog was bred to do. There are so many different breeds to choose from and if there is a secret to getting that “perfect puppy”, it lies in doing your homework.

DECIDING WHAT KIND OF DOG TO GET

The well-trained dog begins with some idea of what role the dog is expected to play in your life and then selecting a dog that is suitable for the job. Following are some of the reasons for selecting a dog:

• Companionship;
• Playmate for the kids;
• Protection;
• A special activity, such as hunting, herding, breeding, showing in conformation, or competing in performance events;
• Status symbol (not wise); or
• A combination of the above.

Some dogs are able to fill all of these expectations, while others have more limited talents.

WHAT IS PUPPY TESTING?

Some of the tests we use were developed as long ago as the l930’s for dogs bred to become Guide Dogs. Then in the 1950’s, studies on puppies were done to determine how quickly they learned. These studies were actually done to identify children’s learning stages.

Top Dog Tips: The ideal age to test the puppy is at 49 days of age when the puppy is neurologically complete and it has the brain of an adult dog. With each passing day after the 49th day the responses will be tainted by prior learning.

Later on in the early 60’s more tests were developed to determine if pups could be tested for dominance and submission. These tests determined that it was indeed possible to predict future behavioral traits of adult dogs by testing puppies at 49 days of age. Testing before or after that age, effected the accuracy of the test, depending on the time before or after the 49th day.

We took these tests, added some of our own, and put together what is now known as the Volhard Puppy Aptitude Test, or PAT. PAT uses a scoring system from 1-6 and consists of ten tests. The tests are done consecutively and in the order listed. Each test is scored separately, and interpreted on its own merits. The scores are not averaged, and there are no winners or losers. The entire purpose is to select the right puppy for the right home.

The tests are as follows:

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.

During the testing make a note of the heart rate of the pup, which is an indication of how it deals with stress, as well as its energy level. Puppies come with high, medium or low energy levels. You have to decide for yourself, which suits your life style. Dogs with high energy levels need a great deal of exercise, and will get into mischief if this energy is not channeled into the right direction.

Finally, look at the overall structure of the puppy. You see what you get at 49 days age. If the pup has strong and straight front and back legs, with all four feet pointing in the same direction, it will grow up that way, provided you give it the proper diet and environment in which to grow. If you notice something out of the ordinary at this age, it will stay with puppy for the rest of its life. He will not grow out of it.

** Post edited down to the 1000 word limit by ADMIN**
 

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per German Shepherd Dog Forums - Announcements in Forum : Welcome to the GSD/FAQ's for the first time owner

13. Due to the size of the forum all posts should be less than 1,000 words. If you feel the information warrants exceeding the 1,000 word limit you need to get approval from one of the Administrators before posting. Should a post far exceed this limit please just provide a link on the board to a private web page where the article can be found.
This post above is over at 2,913 words, better to just post links and small amounts of what may be in them.

This is going to get edited/deleted by one of the moderators with power in this topic (not me ).
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
No worries, Thank You Moderators, Understand....:hug: Owners: Search it on the Internet, and it comes with descriptions of the tests, how to do it, and how to score each reaction...

Now, GSD Owners to be, DO YOUR HOMEWORK... I have had this PAT Puppy Aptitude Test done on my pup coming AND IT IS VERY IMPORTANT... Get the right puppy, not hyperactive or too aggressive unless that is what you want... Look, this test is really not totally conclusive. I would give it a 70% accuracy rating. I have spent time with my Pup on visits, and my Breeder is taking another little female for her Breeding Program, hers got a 2's and 3' score on the critical three areas, mine was 3-3-3...

Now if you repeated the test (simple, does not take much time) on your choice pup, and got a similar score another day, you could say it would be maybe 80% accurate on how your pup was predispositioned. That does not mean you could not train it out or in away from the genetic predispostion, but it will mean a lot of potential extra work and time...

For instance, you would not want a hyperactive or aggressive dog for your family, and conversly you would not want a laid back, indifferent, independent or lazy dog for a Personal Protection Dog or a Watchdog, it would mean too much training or not at all and failing the PPD testing later on... Or getting a puppy that was too hyperactive (some call it drive) or was too aggressive to be around a family or children and friends... This Forum is full of people appealing for help, potentially having the wrong sort of dog for their needs.. Don't leave it to chance, honestly I think this testing improves your odds... Search it to their Website, learn how to do the test yourself, and put it into practice..

I hope this is a help for you future GSD Owners, don't make the mistake, this is one of the only or best ways of determining genetic response and compatibility for your needs... Maybe 70% accurate on the first go... Even 60% is better than "Awww look at the cute one" guesstimation...

Look, who am I to give such advice? Only 10 years with 4 GSD's? What do I know? Well, not a brag, but I am over the normal intelligence, way over the normal success rating, extrememely well off successful with Staff and Time, and cope with horses, travel, 50 Employees, and so on. I am probably more than just an opinion from the average bear OK? I have the time and money to appraise things, do all the R&D for my very successful Company, and this is not a brag, I am just qualifying myself to tell you... I would take this test seriously, it beats the pants off a pick on looks and the luck of the day... The test at least gives you a better than 50-50 chance or luck of the draw, probably done twice will give you the 80% of giving a correct assessment of the aptititude and attitude of the pup...

Kind regards, lone Ranger in Oz, doing "Dances with Wolves" with 4 GSDs:wub: and horses out on the "Last Frontier"
 

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Well.... a lot of folks do NOT follow the Volhard one time test but rely on day to day observations by a good breeder. Mine kept a chart of things they were doing and observations on each puppy. And boy, did she do a LOT!

Me-25 years, working with GSDs and on #6, 2 of them nationally certified cadaver dogs and a 3rd who would have become a certified air scent dog but was diagnosed with severe HD at a young age and retired on the spot (she did, however, find a drowning victim before her retirement-that was a few years back before everyone was doing national certs) My biggest wreck of them all was the one I picked out using Volhard. Breeder selection works better for me. FWIW, he did just fine on the umbrella test and all that nonsense....but had nerves of butter.

One thing as well, few breeders are going to hand you a litter of puppies and let you take them out of their sight to "test" them all in some strange place and that is what the test really calls for.

There is another test for working puppies called P.A.W.S that may give additional insight.
http://www.searchdogsne.org/reference/The%20PAWS%20Evaluation.pdf

Sure, all of these tests give some insight but one puppy one day is not nearly as good as detailed observation over time by a breeder who knows what the heck to look for. JMO.

One thing I really don't see in these tests is a subjective test of real engagement. Eye contact. There is a connection there and you know when it is there if you can see it. Maybe someone else can make better sense of what I am saying. But I have seen puppies avoid my gaze, others look right through me, and others gaze back and connect. I have had more than a few tell me that is a good sign to look for.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well.... a lot of folks do NOT follow the Volhard one time test but rely on day to day observations by a good breeder. Mine kept a chart of things they were doing and observations on each puppy. And boy, did she do a LOT!

Sure, all of these tests give some insight but one puppy one day is not nearly as good as detailed observation over time by a breeder who knows what the heck to look for. JMO.
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Look, I basically agree, but it is hard to find that dedicated of Breeder, maybe as hard as choosing the right puppy... :wild: It is hard enough to find the Genotype and Phenotype of the dog you want, let alone that good of Service from a Breeder...:wild:

My first and best Breeder for Caesar did the same, detailed reports and pictures, for the entire period... I was overseas so She even kept and potty trained and Delivery was at 10 weeks on Caesar. It is very hard to find such a great Breeder to record daily development, and send reports and pictures weekly...

I was giving people another choice and this test has a ring of truth on what we have observed on both puppies we are getting.. ;) It seems to work and I was impressed as it matched my Breeders and my own observations... Reinforced our decisions... I am hoping to give people another tool to help make such an important life changing decision, thats all...

Kind regards...
 

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It would be tough if you could not get that. .......I still think even without detailed record keeping a good breeder will have some valuable insights.

I did feel the test gives some insight but it is one test one day one time and is limited in that regard.

You may want to check out the PAWS test as well, our SAR team does use it when folks bring in puppies but we dont formally assess them until they are about a year old using a tool developed by FEMA for young adults.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
My advice still stands:

Do it twice, different days, and IMO maybe 80% accuracy if the responses are reasonably the same on different days...

Further: No I am not talking about doing it to ALL the puppies as you suggest, just verification on the one you would have picked running blind... It increases the odds of a Newbie, getting the RIGHT pup for the job they want to fill.. Or at least give them a pause to reflect... This is a single opportunity, at 49 days, 7 weeks, to get the job done.

It is better than depending on a guesstimate and good luck.
 

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I had a buyer come to pick up "his/her" puppy and they started "administering" this test.....I asked what they were doing, and they said "puppy testing".......seriously???
There is nothing about a litter of puppies that I cannot tell you....they are MY puppies.....from MY dogs.
The WORSE thing is when someone "thinks" they have gathered a little bit of knowledge...and runs with it.....
Little pieces of read theories, read threads and given advice...is far worse than someone who knows nothing.....it can and many times causes more problems than it can possibly solve.
I will never allow anyone to "dominate" my puppies.....NO rollovers, NO hold downs, NO closing of mouths/muzzles.....and ABSOLUTELY NO CORRECTIONS......go find another breeder, if you feel you must do these things.....you would not hurt my feelings.

Pack order "changes" every time a puppy leaves, just like pack order can change on any given day...
Puppies develop their own personalities, traits and drives from birth till maturity.
A good breeder *knows* their dogs, bloodlines and capabilities.....better than any outsider with a "test" they read about....
JMO....nothing more...spoken from personal experience.
 

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It is better than depending on a guesstimate and good luck.
Or, they can just consult with the breeder (and owners of the dogs, if not the breeder) and discuss what they are looking for in their pup.

I'm helping to raise a pup for a friend right now and a potential buyer wanted to know how he reacted to a specific situation, so I said sure I was willing to test that and post a video. I won't however let random people come to my house and "test" dogs for this or that without any sort of explanation or prior relationship.

I think with picking breeders and puppies people just need to use common sense. There is no checklist that meets everyone's needs or expectations and no black/white way to do it. In the past I have purchased dogs sight unseen but my next dog I am picking myself and already have this agreement in writing. Why? Because I own and have raised from 7 weeks the dog that was bred so in this case I do feel qualified to choose my puppy (and will of course ask for the input from the breeder who is whelping the litter and caring for them). However the last time I got a dog, I chatted with the breeder on several occasions, giving examples of what I wanted and didn't want and the breeder was able to say "This is your puppy" when I first showed up to get him. You have to take more into consideration than just the pups in front of you and some arbitrary tests. There is the pedigree, the experience and knowledge of the breeder, and your relationship with the breeder and/or the dogs being bred, if applicable.
 

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Lies...you are correct.
BOTH the buyer and breeder need to converse.
There is no black & white way to "picking a puppy".....all things must be considered.
Your breeder is your foundation....the "ground" that helps access the proper puppy for the buyer.
I have no problem with a "seasoned" buyer or breeder...assist with final choice of a puppy.

I simply have a problem with the "newperts" that think they can inform me, through "parroted" knowledge or readings....about my own puppies and dogs.
*THAT gets me going!* LOL
 

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Totally agree, Robin. Yours a great response. If someone doesn't like it, they can go somewhere else :)
 

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I had a buyer come to pick up "his/her" puppy and they started "administering" this test.....I asked what they were doing, and they said "puppy testing".......seriously???
There is nothing about a litter of puppies that I cannot tell you....they are MY puppies.....from MY dogs.
The WORSE thing is when someone "thinks" they have gathered a little bit of knowledge...and runs with it.....
Little pieces of read theories, read threads and given advice...is far worse than someone who knows nothing.....it can and many times causes more problems than it can possibly solve.
I will never allow anyone to "dominate" my puppies.....NO rollovers, NO hold downs, NO closing of mouths/muzzles.....and ABSOLUTELY NO CORRECTIONS......go find another breeder, if you feel you must do these things.....you would not hurt my feelings.

Pack order "changes" every time a puppy leaves, just like pack order can change on any given day...
Puppies develop their own personalities, traits and drives from birth till maturity.
A good breeder *knows* their dogs, bloodlines and capabilities.....better than any outsider with a "test" they read about....
JMO....nothing more...spoken from personal experience.
:thumbup:

If the buyer has done their homework to begin with then they would have found a good breeder that knows their dogs. You can't in an hour with a litter of puppies and determine which is the best for you. The breeder I got my new puppy from sent me videos of all the puppies on almost a daily basis. Based on the what I saw in the videos I had my choice but did not voice it. I know the breeder, trust the breeder and have seen(and own one) a dozen or so of her dogs that I was impressed with. So when she had called me and said I was getting x puppy, I was shocked. He was one in all the videos that I was not overly impressed with. Rather than state what I thought I told her if he's the one she thinks fits ME best then that's the pup for me. She sent him and I could not be happier. It was the day to day that I didn't see that made her like this puppy over the others for me.

I hope this made sense.
 

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Just an example of "incorrect perception".....

*Puppy buyer just picked up a puppy from airport 8 1/2wks old. Buyer posts, "Puppy was nervous and anxious"......I read this and FREAK OUT!
Nervous and anxious?...this puppy?...no way.
So I ask..."What is she doing for you to believe she is exhibiting either of those behaviors?"

Buyer's response....."She was making noise when he picked her up from airport (in crate)...came out quickly and was licking his face. Then, when they got home...she followed him around, then started searching into the other rooms, all around the house."
She just didn't lay down and stay calm...she started to investigate the other rooms....so she seemed nervous and anxious.......
OMG...I replied.....she is showing her confidence and inquisitive character.....the following around is perfect! She is a baby, new to her surroundings, coming from a flight, separated from her siblings & all things known. She is showing her confidence by investigating all the rooms in your home without fear......THIS is NOT being nervous and having anxiety.
After she went outside and pottied, she played with the two small kids and fell asleep near the feet of the adult.

I almost fainted when I read the post......OMG.
 

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Yeah the problem with these tests is that your average puppy buyer has maybe bought 5-10 puppies in their lifetime. If they're younger (like myself) they've really only dealt with one or maybe two puppies in their life. How is someone like me, supposed to figure out what the dog's response is to a test that is put in front of it? How do I compare that dog's response to another dog...and figure out where to rank the reaction. At the same time as I'm doing that, I'm supposed to figure out what the dog's heart beat is doing and monitor that?

On top of that...we're all biased, and all want things out of our puppy that are predetermined before we get there. This bias makes us tend to think a reaction is more to what we have read on the page and would like to see out of the puppy...rather than what the reaction actually is. So...if I want the dog to get a 4, its reaction might be a 2, but if I really like that puppy for some reason (coat being a huge factor in most people's decision) I might sway that closer to a 3 or maybe even a 4.

This current litter...has 3 male pups...a black, dark sable, and sable. I love the dark sable one (but we want a female so we're not getting him). When I spoke with the breeder, the dark sable is the most calm, the most reserved, and probably not the type of dog that would fit ME best. But I love his color, and I could easily convince myself (if the breeder gave me the choice) that that's the one I want and that he'd be fine for what I need him for (AKC obedience/agility/rally). Well the black is the most "alpha" and the regular sable is the most energetic. The regular sable would probably fit me and my venue best...but I'd still want the dark sable. And although he'd probably be just fine, and excel in that venue due to his lines...out of the 3 boys, he wouldn't be the most spectacular at it.

And another note on the structure...I know what a fully grown GSD is supposed to look like. I can tell you some structural faults in most dogs (if they are apparent). I can not for the life of me tell the structure of a puppy that is 6-8 weeks old. My breeder, and most of the ones on this forum, can easily tell what they expect that puppy to look like as a fully grown dog.
 

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Or, people could find a good breeder and have him or her match them with the right puppy.

Yes, you have experience, but many of us do not.

I, for one, would've had no idea where to even begin testing a puppy, even if I would have read instructions on the Internet.
 

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Robin, you said it perfectly!

I visited Djibouti's litter 2 or 3 times before picking him up but it was my conversations with his breeder that had me convinced we were well matched. My environment can be challenging (urban high crime neighborhhod, lotsa noise, commotion & kids), my home presents additional challenges (other pets including dogs, cats & a Macaw) & then there's me...cranky, demanding, bad tempered.

I tried to be very clear with her on my needs & concerns. She had a stunning coatie I was drooling over but she told me he was poorly suited to my environment as he was very sweet but a mite timid. Her assessment indicated she was truly hearing what I'd been trying to convey.

Of course it behooves buyers to be clear with breeders on what they're seeking & what they can't abide. I put my preferred physical characteristics last on my list & let her know that those preferences were mild. (For example, I love sable coaties. Djibouti is a BT stock coat. I still prefer sable coaties & I'm still very, very, very glad I have Djibouti.)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
O.P. here,

Look, I basically agree with all of you that say that the Breeder should know his puppies. My Black GSD WD had such a Breeder. I got pictures and reports every week to twice a week...

However, I am looking for a specific Genotype and Phenotype, and when I found (My Black GSDs Breeder found) the second Breeder did not do much of a good job in that respect. Now you in America have vastly more resources, here in Oz this was the only, without travelling thousands of miles and flying with a puppy...

The Volhard test was done by a retired K-9 Police Trainer, and the results were reassuring. All of you that have spoken up a Breeder, that sound offended, just understand if I was near you, I would have let you tell me about the development and personality traits of each puppy. Here, we do not have the choices, and Volhard I thought was a great asset.... It certainly worked well for us, and confirmed our choices and what we saw on our visits..

It is not a boogey-man test, it is simple and non-invasive, and when it worked so well for us, I thought some of you Newbies might benefit from it if you have your doubts...

Kind regards, only trying to help, You Good Breeders do not need to be defensive, if I had you on the case I would have done it your way..

lone Ranger
 

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i was at a breeder's place who rarely sells dogs to the public watching a litter of pups play, the breeder only ever sells green and trained dogs. the buyer arrived with a folder and a pen to do tests and select the puppy going word for word off the leerburg puppy tests which the breeder was unaware of the details. the buyer explained a little and then wanted to see the pups one by one which the breeder consented to (no big deal), the guy bought his own frying pan and dropped it on the hard floor and watched the recovery - all good - recorded results for each pup etc then he strted to hold a pup on its back while it started to strugle the breeder jumped straight in and stopped it in about a millisecond, the guy explained this is international best practice as taught by a world expert....the breeder terminated the tests and i know the next test was going to be pinching a toe untill the puppy squealed, i intervened for the well being of the puppy buyer who was about to get his butt kicked - the puppy buyer then spread word that the breeder is to scared to allow best practice testing on his pups and is therefore a byb, the breeder now forbids any member of the public to enter his property, view, test or purchase a pup.

hasn't hurt his business one iota, in fact he just exported two started detection dogs for the best price he has ever got, i think around $15 000 a piece straight into service.
 

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Great replies:)

Just wanted to add, it is NOT hard to find a good breeder and a good dog/puppy

When one finds a good breeder, everything else should fall into place.

BE EDUCATED as a buyer! Simple as that!
 
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