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Canine University 71 Clinton St. Malden, MA


Canine Behavior

The Puppy Temperament Test

So many of my clients have such active, energetic pups that they start to question whether or not their decision to get a dog was really such a good idea after all. Pups that jump, nip and bite to excess, as well as bark, howl and never seem to tire are not dogs that fit in well with families with young children, especially those under 7 years old. The headaches and stress of owning this kind of puppy can be avoided if you do your homework and seek help before choosing a puppy from a litter.

Temperament in dogs can be determined at 49 days old. At this age a pups brain waves are the same as an adult dog minus experience. Many reputable breeders know about puppy temperament testing and test their litters to determine appropriate homes for their puppies. Not all pups will test the same, and the differences can mean the easiest puppy in the world or the nightmare home wrecker. This test was developed in 1979 and has been used by countless breeders, trainers and lay people to aid them in determining which puppies have the most suitable personalities for show, field work, service dogs, guide dogs and family pets. The test consists of a series of exercises that give information as to a pups tendencies. For instance, throwing a rolled up ball of paper for the pup to retrieve, and seeing how he responds. The desire and willingness to retrieve is a good indication as to how easy it will be to train the dog. Another exercise, pinning a pup gently on its back, to determine how much or how little he struggles, will tell us how easy it will be to become the pup's leader.

In addition to these exercises, the tester will watch the puppy with its littermates to determine energy level. Active, high energy dogs will need a lot of exercise and training. A family with young children would want a less active dog. The tester can also observe dominance among the puppy and its littermates. If a puppy is pushy with his littermates he'll be a more dominant adult dog with other dogs. This isn't usually a problem if he is properly socialized and trained, but the information early on is helpful to prevent problems.

So, if you've had a bad experience with a puppy- he was too bitey, too active, growled at you, chased your children, was pushy with other dogs and was generally not a joy to own- then hiring someone to temperament test the litter to find the dog for you is the way to go. If you find a breeder who is experienced with puppy temperament testing, they can also tell you how the puppies range in personality. You may need to see several different litters to get the puppy that is right for your family. The information that you supply the breeder with is the most critical for him/her to determine which pup fits which situation. Make sure you're honest about how much experience you've had with dogs. Tell the whole story, "I have young children, my husband is out of town a lot, etc. " If you say , "Yes I've owned dogs before" and start sputtering on about your experience, your breeder will give you a more active, energetic, more challenging pup. You can then look forward to spending your days yelling NO biting, and tending to crying children who can't keep their toys, hands or toes away from obnoxious puppy teeth.

Puppies are NOT all the same, there are easy ones and there are challenging ones , make your life simple find out before you take him home !!!!