Selecting a Puppy with Personality Tests
Independently of the fact that each dog breed presents certain predispositions regarding personality traits, the adult dog's personality is first of all conditioned by the environment it will be raised in and by the training it will receive.
However, certain personality tests may already reveal the temperament of the puppy before you buy or adopt it.
These tests are not fool-proof and do not offer any guarantee as to the future development of the dog. However, they may act as a supplementary asset to guide you in your choice of a puppy.
Let us first of all define 5 dog temperament types :
A. The dominant, rebellious one, not recommended as a pet, but excellent as a guard dog or a watch dog if properly trained. Absolutely requires an experienced handler as this type of dog will always attempt to challenge human leadership.
B. The independent, self-assured one, which requires a firm education and is not recommended if one has children. Excellent as a working dog or even as a pet in an adult family.
C. The docile one, obedient and stable.
D. Same as C. but with an increased need for affection and perfectly suitable for the young ones.
E. The timorous, anxious one, unpredictable, may ill-behave with small children.
Now let's have a look at the tests and their results according to each type. A majoritiy of A's indicates a A-type of dog, a majority of B's a B-type, and so forth. The tests are suitable for puppies aged 6 to 8 weeks.
Put the puppy on the floor and move away, then attract it by clapping your hands.
A. Moves in your direction, jumps and chews at your hands.
B. Comes immediately, its tail high.
C. Comes and wags its tail.
D. Comes with a low tail.
E. Doesn't move at all in your direction.
Propensity to Follow
Move around the puppy first, then move out of its visual field, without calling it.
A. Follows you, chewing at
B. Follows you, its tail high.
C. Follows you, its tail low.
D. Follows you, hesitating,
its tail low.
E. Doesn't follow you.
The Elevation Test
Lift the puppy from the floor, with both hands around its breast.
A. Turns around vigorously, growls, bites.
B. Turns around vigorously.
C. Turns around, calms down and licks your hands.
D. Doesn't turn around, licks your hands.
E. Behaves incoherently, resists or shivers, then calms down, then growls or bites, then licks your hands.
As with any other personality test the target is not to achieve a 5 out of 5 result. A majority already points towards a certain tendency.
Beware that these results are relative. The 'ideal' puppy (C or D) may turn out a disaster if not properly raised. However, it is important to know that a type A, B or E will more easily deceive you if you're not prepared to invest a lot of time, energy and consistency in its education.
Be also aware of the possible mismatch of personality with your own temper. If you are a dominant, consistent type of personality a type A or B dog may be more easily to raise then a D type, which may become even more submissive under your dominance. A E type may indicate a lack of imprinting, at an important stage of the puppy's development (0 to 6 weeks), which is often irreversible (see the separate article on the puppy's development and imprinting).
The Acceptance of Constraint
Maintain the dog on its back by putting your hand on its breast.
A. Struggles and resists while chewing and growling.
B. Struggles and resists without chewing nor growling.
C. Resists at first, then calms down and licks your hands.
D. Doesn't resist at all and licks your hands.
E. Behaves incoherently: first resists, then calms down, then starts growling and struggling again.
Where do you begin ?
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The Acceptance of Dominance
Start stroking the puppy, first its head, then its neck and its back.
A. Jumps up, scratches, growls and bites.
B. Jumps up, scratches.
C. Turns around, licks your hands.
D. Turns on its back, licks your hands.
E. Moves away.
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