Matching the right dog to the right person is very important Based on Puppy Aptitude Testing by Wendy Volhard
In addition to the health of a dog, it is valuable to know how they are going to behave. Just like a race car is not a good fit for a minivan driver and a minivan is not a good fit for a race car driver, not every dog, as cute as it might be, is going to be a good fit for every potential owner. These simple tests are amazingly accurate at predicting the dog's behavioral tendencies. You can decide, based on the results, if the dog's behavior is going to be a good fit for you.
How it Works
Research determined the ideal age to test is 49 days. The further the test date is from this ideal, the less accurate the results will be. The test uses a scoring system from 1-6 and consists of ten individual tests. The individual 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 match the right puppy with the right home.
The Individual Tests
Social Attraction - degree of social attraction to people, confidence or dependence.
Following - willingness to follow a person.
Restraint - degree of dominant or submissive tendency, and ease of handling in difficult situations.
Social Dominance - degree of acceptance of social dominance by a person.
Elevation - degree of accepting dominance while in a position of no control, such as at the veterinarian or groomer.
Retrieving - degree of willingness to do something for you. Together with Social Attraction and Following a key indicator for ease or difficulty in training.
Touch Sensitivity - degree of sensitivity to touch and a key indicator to the type of training equipment required.
Sound Sensitivity - degree of sensitivity to sound, such as loud noises or thunderstorms.
Sight Sensitivity - degree of response to a moving object, such as chasing bicycles, children or squirrels.
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 of 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.
Evaluating Adult and Rescue Dogs
While you can’t use the entire puppy test, there are some tests that will give you a good indication of what to look for.
Restraint - try putting the dog into a laying down on their belly position by enticing them with some food, and then gently rolling him over and see what happens. If the dog jumps up and runs away or tries to bite you, this is not the dog for you. Rather look for a dog that turns over readily, but squirms around a bit. Apply just enough pressure to keep the dog on its back; ease up if it struggles too much. Intermittent squirming is OK, constant squirming is not OK.
Social Dominance - directly after the Restraint Test, if the dog didn’t struggle too much and if you think it’s safe, try sitting the dog and just stroking him, getting your face relatively close to him talking to him softly, to see if he licks you and forgives you for the upside down experience. A dog that wants to get away from you is not a good candidate.
Retrieving - crumple up a small piece of paper and show it to the dog. Have him on your left side with your arm around him and throw the paper with your right hand about six feet, encouraging the dog to get it and bring it back. You are looking for a dog that brings the paper back to you.