Nothing is more exciting than the prospect of becoming a brand new dog parent. You run out and buy more dog toys than your pup will ever need and a dog bed the size of a full grown Great Dane. Your puppy deserves only the best, and you’re going to do everything you can to make that dream a reality.
It can be tempting to purchase or rescue the first puppy you lay your eyes on, the one that makes you squeal with excitement over “how cute he is!” Rushing to scoop up a puppy, any puppy, without prior research can lead to headaches down the road.
Puppies may all look cute and like a one-size fits all package, but puppies, like any dog, have their own set of personality traits that will develop and grow as they age into adulthood. Especially if your puppy will be joining your family as the new kid sister or brother to another dog or puppy already settled into your household, it is necessary to do some homework on what kind of puppy you may be bringing home.
Will your puppy be hyper and overly interactive? Will your puppy be anxious and clingy or an alpha personality with a need to dominate other pets you may own? One method for predicting your potential puppies disposition and character traits are puppy personality tests. Personality tests, also called temperament tests, are utilized by breeders and shelters for a number of purposes, and can be a helpful tool for you when looking for a puppy that fits your personality, lifestyle, and your family.
This article will summarize and discuss the purpose and idea behind puppy personality tests. We will also cover in detail the Volhard Aptitude Test puppy personality and also share simple tests that you can do yourself to help give you an idea of what kind of puppy you may be bringing home.
Puppies, like babies, are born with a set of innate traits that manifest themselves during their early development. Some puppies may bound into a new environment without fear, while others will hesitantly follow the group. Puppies may nip and jump on other puppies in the litter to assert dominance. Other puppies may hunker down in a corner or roll over immediately when their assertive brother tries to tackle them. All of these scenarios may happen in a litter of puppies, and each puppy may be different from the other. How can you judge which puppy is right for you? Maybe you already know that your dog back home is easily frightened and is always attached to your hip. If this is the case, then you probably do not want to take home an assertive dominant puppy.
Puppy Personality Tests: Their Purpose
Puppy personality tests, or temperament tests, use various techniques to predict personality elements in puppies. Breeders often use these tests to match puppies with owners who fit the puppies test results. Breeders test each puppy and come up with a summarized prediction of the puppies temperament. Generally, breeders who utilize personality tests will also poll the potential owner to get an idea of what that person’s lifestyle is like, what they’re looking for in a puppy, and what puppies in the litter jive with that person’s own personality.
Shelters also use these tests to match puppies with potential adopters, while also testing for aggressiveness and other dangerous or at-risk behaviors. Puppies that express aggression or behaviors of concern may require extra training before putting them on the adoption list, or might narrow down the list of potential adopters to only well-experienced pet owners.
Puppy personality tests are a fun and interesting way to get into the psyche of man’s best friend. It’s like taking one of those addictive online quizzes that promises to predict your future based on what color you like, except puppy personality tests are backed by research and have been around for decades. The main goal of using puppy personality tests is to ensure that puppies go to warm and loving homes where they are more likely to spend their entire lives.
Unfortunately, it is common for inexperienced pet owners to make a rushed decision and take home puppies that is the complete opposite of what they are looking for. Unable to train or deal with the temperament and behavior of their new puppy, they may decide to take the puppy to an animal shelter or find them a new family. By using puppy personality tests, we raise the chances of building cohesive relationships between pet owners and new puppies.
Volhard Aptitude Test
The Volhard Puppy Aptitude Test, or PAT, was built off of puppy aptitude tests from as early as the 1930s. Early puppy tests were used to measure the learning capacity of puppies. Now, the Volhard Aptitude Test uses a six point system that consists of ten tests to measure personality traits. According to the creators of the Volhard Aptitude Test, the ideal age to begin a personality test is around 49 days after birth. Performing the test any earlier or much later may affect the results of the test and the ability to provide better training intervention. The Volhard Aptitude Test sounds overly scientific, but it’s not a difficult test to understand. It’s a great example of how puppy personality tests can get into the weeds and help you figure out what puppy is your perfect math.
The following section will discuss in greater detail the specifics of each personality element and what that means for your puppy’s future.
Test Descriptions: What Are They Actually Testing For?
The Volhard Aptitude Test uses ten tests to determine and score a puppy based on personality specific behavior. These traits include the following: Social attraction; following; restraint; social dominance; elevation; retrieving, touch, sound, and sight sensitivity; and stability. Each of these elements are tested separately.
Social Attraction, Following, and Restraint
Social Attraction measures a puppy’s sociability and attachment. In other words, does your puppy bounce with excitement over making new friends or prefer to keep to themselves? Unsocial puppies are not bad or out of the ordinary, but they may require more socializing during their early months of development to ensure that they do not behave aggressively towards strangers.
Following is relatively straight forward. Following measures a puppy’s tendency to follow a person rather than stray independently. A puppy that follows is more likely to have greater attachment to its owner and will have a better tendency to follow commands. If you don’t have a great deal of time to train your puppy, then you may want a puppy that is more attentive to following and listening.
Restraint determines a puppy’s submissiveness, as well as a puppy’s acceptance of restraint by a person. Restraint is important when considering trainability of a puppy. Puppies with low restraint will be more stubborn and may fight you when on a leash or if you need to subdue them. This may also be important if you’re interested in getting a large breed dog and need to make sure you can keep it under control.
Social and Elevation Dominance, Retrieving, and Stability
Social dominance is similar to restraint and measures a puppy’s acceptance of human dominance. It helps to predict the degree that a puppy will follow commands. Puppies with high social dominance are generally more easy to train and are more eager to please. Service dogs generally score well on the social dominance spectrum.
Elevation examines of a puppy’s willingness to submit during times of stress and lack of control. An example might be a puppy sitting for an examination by a veterinarian or during a grooming session. Will the puppy stand calmly or panic when a stranger attempts to control them in a strange and new environment? If you are wanting a puppy that will need frequent grooming, then having a puppy with a good score for elevation dominance is key.
Retrieving tests a puppy’s need to please others by performing a set of actions, such as bringing back a toy. Retrieving is another personality trait that may indicate the ease of trainability, as well as how eager your puppy will be to please you and immediately follow commands. Hunting dogs, service dogs, and other working dogs normally have excellent retrieving scores.
Stability measures a puppy’s response to foreign stimuli, such as a new item in the home or a new environment. Frequent moving or changes in household family members might stress a puppy who has a low score for stability. If you are in the military or are in-between jobs or homes, then finding a puppy with a level stability score is important.
Touch, Sound, and Sight Sensitivity
Touch sensitivity provides information for how accepting your puppy is to outside touch or pressure. Puppies will low touch sensitivity may have eventual issues with their pads and will avoid rough terrain. If you are an outdoor runner and are adopting or purchasing a puppy to be your new running partner, then you’ll want a puppy with a positive score for touch sensitivity, since they will be more likely to tolerate the outdoors.
In addition, sound sensitivity is a great predictor for preventing fear of fireworks, thunder, or other loud noises. Puppies who score with a high tolerance to sound will be unfazed by sudden sharp noises or distractions. For example, if a breeder specifically trains dogs for police or military use, then sound sensitivity would be one of the more important elements of the overall test due to the chaotic sounds that occur during their line of work.
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