Puppy Aptitude
Puppy Aptitude Test


When evaluating the results it is important to consider what role the dog will play in it's adult life. A dominant, insensitive dog would be a good candidate to work in Schutzhound competition, whereas a happy-go-lucky, submissive dog would best fit into the lifestyle of a busy, outgoing family. A dog used for obedience competition or field trial work needs to be amenable to training and eager to please its master. There are no good or bad scores to this test. It is merely a forecasting device as to the type of dog the puppy will become.

IMPORTANT NOTE: These tests are best performed when the pup is 6-9 weeks old,
i.e. the age at which most puppies are purchased.  Praise the pup lavishly after each test.




ELEVATION: Hold puppy upside down in both hands supporting head, shoulders and hips away from your body. Hold like this for 10 seconds.

To determine how the puppy handles physical restraint and being dominated by humans.

No resistance would receive a score of 1, while a great amount of struggling, squirming, crying or growling indicates strong dominant traits and earns a 5.  Varying degrees of either would be mid-range in their score.

RESTRAINT: Hold puppy on its side on the floor for 10 seconds.

To determine how the puppy handles physical restraint and the stress of being dominated.

Same as for ELEVATION - the higher the amount of resistance the more dominant the individual.

NEW FOOTING: Place puppy on a sheet of plastic and observe how it reacts to strange footing. If puppy is accustomed to plastic use something else.

To determine how the puppy reacts to strange things underfoot in its environment and how quickly it recovers from the newness to cope with the situation.

Puppy that sniffs plastic and begins walking nonchalantly is more confident than one that freezes and is unable to either stand up or walk away.

NOISE: Place puppy on floor and have assistant make a loud banging noise (metal spoons against a metal pan).

To determine how puppy reacts to sudden unexpected noises.

Puppy that runs away earns a 5. Such a pup is not able to make quick adjustments to unexpected events and noises in life. It would need a stable environment and firm but gently training to build self-confidence.

TOUCH: Hold puppy and pinch, with graduated intensity, the skin between the pads on the front paw.

To determine the level of sensitivity to discomfort, which provides insight into the method of training the dog should be given for optimum results.

Puppy that pulls paw away or exhibits discomfort at the count of 1 is much more sensitive than the pup that merely notices a pinch at the count of 8 or more.

COME: Place pup on the floor, step away from it about 6 feet and call while crouching down and clapping your hands.

To determine how readily the pup will come to a human when the person acts in a non-threatening manner.

Puppy that comes readily earns a 1 and demonstrates willingness and desire to be with people. A 5 would indicate a very independent pup that might require much more training for reliability.

FOLLOW: Place puppy on the floor and without speaking to it walk slowly away.

To determine the degree of social dependence of the puppy.

Resistance to this test (refuses to follow or goes in opposite direction) indicates a strong-willed independent individual.

RETRIEVE: Sit on the floor with pup and show it a lightweight toy or crumpled paper ball. Toss the toy about 3 feet in front of the pup and observe its reaction.  Excite pup and it to "get it".

To determine how responsive the pup is to moving objects and its desire to pick up and carry object back to you. This test predicts potentially good workers when retrieving and carrying are prerequisites to the job.

A pup that ignores the toy or sees it yet refuses to go over to investigate it earns a 5. The pup that grabs it and carries it back gets a 1. Willingness to retrieve is highly correlated to dogs that must work with people.


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