All Garritani puppies are temperament tested at 49 Days using Wendy Volhard's puppy Aptitude Test. It is our goal to place our puppies in the homes best suited to their temperament, and the lifestyle of the homes in which they will go. We do not place puppies according to color or cuteness. Proper puppy placement is very important to us. The information below was taken directly from Wendy Volhard's Puppy Aptitude Test © 1981,2000, 2005
"Puppy Aptitude Testing" was named Best Film on Dogs for 1981 by the Dog Writers Association of America
"Puppy Aptitude Testing" was named Best Film on Dogs for 1981 by the Dog Writers Association of America
WHAT IS PUPPY TESTING?
Some of the tests we use were developed as long ago as the 1930's for dogs bred to become Guide Dogs. Then in the 1950's, studies on puppies were conducted to determine how quickly they learned. These studies were actually done to identify children's learning stages.
Top Dog Tips: The ideal age to test the puppy is at 49 days of age when the puppy is neurologically complete and it has the brain of an adult dog. With each passing day after the 49th day the responses will be tainted by prior learning. Later on in the early 60's more tests were developed to determine if pups could be tested for dominance and submission. These tests determined that it was indeed possible to predict future behavioral traits of adult dogs by evaluating puppies at 49 days of age. Testing before or after that age, effected the accuracy of the results, depending on the amount of time before or after the 49th day.
We took these tests, added some of our own, and put together what is now known as the Volhard Puppy Aptitude Test, or PAT. PAT uses a scoring system from 1-6 and consists of ten tests. The 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 select the right puppy for the right home.
The Tests Consist of the Following:
Wendy Volhard's Puppy Aptitude Test © 1981,2000, 2005
1. Social Attraction - degree of social attraction to people, confidence or dependence.
2. Following - willingness to follow a person.
3. Restraint - degree of dominant or submissive tendency, and ease of handling in difficult situations.
4. Social Dominance - degree of acceptance of social dominance by a person.
5. Elevation - degree of accepting dominance while in a position of no control, such as at the veterinarian or groomer.
6. Retrieving - degree of willingness to do something for you. Together with Social Attraction and Following a key indicator for ease or difficulty in training.
7. Touch Sensitivity - degree of sensitivity to touch and a key indicator to the type of training equipment required.
8. Sound Sensitivity - degree of sensitivity to sound, such as loud noises or thunderstorms.
9. Sight Sensitivity - degree of response to a moving object, such as chasing bicycles, children or squirrels.
10. 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 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.
WHAT DO THE SCORES MEAN? The scores are interpreted as follows:
Mostly 1's - Strong desire to be pack leader and is not shy about bucking for a promotion. Has a predisposition to be aggressive to people and other dogs and will bite Should only be placed into a very experienced home where the dog will be trained and worked on a regular basis Top Dog Tips: Stay away from the puppy with a lot of 1 's or 2's. It has lots of leadership aspirations and may be difficult to manage. This puppy needs an experienced home. Not good with children.
Mostly 2's - Also has leadership aspirations May be hard to manage and has the capacity to bite Has lots of self-confidence Should not be placed into an inexperienced home Too unruly to be good with children and elderly people, or other animals Needs strict schedule, loads of exercise and lots of training Has the potential to be a great show dog with someone who understands dog behavior.
Mostly 3's - Can be a high-energy dog and may need lots of exercise Good with people and other animals Can be a bit of a handful to live with Needs training, does very well at it and learns quickly Great dog for second time owner.
Mostly 4's - The kind of dog that makes the perfect pet Best choice for the first time owner. Rarely will buck for a promotion in the family. Easy to train, and rather quiet. Good with elderly people, children, although may need protection from the children. Choose this pup, take it to obedience classes, and you'll be the star, without having to do too much work!
Tidbits: The puppy with mostly 3's and 4's can be quite a handful, but should be good with children and does well with training. Energy needs to be dispersed with plenty of exercise.
Mostly 5's - Fearful, shy and needs special handling Will run away at the slightest stress in its life. Strange people, strange places, different floor or ground surfaces may upset it. Often afraid of loud noises and terrified of thunder storms. When you greet it upon your return, may submissively urinate. Needs a very special home where the environment doesn't change too much and where there are no children If cornered and cannot get away, has a tendency to bite.
Mostly 6's - So independent that he doesn't need you or other people Doesn't care if he is trained or not - he is his own person. Not likely to bond to you, since he doesn't need you. A great guard dog for gas stations! Do not take this puppy and think you can change him into a lovable bundle - you can't, so leave well enough alone
INTERPRETING THE SCORES:
Few puppies will test with all 2's or all 3's - there will be a mixture of scores. For that first time, wonderfully easy to train, potential star, look for a puppy that scores with mostly 4's and 3's. Don't worry about the score on Touch Sensitivity - you can compensate for that with the right training equipment.
Tidbits: It's hard not to become emotional when picking a puppy - they are all so cute, soft and cuddly. Remind yourself that this dog is going to be with you for 8 to 16 years. Don't hesitate to step back a little to contemplate your decision. Sleep on it and review it in the light of day. Avoid the puppy with a score of 1 on the Restraint and Elevation tests. This puppy will be too much for the first time owner. It's a lot more fun to have a good dog, one that is easy to train, one you can live with and one you can be proud of, than one that is a constant struggle.
CHOOSING A BREEDER:
Once you have done your research and you have decided which breed is most suited to your lifestyle and expectations, it is time to choose a breeder. You can meet breeders at dog shows, through the local newspaper, or popular dog Magazines, such as The American Kennel Club Gazette, Dog World or Dog Fancy.
Here are some of the criteria you want to follow in selecting a breeder:
- Choose an experienced breeder, one who has had several litters and who knows his breed.
- Choose a breeder who has shown his dogs and has done some winning, which is a fairly good indication that his or her dogs conform to the standard of the breed and will grow up looking like the dogs you saw that attracted you to the breed in the first place.
- Choose a breeder who is using our Puppy Aptitude Test. If he or she hasn't heard of it, show it to them; avoid one that says "I don't believe in that."
- Choose a breeder whose dogs are certified by the applicable registries against breed-related genetic disorders, such as eyes, hips, etc.
- Choose a breeder where you can interact with adult dogs, and get some idea how long they live.
- Choose a breeder where the dogs are well housed and everything is clean.
The majority of breeders today show a great willingness to have their puppies tested, and are interested in the results. It shows them the inherited behaviors of their breeding stock, valuable information for future breeding. The results make it easier for them to place the right puppy into the right home where people will be happy with them. After all, no breeder wants a puppy returned when it's 8 months old and may have been ruined by being improperly brought up. Whatever you do, don't try to pick a puppy by having the entire litter together - you will not be able to pick the right one for you. Always interact with a puppy individually, away from its litter mates.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT PUPPY FOR THE RIGHT HOME
Getting a dog or puppy on impulse is rarely a good idea. Remember that dogs, like cars, were designed for a particular function. You need to decide what you want, a Corvette or a Suburban, a Fox Terrier or a Newfoundland. When the various breeds were originally developed, there was a greater emphasis on the ability to do a job, such as herding, guarding, hunting, drafting, etc., than appearance. If a particular breed interests you, find out first what the dog was bred to do. There are so many different breeds to choose from and if there is a secret to getting that "perfect puppy", it lies in doing your homework.
DECIDING WHAT KIND OF DOG TO GET
The well-trained dog begins with some idea of what role the dog is expected to play in your life and then selecting a dog that is suitable for the job. Following are some of the reasons for selecting a dog:
• Playmate for the kids;
• A special activity, such as hunting, herding, breeding, showing in conformation, or competing in performance events;
• Status symbol (not wise); or
• A combination of the above.
Some dogs are able to fill all of these expectations, while others have more limited talents. Getting a dog for a status symbol usually means one of the guarding or rare breeds, and often these represent some special challenges. If you want a rare breed, first find out why it is such a rare breed and if there are any potential drawbacks. Conversely, one of the most popular dogs and No. 1 in American Kennel Club registrations is the Labrador Retriever. The reason is simple - a Lab is a good multipurpose dog that can serve as a companion and playmate for the kids, is naturally protective, generally enjoys good health, makes a good guide dog, and with little time and effort can be transformed into a well trained dog. You also need to take into account your own life style and circumstances. For most of us this means a dog that can satisfy our need for companionship, is easily trained and doesn't require a lot of upkeep.