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SoftMaple Fall 2001 litter

About the Temperament Test
this is just one type of temperament test

11/20/2001: (Day 43)

We observe the puppies very closely until 7 weeks of age and usually we have formed our own opinion about their temperaments. We use the test to confirm our observations.

The test is supposed to be done at 49 days of age

The test is performed in a situation which is new to the puppy The test must be carried out by a person who is a complete stranger to the puppies.

The test itself follows:

Each of these tests is scored according to the puppy's response on a 6 point scale. We then use the results to help determine which puppy will best fit into a particular lifestyle - ie. we do not place a puppy that shows any sound sensitivity or extreme touch sensitivity in a home with young children, etc.

Place puppy in test area. From a few
feet away the tester coaxes the pup
to her/him by clapping hands gently
and kneeling down. Tester must coax in
a direction away from the point where it
entered the testing area.
Degree of social
attraction, confidence
or dependence.
-Came readily, tail up, jumped, bit at hands.
-Came readily, tail up, pawed, licked at hands.
-Came readily, tail up.
-Came readily, tail down
-Came hesitantly, tail down.
-Didn't come at all.




Stand up and walk away from the
pup in a normal manner. Make sure
the pup sees you walk away.
Degree of following
attraction. Not
following indicates
-Followed readily, tail up, got underfoot
bit at feet.
-Followed readily, tail up, got underfoot.
-Followed readily, tail up
-Followed readily, tail down.
-Followed hesitantly, tail down.
-No follow or went away.




Crouch down and gently roll the pup
on his back and hold it with one
hand for a full 30 seconds.
Degree of dominant or
submissive tendency.
How it accepts stress
when socially/
physically dominated.
-Struggled fiercely, flailed, bit.
-Struggled fiercely, flailed.
-Settled, struggled, settled with some
eye contact.
-Struggled then settled.
-No struggle.
-No struggle, straining to avoid eye contact.



Let pup standup and gently stroke
him from the head to back while
you crouch beside him.
Continue stroking until a
recognizable behavior is established.
Degree of acceptance
of social dominance.
Pup may try to
dominate by jumping
and nipping or is
independent and walks
-Jumped, pawed, bit, growled.
-Jumped, pawded.
-Cuddles up to testor and tries to lick
-Squirmed, licked at hands.
-Rolled over, licked at hands.
-Went away and stayed away.



Bend over and cradle the pup under
its belly, fingers interlaced, palms
up and elevate it just off the ground.
Hold it there for 30 seconds.
Degree of accepting
dominance while in
position of no control.
-Struggled fiercely, bit, growled.
-Struggled fiercely.
-No struggle, relaxed
-Struggled, settled, licked
-No struggle, licked at hands.
-No struggle, froze.

© 1996 Wendy Volhard

Crouch beside pup and attract
his attention with crumpled up
paper ball. When the pup shows
interest and is watching, toss the
object 4-6 feet in front of pup.
Degree of willingness
to work with a human.
High correlation
between ability to
retrieve and successful
guide dogs, obedience
dogs, field trial dogs.
-Chases object, picks up object and
runs away.
-Chases object, stands over object,
does not return.
-Chases object and returns with object
to testor.
-Chases object and returns without
object to testor.
-Starts to chase object, loses interest.
-Does not chase object.






Take puppy's webbing of one
front foot and press between *finger
and thumb lightly then more firmly
till you get a response, while you
count slowly to 10. Stop as soon as
puppy pulls away, or shows

*Do NOT use fingernail.

Degree of sensitivity to
8-10 counts before response.
6-7 counts before response.
5-6 counts before response.
2-4 counts before response.
1-2 counts before response.
Place pup in the center of area,
testor or assistant makes a sharp
noise a few feet from the puppy.
A large metal spoon struck
sharply on a metal pan twice
works well.
Degree of sensitivity to
sound. (Also can be a
rudimentary test for
-Listens, locates sound, walks toward
it barking.
-Listens, locates sound, barks.
-Listens, locates sound, shows
curiosity and walks toward sound.
-Listens, locates the sound.
-Cringes, backs off, hides.
-Ignores sound, shows no curiosity.




Place pup in center of room. Tie
a string around a large towel and
jerk it across the floor a few feet
away from puppy.
Degree of intelligent
response to strange
-Looks, attacks and bites.
-Looks, barks and tail up.
-Looks curiously, attempts to
-Looks, barks, tail-tuck.
-Runs away, hides.



The puppy is gently set in a
natural stance and evaluated for
structure in the following
Straight front
Straight rear
Shoulder layback
Front angulation
Croup angulation
Rear angulation

(see diagram below)

Degree of structural
soundness. Good
structure is necessary.
-The puppy is correct in structure.
-The puppy has a slight fault or
-The puppy has an extreme fault or



Interpreting the Scores

  • Mostly 1's A puppy that consistently scores a 1 in the temperament section of the test is an extremely dominant, aggressive puppy who can easily be provoked to bite. His dominant nature will attempt to resist human leadership, thus requiring only the most experienced of handlers. This puppy is a poor choice for most individuals and will do best in a working situation as a guard or police dog.
  • Mostly 2's This pup is dominant and self-assured. He can be provoked to bite; however he readily accepts human leadership that is firm, consistent and knowledgeable. This is not a dog for a tentative, indecisive individual. In the right hands, he has the potential to become a fine working or show dog and could fit into an adult household, provided the owners know what they are doing.
  • Mostly 3's This pup is outgoing and friendly and will adjust well in situations in which he receives regular training and exercise. He has a flexible temperament that adapts well to different types of environment, provided he is handled correctly. May be too much dog for a family with small children or an elderly couple who are sedentary.
  • Mostly 4's A pup that scores a majority of 4's is an easily controlled, adaptable puppy whose submissive nature will make him continually look to his master for leadership. This pup is easy to train, reliable with kids, and, though he lacks self-confidence, makes a high-quality familly pet. He is usually less outgoing than a pup scoring in the 3's, but his demeanor is gentle and affectionate.
  • Mostly 5's This is a pup who is extremely submissive and lacking in self-confidence. He bonds very closely with his owner and requires regular companionship and encouragement to bring him out of himself. If handled incorrectly, this pup will grow up very shy and fearful. For this reason, he will do best in a predictable, structured lifestyle with owners who are patient and not overly demanding, such as an elderly couple.
  • Mostly 6's A puppy that scores 6 consistntly is independent and uninterested in people. He will mature into a dog who is not demonstrably affectionate and who has a low need for human companionship. In general, it is rare to see properly socialized pups test this way; however there are several breeds that have been bred for specific tasks (such as basenjis, hounds, and some northern breeds) which can exhibit this level of independence. To perform as intended, these dogs require a singularity of purpose that is not compromised by strong attachments to their owner.


The remainder of the puppy test is an evaluation of obedience aptitude and working ability and provides a general picture of a pup's intelligence, spirit, and willingness to work with a human being. For most owners, a good companion dog will score in the 3 to 4 range in this section of the test. Puppies scoring a combination of 1's and 2's require experienced handlers who will be able to draw the best aspects of their potential from them.

Important note from Wendy Volhard...regarding the Touch Sensitivity test - Do not use your fingernail when performing this test. Press between the finger and thumb lightly then more firmly until you get a response.

Some pup and wing pictures from 11/20

Not all Tempernment tests agree!
Here is another spin!

The PAWS© Working Dog Evaluation

"For years I used the Puppy Aptitude Test (P.A.T.), developed by Jack and Wendy Volhard, to evaluate puppies. As an obedience and agility competitor, it gave me insight into a puppy's future personality. But as I branched out into other activities, I found myself adding to the test, evaluating things like "possessiveness" and "hunt drive." Finally, it occurred to me to write it down, and really analyze the way I was making my decisions.

The result was the PAWS Working Dog Evaluation ©, which stands for Possessiveness, Attention, Willingness, and Strength. (I'd have used Drive, but pawd doesn't spell anything :-)

Unlike the P.A.T., which was developed to evaluate good "pet" temperaments, The PAWS test was developed to help identify and evaluate the main components of good "working" temperaments-- for dogs being selected for work in K-9, Scent Detection, Search, French Ring, Schutzhund, Agility, Obedience, and similar activities. Why Possessiveness, Attention, W illingness, and Strength? In all of these activities, we use the dog's possessiveness and drive to train, and eventually at work or on the field. But without attention and willingness to work for the handler, the most driven, possessive dog is virtually useless.

The test is divided into seven areas, and is more flexible in regard to age than the P.A.T. I still use the P.A.T. as an initial indicator, and pups that pass with acceptable levels move on to the PAWS. Instead of a numeric score, I use the evaluations of Excellent, Okay, and Indifferent. Depending on what activity the puppy is intended for, I place more weight on certain elements of the test.

The Test

Test 1
Prey Drive
Using age appropriate teaser, tester gets dog's attention and throws the teaser a short distance away. (Note: roll teaser with younger puppies.)
  • EXC Puppy runs to teaser and immediately snatches up, perhaps shaking to "kill" it.
  • OK Puppy runs to teaser and checks it out. May pick up toy if thrown repeatedly.
  • IND Puppy doesn't run to teaser or shows no interest.

Test 2
After puppy gets teaser, tester encourages puppy to bring back by jogging backwards and calling.
  • EXC Immediately brings back and spits out toy for more play.
  • OK Brings back but doesn't give up toy.
  • OK Brings back but darts out of reach, wanting you to chase.
  • IND Doesn't bring back.

Test 3
Hunt Drive (Persistence)
Hide teaser under foot or in hands (just barely showing) and encourage puppy to find.
  • EXC Digs, mouths, and whines for toy.
  • OK Nudges and uses paws for toy.
  • IND Tries halfheartedly or not at all.

Test 4
Tug Response
Using towel, booda, or rag, tease puppy and allow to grab.
  • EXC Immediately grabs and tugs vigorously.
  • OK Grabs with repeated teasing and/or encouragement, lets go.
  • IND Grabs only if repeatedly teased. Won't hold on.

Test 5 (P&S)
Tester lets go of tug while in puppy's mouth.
  • EXC Shakes toy to "kill" it, tries to engage tester to play again.
  • EXC Shakes toy to "kill" it, runs away with toy.
  • OK Runs away with toy, drops soon after.
  • IND Drops immediately.

Test 6
Follow (puppies 3 months & under)--Tester calls puppy and jogs backwards while clapping softly.
Recall (puppies over 3 months)--Helper restrains dog while tester jogs backwards and calls dog's name one time.
  • EXC Runs to tester, ramming shoulder into tester's leg or jumping up.
  • EXC Runs to tester and solicits affection.
  • OK Jogs to tester, nudging or looking for attention.
  • IND Jogs to tester & leaves, or doesn't come at all.

Test 7
Attention Span
Using age appropriate teaser, get dog's attention and bring teaser to tester's face level. Use teaser sparingly to maintain eye/facial contact with puppy for 30 seconds.
  • EXC Willingly looks at tester's face and toy for duration. Cocks head to listen.
  • EXC Watches tester for duration, looking away briefly if background distractions interfere.
  • OK Watches tester but needs to be re-engaged a few times.
  • IND Easily distracted or unwilling to look at tester's face.

An Application

A 20 month old pup was being evalated as a potential schutzhund, narcotics, and search dog. The dog was very social with people, good with other dogs, and not sound sensitive. I chose a Water Kong toy (the kind on the rope) for the test. His prey drive was intense, and he retrieved to hand with little encouragement--actually tossing the kong to me to throw again. When the kong was hidden, he dug, mouthed, and whined for the toy. Since he was being evaluated for narcotics and search, I chose to go one step further and hide the kong in tall grass to further evaluate the hunt drive. This dog worked quickly and thoroughly, found the kong and pounced on it, then brought it to me. We played tug, and he was extremely possessive when tugging, but not aggressive. Upon my release of the kong, he shook it, then tossed it back to me for more games. Since he was already a young adult, I had an assistant restrain the dog while I walked about 75 yards away. With one call of his name, the dog ran at top speed and nailed me right in the stomach with both front legs. As the last test, I got his attention and proceeded to talk quietly to him for thirty seconds. The dog didn't take his eyes off of me, and cocked his head from side to side as I spoke.

As far as I was concerned, this dog was a perfect match for his desired occupation. He showed strong prey, possessiveness, recall, and attention--all necessary attributes for a good schutzhund dog. In addition, he showed very good hunt drive and persistance, the makings of a good scent dog (of whatever flavor--tracking, search, scent detection). All in all, he tested at a high level on all the tests. With the right handler, this dog could succeed in almost any arena. On the other hand, this was a very INTENSE, physical, high drive dog. Sitting in someone's living room, he could probably be a downright pain.

Would this dog be a High in Trial obedience dog or national agility contender (AKC)? Maybe, but probably not. He would take a very special handler...Everyone whose had a low-key dog wants "drive" in their next one--and then they *get* it <EG>. His vigor and physicality would cause him to lose points or bust (touching on recall, missing contact zones, for example). Is this a consideration, in this example? Not at all. For his purposes, this dog suited the handler perfectly.

All the pups, Stacked photos 11/21/2001
CH SoftMaple's O'Dark Thirty SH WCX CD CGC CR-536G27M-T OFA cardiac, CERF (Jet) to CH Charwin Evensong WCX JH CGC CR-CA22/41F/C CR-480F35F CERF (Gabby)

Puppies born 10/8/2001 ~ 10/9/2001
4 black girls, 3 liver girls, 2 black boys, 2 liver boys.

(10/8 - 10/9) Countdown, and the pups are born
(10/10 - 10/11) dewclaws, loss of liver girl
(10/12 - 10/13) Bio Sensor pictures
(10/14) A picture album
Week Two
Week three
Week four
What's in a Name?
What goes on behind the scenes
Week 5
All the pups 11/7/2001
November 9th puppy room pictures
November 10th puppy room pictures
November 11th pictures. Are those feathers in your mouth?
November 11th pictures, and she must be raking in the dough with this litter!
Week 6
11/14/2001 A puppy outing
The puppies go on a picnic!
11/15/2001 Toys! Toys! Toys!
November 15th Wing pictures
Dinner in jail! Crates for your curlies
11/16/2001 grooming your curly pup
11/17/2001 Collar and Leash
Week 7
What is a temperament test?
All the pups, Stacked photos 11/21/2001
11/21/2001 Water Water Everywhere!
11/22/2001 Happy Thanksgiving!
11/23/2001 First Shots
11/25/2001 Splish Splash! First Bath!

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