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Dog Temperament Testing

 Submitted by Michael Adams on April 29, 2010

Dogs are man’s best friend and are very intelligent by nature. While choosing a dog, you look at some basic characteristics such as physical appearance and health concerns. But above all, it is the general temperament of dog and its care and maintenance that most of the dog’s owners look for in order to match their personality and lifestyle.

Different dog breeds have different temperaments. A dog’s temperament generally depends on the breed, its origin, and natural instincts. Temperament in dogs means the general attitude which is displayed by the dogs towards people and other animals.

A dog’s temperament is due to the combined inherited and acquired traits that influence a dog's behavior.

Dog temperament testing evaluates a dog's temperament through a series of tests that measure various traits such as stability, confidence, friendliness, protectiveness, self-defense instincts, and aggressiveness. Temperament tests serve as a predictive tool for the owner to gauge the situation including how the dog might act and react in various situations.

Dog temperament testing is no doubt extremely valuable while purchasing a dog, but an individual dog's genetic history cannot be changed. Of course, we can help shape its attitude towards people, animals, and places that it will encounter in its life, and manage its behavior to a large extent. You must gather information such as age, breed, sex, sexual status (puppy or sexually mature), and behavioral traits of the dog prior to testing. Record your observations about responses immediately after each test exercise. You must be patient while testing the dog; this is because even a friendly dog may not approach the evaluator immediately. It takes some time for a dog to feel comfortable in the testing environment before approaching a person.

Basically the temperament of dogs is divided into two broad categories:

  • Sound Temperament: The dog is confident and self assertive.  It handles its environment with confidence and recovers quickly from fright.
  • Unsound Temperament: A range of behaviors are considered to be unsound such as shyness, submissiveness, hyperactivity, and over aggression.


Dog temperament test

Here are a few testing tips to find the right temperament in dogs:

  • You must find out how long the dog has been sheltered. Dogs take time to adapt themselves to new environments. So, if the dog has been at a place for more than a week and still seems distracted, it shows that it is a bit unfocused and may require more time to train.
  • To find if the dog is friendly and sociable, use the "hand and talk" test. You must put your hand out for the dog to sniff or lick it. The friendly breeds will respond quickly when you give your hand or say a few words.
  • After you find a dog that you would like to take home, take some time to visit it and spend some time with it. If the dog is friendly, it will try to solicit your attention.
  • You must play around with the dog for about a minute. If you see the dog is excited, observe for how long it takes to calm down. Some breeds require extra effort to quiet themselves.
  • You must test a dog’s motivation to get trained. If the dog gets motivated by a ball or a treat, it implies it is much easier to train it.
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