Everything About Old English Sheepdogs Logo

PUPPY APTITUDE TEST

Developed by Joachim and Wendy Volhard
Revised January 2003 
© Wendy Volhard 2003
Used by permission

This score sheet has been prepared for the convenience of those who have
Dog Training For Dummies by Jack & Wendy Volhard (IDG  Books, 2001) ,
which contains the information necessary for accurate  results
and the correct interpretation of the scores.

PUPPY APTITUDE TEST

Puppy (color, sex) ________________ litter ______________________ date ____________

TEST

PURPOSE

SCORE

#

SOCIAL ATTRACTION

Place puppy in test area about four feet from the tester. Tester kneels, leans backwards and coaxes the pup to her/him by clapping hands gently.

Degree of social attraction to people, confidence, or dependence.

Pack Drive.

Came readily, tail up, jumped, bit at  hands.

1

Came readily, tail up, pawed, licked at  hands.

2

Came readily, tail up.

3

Came readily, tail down

4

Came hesitantly, tail down.

5

Didn't come at all.

6

FOLLOWING

The tester stands up and slowly walks away encouraging the puppy to follow. Make sure the pup sees you walk away. Coax puppy to follow by talking to it and attracting its attention.

Willingness to follow a person.

Pack Drive.

Followed readily, tail up, got underfoot,  bit at feet.

1

Followed readily, tail up, got underfoot.

2

Followed readily, tail up

3

Followed readily, tail down.

4

Followed hesitantly, tail  down.

5

Did not follow or went away.

6

RESTRAINT

The tester crouches down and gently rolls the pup on its back and holds it down with light pressure with one hand for 30 seconds

Degree of dominance or submissive tendency, and ease of  handling in difficult situations.

Fight or Flight Drive.

Struggled fiercely, flailed, bit.

1

Struggled fiercely, flailed.

2

Settled, struggled, settled with some eye  contact.

3

Struggled then settled.

4

No struggle, no eye contact.

5

No struggle, straining to avoid eye  contact.

6

SOCIAL DOMINANCE

Puppy sits or stands on crouching tester's left side and tester gently strokes it from the head to back. Continue stroking until a  recognizable behavior is established

Degree of acceptance of social dominance by a person.

Pack Drive

Jumped, pawed, bit, growled.

1

Jumped, pawded.

2

Cuddled up to tester and tried to lick face.

3

Squirmed, licked at hands.

4

Rolled over, licked at hands.

5

Went away and stayed away.

6

ELEVATION DOMINANCE

The tester cradles the pup under its chest, with both hands,  fingers interlaced, palms up and gently lifts it two feet off the ground, and holds it there for 30 seconds.

Degree of accepting dominance while in position of no control.

Fight or Flight Drive.

Struggled fiercely, tried to bite.

1

Struggled fiercely.

2

Struggled, settled, struggled, settled.

3

No struggle, relaxed.

4

No struggle, body stiff.

5

No struggle, froze.

6

RETRIEVING

The tester crouches beside the pup and attracts its attention with a crumpled up piece of paper. When the pup shows some interest, the tester tosses the paper no more than four feet in front of the pup, encouraging it to retrieve the paper.

Degree of willingness to do something for you. Together with social attraction and following, a key indicator for ease or difficulty in training.

Prey Drive

Chased object, picked it up and ran  away.

1

Chased object, stood over it, did not  return.

2

Chased object, picked it up and returned with it to tester.

3

Chased object and returned without it to tester.

4

Started to chase object, lost  interest.

5

Did not chase object.

6

TOUCH SENSITIVITY

The tester locates the webbing of one of the puppy's front paws and presses it lightly between his index finger and thumb. The tester  gradually increases pressure while counting to 10 and stops the pressure when the puppy pulls away or shows discomfort.

* Do not use your fingernail when performing this  test. Press between the finger and thumb lightly then more firmly until  you get a response.

Degree of sensitivity to touch and a key indicator to the type of training equipment required.

8-10 counts before response.

1

6-7 counts before response.

2

5-6 counts before response.

3

2-4 counts before response.

4

2-3 counts before response.

5

 

 

SOUND SENSITIVITY

The puppy is placed in the center of the testing area and an  assistant stationed at the perimeter makes a sharp noise, such as banging a metal spoon on the bottom of a metal pan.

Degree of sensitivity to sound.
(Also a rudimentary  test
for deafness.)

Prey Drive.

Listened, located sound, walked toward it  barking.

1

Listened, located sound, barked.

2

Listened, located sound, showed curiosity  and walked toward sound.

3

Listened, located the sound.

4

Cringed, backed off, hid.

5

Ignored sound, showed no curiosity.

6

SIGHT SENSITIVITY

The puppy is placed in the center of the testing area. The  tester ties a string around a bath towel and jerks it across the floor two  feet away from puppy.

Degree of response to a moving object, such as chasing  bicycles, children or squirrels.

Prey Drive.

Looked, attacked and bit.

1

Looked, barked and tail up.

2

Looked curiously, attempted to investigate.

3

Looked, barked, tail-tuck.

4

Ran away, hid.

5

 

 

STABILITY

An umbrella is opened about five feet from the puppy and gently placed on the ground

Degree of startle response to a strange object.

Fight and Flight Drive.

Looked and ran to the umbrella, mouthing or biting it.

1

Looked and walked to the umbrella, smelling  it cautiously.

2

Looked and went to investigate.

3

Sat and looked, but did not move toward the  umbrella.

4

Ran away from the umbrella.

5

Showed no interest.

6

STRUCTURE

The puppy is gently set and held in a natural stance and evaluated for structure in the following categories:

  • Straight front
  • Straight rear
  • Shoulder lay back
  • Front angulation
  • Croup angulation
  • Rear angulation

(see diagram below)

Degree of structural soundness.

Good structure is necessary.

 

 

The puppy is correct in  structure.

good

The puppy has a slight fault or  deviation.

fair

The puppy has an extreme fault or  deviation.

poor

 

 

 

 

Some Test Interpretation

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.

 

(First published in the AKC Gazette, March 1979, in an article by  Melissa Bartlett.)
© As long as the material used is correctly credited with the  authors' name,
a link to this www.volhard.com/puppy/pat.htm website, the publication where it was printed from and the copyright,
Jack and Wendy encourage people to use their material.
Updated: September 9,  2003 7:13 PM

BUY THE BOOK! (at Amazon.com)
Dog Training For Dummies by Jack & Wendy Volhard (IDG  Books, 2001)

[Home] [Get A Sheepdog] [Community] [Memories] [OES Links] [OES Photos] [Grooming] [Merchandise] [Search]

Please contact our Webmaster with questions or comments.

         Please read our PRIVACY statement and Terms of Use

 

Copyright 2000 - 2010 by OES.org. All rights reserved.