The purpose of our puppy aptitude test is not to determine if a puppy is good or bad, but rather it is a measurement tool. The test examines certain characteristics that the puppy exhibits. These characteristics profile a puppy’s adult potential and hopefully project how they will develop into adult dog traits. Of course, the environment in which the puppy is raised and the manner of training and nurturing will greatly impact the characteristics that are being measured. The tests are conducted three times, at 4, 5 & 6 weeks of age. Each test is in a different location, unknown to the puppies. The location and the noise source are the only factors that change.
There are four basic components to these tests. These components are Exploration, Social Traits, Approach by 2nd Tester and Sound Sensitivity. Each component allows the puppy to display certain traits. The combination of these traits, during a certain component, is scored and notes taken. We look for a blend of traits as the optimum. For example: a puppy might receive an 8 (out of 10) on Exploration, based on the puppy’s lack of desire to explore. Then that same puppy might receive another 8 on Social Traits, because the puppy opted to remain as close as possible to the evaluator instead of continuing to investigate its surroundings. The aptitude test would develop a profile of this puppy that may characterize him as being Dependent and best suited to a single pet home with mild individuals, who are home much of the time and will take their puppy many places. Contrast the dependent puppy with an independent puppy who commences exploring everywhere immediately – who does not come when the evaluator makes his/her presence known – and then simply continues exploring – oblivious to the new human friend. This puppy will probably also be scored at 8 in Social Traits and characterized as Independent. Thus two puppies may have identical scores in an individual component for different reasons.
The basic premise of the Test Components is to remove the puppies from their littermates, their mother, and from all familiar surroundings. They then are observed to see how they deal with several types of stress, the first obviously being alone in a strange place. For example:
1) Exploration: Do they become curious about their new surroundings and start exploring or do they stay put?
2) Social Traits: How does the puppy react to the evaluator? Is the puppy happy or concerned?
3) Approach of 2nd Evaluator: How does the puppy react? If startled, how does the puppy recover?
4) Sound Sensitivity: What is puppy’s reaction to sudden noise? Is it curious or startled?
Retrieve response and prey drive are also measured after the above components. Puppies at this age may show little retrieve/prey response but may still develop it later at the age of 8+ weeks.
It is important to look at all tests in conjunction with one another. This testing measures the aptitude/temperament only of the puppy. Based on years of experience and a true understanding of the temperament needs of various disciplines (i.e. Police work, search and rescue, disaster, etc..) it is possible to make the best matches for each home and puppy.
Additional testing may be done near seven weeks at the discretion of the breeder and potential puppy owner. These tests may include specific discipline tests, such as tracking or scent work. These tests are not a guarantee that the puppy will do a particular job as there are a tremendous amount of training variables. Rather it gives a good indication of the inherited natural drives of the individual puppy.
Puppies will be selected for their homes based on their aptitude/temperament, not their appearance. No homes will be guaranteed a puppy out of any litter. Their will be a waiting list, with the specific needs of the home determined. If there is a puppy in the litter whose temperament matches the needs of the home, then and only then will the puppy be placed there