Why do we temperament test?
We temperament test to grade each puppy for their NATURAL personality. This does not mean that an excited puppy will never be calm and relaxed, nor a calm and relaxed puppy throughout the temperament test, will not be full of energy. Raising a puppy is like raising a toddler. This means that teething is natural, as well as getting excited when the environment is high energy. Puppies want to get into things and will need consistent positive structure. Luckily, this is mainly only the first couple months!
Here is what our temperament test consist of:
[A] for active response
[N] for neutral
[P] for passive
1. Observation. Watching how she plays with other puppies, does she jump right into group activities [A], hanging in the midst of the activity [N], or submitting when approached [P].
2. Play. When you first take a puppy aside to play with, is he hyper [A], easy going [N] or does he just want to be petted [P].
3. Cradle. When cradling a puppy in your arms, does he relax [P], wiggle a bit and then relax [N] or kick like crazy [A].
4. Call back. Using a treat or squeak toy and calling to the puppy while backing away, does he race after you while jumping or nipping at your ankles [A], follow happily [N] or hesitate and need coaxing [P].
5. Tuck and pat. When kneeling/sitting on the floor, settle the puppy between your legs. Pet him in long gentle strokes as you praise him softly. Does he wriggle free as he nips [A], wriggle and then relax [N] or simply melt in your embrace [P].
6. Bend over. Stand up, stretch and relax, Now go to your puppy and lean over to pet him. Your doing this may seem overwhelming to the pup because you're so large and he's so small. Does he jump up at your face [A], cower in confusion [P] or just relax and let it happen [N].
7. Nose kiss. Cradle your puppy's face in your hands and kiss him on the nose. Does he bite you back [A], accept the smooch calmly or return the interaction with a soft bite or kiss [N] or pull back in confusion [P].
8. Toe squeeze. In this exercise, you're testing your puppy's reaction and sensitivity to discomfort. While petting the puppy, gently squeeze the skin between his toes. Does he attack your hand. If so, he's definitely an A type personality with high sensitivity. A neutral puppy may lick or mouth gently, whereas a passive puppy will cringe fearfully.
9. Startle sound. Take a bunch of keys and when your prospective puppy least expects it, rattle them above his head and gauge his reaction. Does he attack the keys [A]. Does he give it a nonchalant glance [N]. A fear reaction is noted by cowering or withdrawal [P].
10. Crash test. Stand and wait until your puppy is no longer interested in you. Suddenly fall to the ground as if you've tripped and exclaim "Ouch!" Does the puppy race over and pounce [A], come to sniff or lick your face [N] or cower and run in fear [P].
11. Uplift. Lift the puppy 4 inches off the floor by cradling his midsection. Hold him there for at least seconds. Does he wriggle and bite furiously [A]? Does he relax and look around [N]. Does he look fearful and constrict his body posture [P].
All A's: This dominant puppy is bright and interactive. Raising him will take concentration, consistency and time. His favorite expression is "What's next?"
All N's: Easy going and contained, this puppy will be pleasant and self-assured, though perhaps not terribly motivated to follow your agenda when it conflicts with his own. His favorite expression is "Is this absolutely necessary?"
All P's: This puppy has a weak self-esteem and needs your reassurance to feel safe. Without proper lessons and socialization, he'll be shy. His favorite expression: "It's been 3 minutes, do you still love me?"
Mix of A and N's: This active puppy will want to be in the middle of everything but will show slightly more impulse control when stimulated. His favorite expression is: "Let's do it again."
Mix of N and P's: This self-assured puppy will be easygoing and gentle yet with a stronger sense of self than a completely passive puppy. Because he's more composed, he'll be an ideal puppy for a calm house with or without children. Favorite expression: "Another back scratching please!"
When we raise our puppies with Puppy Culture, it has made a huge improvement in our grading! Our puppies are more relaxed and confident!