DECEMBER 2006

HI THERE,

Another puppy aptitude test was developed in Sweden to test a puppy's potential as a working dog. The test is again done in an environment which is new and strange to the puppy and the test leader is a person whom the puppy has never met before. The test is also conducted when the pup is 7 weeks old and includes the following exercises:

To determine the puppy's independence and self confidence, the following tests are done: (a maximum time of 5 minutes is allocated to determine the pup's reaction). Confident and independent pups will take longer to react to the challenge of being alone and away from their littermates for the first time in their lives.
1.Isolate the pup alone in a strange room - record the time of its first whine or whimper.
2.Leave the pup in the room and note the time for the pup's first distress call; this is normally a high pitched howl.

To determine a pup's social interaction with strangers, the following is done:
3.The test leader is to sit passively in a room. An assistant is to place the pup in the room with the test leader. The test leader will record the time the pup takes to move towards him and make contact (maybe only through sniffing the test leader's shoes). The pup's reaction is measured on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being where the pup is very scared and tries to avoid contact with this strange human, and 5 being where the pup makes immediate, high intensity contact with the unknown test leader.

Retrieving drive and willingness to work are determined with the following exercises:
4.The pup's tendency to run after and fetch a rolling ball/article: maximum time allowed to attempt to get any reaction from the pup is 3 minutes. Some pups are just not interested in this exercise.
5.If the pup shows interest in exercise 4, the tendency to run after the ball/article and retrieve it (or carry it to another area) is again measured on a scale of 1 to 5. No reaction, not running after the ball scores 1, while 5 is scored where the pup runs out, picks the ball up and returns it to the test leader and completes this exercise three times.
Reaction to a strange object is then tested:
6.A very big article (like a beach ball) is placed in the centre of the room. A pup scores 1 if it refuses to approach the ball even if the ball is rolled by the test leader in an attempt to entice the pup to play. The pup scoring 5 approaches the ball and plays confidently on its own without the test leader's assistance.

Social competition and protection instinct are determined by the following exercise:
7.The pup is allowed to play/fight with a soft cloth. The pups not approaching the cloth score 1, while the pup holding and pulling, shaking its head as if killing prey, scores 5.

The pup's level of activity is then determined with the following exercises. The test leader is to sit passively (not interacting with or talking to the pup) in a room with 4 articles (of which at least 1 article the pup has never seen before) placed on the floor before the test leader's feet for the pup. Articles could be: a small toy, a piece of cloth, the big ball from the previous exercise and a hair brush as the completely unknown article. Maximum time allowed for the test is 5 minutes.
8.How busy is the pup? Does it lie down, move all the time, carry the articles around or play with the articles? The number of visits for the allocated 5 minutes to the different articles (including the test leader, who is also regarded as an article in this test) is recorded.
9.The time it takes for the puppy to make the first contact with the passive test leader. Does it first investigate the articles, or does the pup immediately go to the test leader for reassurance?
10.The pup's level of curiosity is established by counting the number of visits to each of the 4 articles and the "unresponsive" test leader in the allocated time of 5 minutes. The pup might show more interest in the unknown articles, visiting these more often than the ones he is used to.

The potential working dog will move around all the time, investigate and play with the articles first, before making contact with the passive person in the room. The working dog will also show interest in all the different articles, not only in familiar ones. He will not be scared of the strange articles like a hair brush and a beach ball (which he has probably never seen before.) The pup will be keen on retrieving and play fighting with the cloth and will be sociable with (not aggressive towards or scared of) strangers.