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Akita Behaviour & Temperament - Page 7

Puppy Evaluative Tests


Fortunately, a fairly reliable method of testing young dogs to determine how willingly they accept authority has come out of all the research on dog behavior. Originally developed for guide dog organizations to aid in selection of promising youngsters, these tests are valid for other applications as well. Information about the PAT or PET (Puppy Aptitude Test, Puppy Evaluation Tests) is available from many sources. Gail Fisher and Wendy Voihard published a long article in the March, 1979, and in the 1985 AKC Gazettes on administering and interpreting the test Mrs. Volhard also sells a pamphlet and scoresheet which you can obtain by writing her at: RD 1, Box 518, Phoenix, NY 13135, (315) 593-6115.

PATs are usually done initially at around seven weeks. Puppies are born with an immature brain which should be fully functional at about this time. The first administration should be indicative of the puppy's natural tendencies before his environment has had much impact. Subsequent tests will show changes because of outside influences. Tests are given in an area new to the puppy and by a stranger.

The first section of the test deals with social attraction and dominance measures, and you can use these yourself to select a puppy with an appropriate temperament for you even if no testing has been done on the puppies you are looking at.

First, the puppy should be removed from his littermates and observed in a room or area away from them. You want to see how the puppy interacts with people, not with other dogs, and how he interacts with you.

Quick Puppy Evaluation

First, sit on the floor and call him in a friendly voice. If he comes to you, notice whether his tail is up and wagging or tucked. Does he come willingly or slowly and reluctantly? Don't give up if the puppy wanders around exploring first or doesn't immediately respond to you.

Next, get up and walk around slowly, talking cheerfully to the puppy. Watch what he does. If he follows you, see where he positions himself and how he carries his tail.

These measures of social attraction are followed by two measures of dominance and a third test which indicates the puppy's reaction to them. Sit back down on the floor and gently roll the puppy over on his back. Place your hand across his chest, then restrain him and observe his reaction, After about 20 seconds, let the puppy up. Bend your face down to his, gently stroke his back and talk to him. See what he does.

Last, pick the puppy up by placing your hands on either side of his chest behind his legs. Interlace your fingers together to provide support for his ribs and let him hang in the air. Again, observe his reactions.



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