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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wimzi and Sascha Puppy Test

Wimzi being elevated and remaining calm.

Sascha had lots of licks to give

At 49 days old is the best time to do a puppy personality profile test. Per Gail Tamasas and Wendy Volhard who wrote the document on the specifics of testing procedures, scoring and interpretation of the results of PAT, at 49 days old, EEGs demonstrate that puppies have the brain waves of an adult dog but are as yet minimally affected by experience and learning. They go on to say that while they have learned to use the inherited behaviors which make them dogs, they have not yet had a range of experiences to influence the test results so we are able to test a virtually clean slate.

At 49 days, the tests will reveal the raw material of the puppy's individual temperament. Thereafter, environmental experiences may influence a puppy's responses and we can't be certain we are getting a true reading of his behavioral tendencies.

Although we do believe this puppy testing is a good indicator of the temperament of a pup, we don't do this test to pigeon hole certain dogs and make assumptions about them, we do it to gather information about how to better teach the dog to reach its full potential and to place this pup in the most appropriate home, if we ever intend to place a pup. Along with this test is an old school leader test that should be given to pups at the same age. When collars and leashes are placed on pups for the first and the tester simply walks away from the pup holding the leash, the puppy's response is graded on a 1-4 with a 1 being full leader potential all the way down to a 4 which means, according to the test, that the dog will never make it as a leader or even a contributing member of the team.

I love to tell the story of one of our leaders, Zala. Zala is now 2 year old and tested as a group 4 puppy. When the leash was tightened as the tester moved forward, Zala just sat and refused to move. After several attempts, Zala still would not move. Having this information only changed the way we interacted with and trained Zala. After two years of training, this winter, Zala spent the majority of her time up in lead with a copilot and did quite the awesome job.

Just because someone or something, in this case the test, tells you something can't be done. Don't just accept it and give up on whatever it is, be it a dog, a person, a task or a dream. Do whatever you can to make some changes and try some new strategies in order accomplish the end result you want.

Now on to the Wimzi and Sascha test results! Our friend Shilon of Black Ice Dog Sledding has tested several of our litters over the years and her input has helped us to create the ideal kennel for us. Again, she agreed to provide input on Wimzi and Sascha.

Both girls tested as Group 1+ puppies in the leader test and they both scored mainly twos and threes in the Puppy Personality Profile test which means that they are both self confident and have the boldness and assurance that will make them excellent working dogs. We just don't take these results and let it ride, hoping they will then just be able to train themselves. Self confident dogs need to have a strong bond with their human in order to respect them and then therefore do things for them. The self confident dog also needs to be eager- to- please otherwise you could end up with a dog up front in your team that doesn't care which way you want to go because they have plans! Self confident dogs need to be challenged in different ways through obedience training, agility and canicross hiking which will all help build that special bond between canine and human.

Stay tuned in years to come for updates on how these two little girls progress!

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