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CHOOSING THE RIGHT PUPPY FOR THE RIGHT HOME!
Getting a dog or puppy on impulse is rarely a good idea. Remember that dogs, like cars, were designed for a particular function. When the various breeds were originally developed, there was a greater emphasis on the ability to do a job, such as herding, guarding, hunting, etc., than just appearance. If a particular breed interests you, find out first what the dog was bred to do. There are so many different breeds to choose from and if there is a secret to getting that “perfect puppy”, it lies in doing your homework.
DECIDING WHAT KIND OF DOG TO GET The well-trained dog begins with some idea of what role the dog is expected to play in your life and then selecting a dog that is suitable for the job. Following are some of the reasons for selecting a dog: • Companionship; • Playmate for the kids; • Protection; • A special activity, such as hunting, herding, showing in conformation, or competing in performance events; • Status symbol (not wise); or • A combination of the above.
You also need to take into account your own life style and circumstances. For most of us this means a dog that can satisfy our need for companionship, is easily trained and doesn’t require a lot of upkeep.
To help you get the dog you want we have devised a simple test, which is amazingly accurate in predicting inherited behavioral tendencies and how the puppy will turn out as an adult.
WHAT IS PUPPY TESTING? Some of the tests we use were developed as long ago as the l930’s for dogs bred to become Guide Dogs. Then in the 1950’s, studies on puppies were conducted to determine how quickly they learned. These studies were actually done to identify children’s learning stages.
Top Dog Tips: The ideal age to test the puppy is at 49 days of age when the puppy is neurologically complete and it has the brain of an adult dog. With each passing day after the 49th day the responses will be tainted by prior learning.
Later on in the early 60’s more tests were developed to determine if pups could be tested for dominance and submission. These tests determined that it was indeed possible to predict future behavioral traits of adult dogs by evaluating puppies at 49 days of age. Testing before or after that age, effected the accuracy of the results, depending on the amount of time before or after the 49th day.
We took these tests, added some of our own, and put together what is now known as the Volhard Puppy Aptitude Test, or PAT. PAT uses a scoring system from 1-6 and consists of ten tests. The tests are done consecutively and in the order listed. Each test is scored separately, and interpreted on its own merits. The scores are not averaged, and there are no winners or losers. The entire purpose is to select the right puppy for the right home.
Wendy Volhard’s Puppy Aptitude Test © 1981, 2000, 2005 The Tests Consist of the Following:
1. Social Attraction - degree of social attraction to people, confidence or dependence.
2. Following - willingness to follow a person.
3. Restraint - degree of dominant or submissive tendency, and ease of handling in difficult situations.
4. Social Dominance - degree of acceptance of social dominance by a person.
5. Elevation - degree of accepting dominance while in a position of no control, such as at the veterinarian or groomer.
6. Retrieving - degree of willingness to do something for you. Together with Social Attraction and Following a key indicator for ease or difficulty in training.
7. Touch Sensitivity - degree of sensitivity to touch and a key indicator to the type of training equipment required.
8. Sound Sensitivity - degree of sensitivity to sound, such as loud noises or thunderstorms.
9. Sight Sensitivity - degree of response to a moving object, such as chasing bicycles, children or squirrels.
10 Stability - degree of startle response to a strange object.
Puppies come with high, medium or low energy levels. You have to decide for yourself, which suits your life style. Dogs with high energy levels need a great deal of exercise, and will get into mischief if this energy is not channeled into the right direction.