Puppy Aptitude Testing (PAT)
We currently have decided to start testing our puppies using this method and test, offered by Volhard. This test was developed by Joachim and Wendy Volhard and is © 1996 Wendy Volhard. (www.volhard.com)
In order for this to be successful (and to know how accurate these results are) we are asking you, our puppy buyers, to participate in the PAT.
Here's how you participate. We will keep records of all of our puppies. As the puppies age (or once they reach adulthood, we will use 2 years as the basis of adulthood) we will send you a questionnaire. This questionnaire will be about your puppy and their behavior/personality/etc. We need this filled out and returned. We will compare each individual puppy to their tested scores at 7 weeks (at 49 days) vs 2 years. Once we have -at least- a minimum of a few years gathered, we will determine just how accurate this test is. But we cannot do this without your help. If you are willing to help us determine temperaments and the future temperaments of our puppies and adults, please mark "YES" on the Puppy Reservation Form (This is filled out when you are interested in a puppy or to reserve a puppy). You will receive an email around their second birthday with the test questionnaire. Please fill it out as best you can and send it back in a timely manner. Please do not alter or lie on the form. We will not judge your dog, we will not take actions, etc. We specifically want to know if this test works well on the BASENJII breed so we need all honest answers. (its been said that it only works on certain breeds.) So I'd like to take it for a "test drive" and see just how accurate it is. Your help is appreciated
Puppy Aptitude Test Guidelines and How-to
are as follows:
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. (w/#1 ) 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.
How to properly
test a puppy:
• The testing is done in a location unfamiliar to the puppies. • The puppies do not know the tester.
• The puppies are tested one at a time. • The puppies are tested before they are fed.
• Do not try to test a puppy that is not feeling well. • Only the first response counts!
• The puppies are tested when they are at their liveliest.
• Puppies should not be tested the day of or the day after being vaccinated.
• There are no other dogs or people, except the scorer and the tester, in the testing area
• The scorer is a disinterested third party and not the person interested in selling you a puppy.
• The scorer is unobtrusive and positions him or herself so he or she can observe the puppies’ responses without having to move.
Top Dog Tips: During the test, watch the puppy’s tail. It will make a difference in the SCORING whether the tail is up or down.
1. Social attraction - the owner or caretaker of the puppies places it in the test area about four feet from the tester and then leaves the test area. The tester kneels down and coaxes the puppy to come to him or her by encouragingly and gently clapping hands and calling. The tester must coax the puppy in the opposite direction from where it entered the test area. Hint: Lean backward, sitting on your heels instead of leaning forward toward the puppy. Keep your hands close to your body encouraging the puppy to come to you instead of trying to reach for the puppy.
2. Following - the tester stands up and slowly walks away encouraging the puppy to follow. Hint: Make sure the puppy sees you walk away and get the puppy to focus on you by lightly clapping your hands and using verbal encouragement to get the puppy to follow you. Do not lean over the puppy.
3. Restraint - the tester crouches down and gently rolls the puppy on its back and holds it on its back for 30 seconds. Hint: Hold the puppy down without applying too much pressure. The object is not to keep it on its back but to test its response to being placed in that position.
4. Social Dominance - let the puppy stand up or sit and gently stroke it from the head to the back while you crouch beside it. See if it will lick your face, an indication of a forgiving nature. Continue stroking until you see a behavior you can score. Hint: When you crouch next to the puppy avoid leaning or hovering over the puppy. Have the puppy at your side with both of you facing in the same direction.
Top Dog Tips: During testing maintain a positive, upbeat and friendly attitude toward the puppies. Try to get each puppy to interact with you to bring out the best in him or her. Make the test a pleasant experience for the puppy.
5. Elevation Dominance - the tester cradles the puppy with both hands, supporting the puppy under its chest and gently lifts it two feet off the ground and holds it there for 30 seconds.
6. Retrieving - the tester crouches beside the puppy and attracts its attention with a crumpled up piece of paper. When the puppy shows some interest, the tester throws the paper no more than four feet in front of the puppy encouraging it to retrieve the paper.
7. Touch Sensitivity - the tester locates the webbing of one the puppy’s front paws and presses it lightly between his index finger and thumb. The tester gradually increases pressure while counting to ten and stops when the puppy pulls away or shows signs of discomfort.
8. Sound Sensitivity - the puppy is placed in the center of the testing area and an assistant stationed at the perimeter makes a sharp noise, such as banging a metal spoon on the bottom of a metal pan.
9. Sight Sensitivity - the puppy is placed in the center of the testing area. The tester ties a string around a bath towel and jerks it across the floor, two feet away from the puppy.
10. Stability - an umbrella is opened about five feet from the puppy and gently placed on the ground.
A - SOCIAL ATTRACTION
Place puppy in test area about four feet from the tester. Tester kneels, leans backwards and coaxes the pup to her/him by clapping hands gently.
Purpose: Degree of social attraction to people, confidence, or dependence.
B - FOLLOWING
The tester stands up and slowly walks away encouraging the puppy to follow. Make sure the pup sees you walk away. Coax puppy to follow by talking to it and attracting its attention.
Purpose: Willingness to follow a person.
C - RESTRAINT
The tester crouches down and gently rolls the pup on its back and holds it down with light pressure with one hand for 30 seconds.
Purpose: Degree of dominance or submissive tendency, and ease of handling in difficult situations.
Fight or Flight Drive
D - SOCIAL DOMINANCE
Puppy sits or stands on crouching tester's left side and tester gently strokes it from the head to back. Continue stroking until a recognizable behavior is established.
Purpose: Degree of acceptance of social dominance by a person.
E - ELEVATION DOMINANCE
The tester cradles the pup under its chest, with both hands, fingers interlaced, palms up and gently lifts it two feet off the ground, and holds it there for 30 seconds.
Purpose: Degree of accepting dominance while in position of no control.
Fight or Flight Drive
F - RETRIEVING
The tester crouches beside the pup and attracts its attention with a crumpled up piece of paper. When the pup shows some interest, the tester tosses the paper no more than four feet in front of the pup, encouraging it to retrieve the paper.
Purpose: Degree of willingness to do something for you. Together with social attraction and following, a key indicator for ease or difficulty in training. Prey Drive
G - TOUCH SENSITIVITY
The tester locates the webbing of one of the puppy's front paws and presses it lightly between his index finger and thumb. The tester gradually increases pressure while counting to 10 and stops the pressure when the puppy pulls away or shows discomfort.* Do not use your fingernail when performing this test. Press between the finger and thumb lightly then more firmly until you get a response.Purpose: Degree of sensitivity to touch and a key indicator to the type of training equipment required.
H - SOUND SENSITIVITY
The puppy is placed in the center of the testing area and an assistant stationed at the perimeter makes a sharp noise, such as banging a metal spoon on the bottom of a metal pan.
Purpose: Degree of sensitivity to sound.
I - SIGHT SENSITIVITY
The puppy is placed in the center of the testing area. The tester ties a string around a bath towel and jerks it across the floor two feet away from puppy.
Purpose: Degree of response to a moving object, such as chasing bicycles, children or squirrels.
J - STABILITY
An umbrella is opened about five feet from the puppy and gently placed on the ground.
Purpose: Degree of startle response to a strange object.
Fight and Flight Drive
The puppy is gently set and held in a natural stance and evaluated for structure in the following categories:
Straight front, Straight rear, Shoulder lay back, Front angulation, Croup angulation, Rear angulation(see diagram below)
Purpose: Degree of structural soundness. Good structure is necessary
What Do the Scores Mean?
Mostly 1’s - Strong desire to be pack leader and is not shy about bucking for a promotion. Has a predisposition to be aggressive to people and other dogs and will bite. Should only be placed into a very experienced home where the dog will be trained and worked on a regular basis. Stay away from the puppy with a lot of 1’s or 2’s. It has lots of leadership aspirations and may be difficult to manage. This puppy needs an experienced home. Not good with children.
Mostly 2’s - Also has leadership aspirations. May be hard to manage and has the capacity to bite. Has lots of self-confidence. Should not be placed into an inexperienced home. Too unruly to be good with children and elderly people, or other animals. Needs strict schedule, loads of exercise and lots of training. Has the potential to be a great show dog with someone who understands dog behavior
Mostly 3’s - Can be a high-energy dog and may need lots of exercise. Good with people and other animals can be a bit of a handful to live with. Needs training, does very well at it and learns quickly. Great dog for second time owner.
Mostly 4’s - The kind of dog that makes the perfect pet. Best choice for the first time owner. Rarely will buck for a promotion in the family. Easy to train, and rather quiet. Good with elderly people, children, although may need protection from the children. Choose this pup, take it to obedience classes, and you’ll be the star, without having to do too much work!
Tidbits: The puppy with mostly 3’s and 4’s can be quite a handful, but should be good with children and does well with training. Energy needs to be dispersed with plenty of exercise.
Mostly 5’s - Fearful, shy and needs special handling. Will run away at the slightest stress in its life. Strange people, strange places, different floor or ground surfaces may upset it. Often afraid of loud noises and terrified of thunder storms. When you greet it upon your return, may submissively urinate. Needs a very special home where the environment doesn’t change too much and where there are no children. Best for a quiet, elderly couple. If cornered & cannot get away, has a tendency to bite
Mostly 6’s - So independent that he doesn’t need you or other people. Doesn’t care if he is trained or not - he is his own person Unlikely to bond to you, since he doesn’t need you. A great guard dog for gas stations! Do not take this puppy and think you can change him into a lovable bundle - you can’t, so leave well enough alone. Avoid the puppy with several 6’s. It is so independent it doesn’t need you or anyone. He is his own person and unlikely to bond to you.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT THE ORIGINAL VOLHARD WEBSITE:
Other Useful links/Resources:
As seen and explained on: http://www.rr.sk/tusani/m/pat_en.htm
Mostly 1's A puppy that consistently scores a 1 in the temperament section of the test is an extremely dominant, aggressive puppy who can easily be provoked to bite. His dominant nature will attempt to resist human leadership, thus requiring only the most experienced of handlers. This puppy is a poor choice for most individuals and will do best in a working situation as a guard or police dog.
Mostly 2's This pup is dominant and self-assured. He can be provoked to bite; however he readily accepts human leadership that is firm, consistent and knowledgeable. This is not a dog for a tentative, indecisive individual. In the right hands, he has the potential to become a fine working or show dog and could fit into an adult household, provided the owners know what they are doing.
Mostly 3's This pup is outgoing and friendly and will adjust well in situations in which he receives regular training and exercise. He has a flexible temperament that adapts well to different types of environment, provided he is handled correctly. May be too much dog for a family with small children or an elderly couple who are sedentary.
Mostly 4's A pup that scores a majority of 4's is an easily controlled, adaptable puppy whose submissive nature will make him continually look to his master for leadership. This pup is easy to train, reliable with kids, and, though he lacks self-confidence, makes a high-quality familly pet. He is usually less outgoing than a pup scoring in the 3's, but his demeanor is gentle and affectionate.
Mostly 5's This is a pup who is extremely submissive and lacking in self-confidence. He bonds very closely with his owner and requires regular companionship and encouragement to bring him out of himself. If handled incorrectly, this pup will grow up very shy and fearful. For this reason, he will do best in a predictable, structured lifestyle with owners who are patient and not overly demanding, such as an elderly couple.
Mostly 6's A puppy that scores 6 consistntly is independent and uninterested in people. He will mature into a dog who is not demonstrably affectionate and who has a low need for human companionship. In general, it is rare to see properly socialized pups test this way; however there are several breeds that have been bred for specific tasks (such as basenjis, hounds, and some northern breeds) which can exhibit this level of independence. To perform as intended, these dogs require a singularity of purpose that is not compromised by strong attachments to their owner.
The remainder of the puppy test is an evaluation of obedience aptitude and working ability and provides a general picture of a pup's intelligence, spirit, and willingness to work with a human being. For most owners, a good companion dog will score in the 3 to 4 range in this section of the test. Puppies scoring a combination of 1's and 2's require experienced handlers who will be able to draw the best aspects of their potential from them.
The results is called the Puppy Aptitude Test (PAT) since it indicates which pup has the most aptitude for the desired task or purpose. The test is administered in a standard fashion to minimise human error. Condition under which testing takes place are as follows:
Ideally, puppies are tested in the 7th week, preferably the 49th day. At 6 weeks or earlier the puppy's neurological connections are not fully developed. (If the test is conducted between 8 - 10 weeks, the puppy is in the fear imprint stage and special care must be taken not to frighten it).
Puppies are tested individually, away from dam and litter mates, in an area new to them and relatively free from distractions. It could be a porch, garage, living room, yard or whatever. Puppies should be tested before a meal they are awake and lively and not on a day when they been wormed or given their puppy shots.
The sequence of the tests is the same for all pups and is designed to alternate a slightly stressful test with a neutral or pleasant one.
There is less chance for human error, or the puppies being influenced by a familiar person, if the tests are administered by someone other than the owner of the litter. A friend of the owner, or the prospective buyer can easily learn to give the test.
I found it helpful to arrange the tests in a concise chart form following the order in which they are given. In addition, since I found it difficult to use Campbell's scoring code, 1I simply gave each response a number. While testing numerous puppies, the Volhards found that a number of puppies showed responses not on Campbell's test. These observations are included in the test with an apostrophe in order to differentiate them from Campbell's original tests. The Pfaffenberger tests were also given a number so that all scores can be compared and a chart was devised for checking a puppy s total performance at a glance.
Also included in the Obedience Aptitude Tests is a section on structure. Over 60 breeds conform to what "conventional body type", that is 45 degree angulation front and rear. The greater the deviation from this norm, the less efficiently the dog will be able to perform obedience exercises. Other impediments to efficiency are HD, cowhocks, east-west feet, crossing in front or rear when gaiting.
A simple guide to follow for puppies at this age (7 - 8 weeks) is "what you see is what you get" notwithstanding the all too familiar assurance, "Don't worry, he'll grow out of it". Be particularly wary of the statement, "he's not much of a conformation dog but he'll do fine in obedience".
This could mean the dog is perhaps mismarked or has light eyes but is structurally sound. However, often it means the dog has a serious structural fault. This dog will be unable to take the strenuousness of training and competing in the obedience ring. If you feel that evaluating structure accurately is above your head, seek competent help.
Last but not least, the prospective puppy testor must have a chance to observe the parents of the litter, preferably both parents but at least the dam. If the sire and/or dam have characteristics which are not desirable there exists a good chance some, if not all, of the puppies will have inherited these undesirable traits.
The safest and easiest thing to do when faced with parent dogs of undesirable temperament is simply to look for another litter of pups whose sire and dam more closely conform to your ideals. If you must have a pup from this litter pay particular attention to the test scores of the litter and do not select a pup which shows any tendency towards undesirable traits.