How to Determine A Puppies Temperament

how to determine a puppies temperament in 4 simple steps petrage blog

Choosing the right puppy can be an exciting but challenging task. After all, you want to ensure that your new pup has the perfect temperament for your lifestyle and needs. That’s where temperament tests come in handy. These simple tests can give you a good indication of a puppy’s temperament and help you make an informed decision.

By assessing key factors such as touch sensitivity, energy level, social dominance, and social attraction, you can get a better understanding of what to expect from your new puppy.

It’s important to remember that these tests are not foolproof and should be used as a tool alongside proper dog training and socialization. Consulting with a veterinarian or a professional in the field of dog behavior can provide further guidance on interpreting the results and ensuring that your new puppy grows up to be a well-rounded companion or even a potential service dog. So don’t rush into choosing a puppy without considering their temperament – take the time to conduct these four simple tests for a better understanding of your future canine companion.

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Four Simple Tests to Determine Temperament

1. Hold the puppy a few inches off the floor.

Observe their reactions closely as they interact with their environment. Here are some common responses you may notice:

  • Normal : Struggles momentarily and settles down, remains calm and curious, taking in their surroundings without any signs of fear or aggression.
  • Dominant : Struggles – howls and may bite, tries to jump out of your hands or assert dominance over other objects or animals in their vicinity.
  • Submissive : Dangles without struggle – urinates – panics

2. Hold the puppy on its back on your lap and speak softly.

  • Normal : Struggle and settle – eventually they will remain calm and relaxed when held on its back. They may even enjoy being in this position, showing trust and contentment.
  • Dominant : A dominant puppy may resist being held on its back, trying to flip over or squirm away from the position. They may display assertive behavior such as growling or nipping, indicating a more dominant personality.
  • Submissive : A submissive puppy will submit and go limp when held on its back. They may appear relaxed or even frightened in this position, showing submissiveness and a more passive nature.

3. Set the puppy on it’s feet on the floor and throw a paper ball or puppy toy.

  • Normal : Chase it – play with it – let you have it back without to much resistance. A puppy with a normal reaction will exhibit curiosity and excitement upon seeing the toy. They might approach it with wagging tails and playful body language, ready to engage in some fun playtime.
  • Dominant : A dominant puppy may show more aggression or possessiveness towards the toy. They might snatch it quickly and guard it from others, displaying signs of dominance such as growling or stiffening their body.
  • Submissive : A submissive puppy may display timidity or fearfulness towards the toy. They might shy away from it or avoid engaging with it altogether, showing signs of submission like cowering or lowering their tail.

4. Crouch down a few feet from the puppy and call him / her to you.

  • Normal : The puppy responds promptly and eagerly comes towards you when called. This indicates a healthy level of responsiveness and a willingness to engage with humans.
  • Dominant : Charge you and jump on you or ignore you. A puppy with a dominant reaction may hesitate or ignore your call initially. Eventually, they may approach you but in a more assertive manner, displaying independence and self-assuredness.
  • Submissive : Come slowly-roll over and give his belly-go to a corner… may urinate when being touched. The puppy might cower, crawl towards you cautiously, or display signs of submission such as avoiding eye contact.
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Volhard Puppy Aptitude Test

There are additional tests and methods to help determine a puppies temperament. One such test is called the Volhard Puppy Aptitude Test. This comprehensive test measures the following:

  1. Social Attraction: Measures how the puppy interacts with people.
  2. Following: Assesses the puppy’s willingness to follow a person.
  3. Restraint: Tests the puppy’s response to being gently restrained.
  4. Social Dominance: Evaluates the puppy’s confidence and assertiveness.
  5. Elevation Dominance: Assesses how the puppy reacts when lifted off the ground.
  6. Retrieving: Measures the puppy’s willingness to retrieve a toy.
  7. Touch Sensitivity: Tests the puppy’s reaction to being touched on different body parts.
  8. Sound Sensitivity: Evaluates how the puppy reacts to sudden loud noises.
  9. Sight Sensitivity: Assesses the puppy’s response to moving objects or people.
  10. Stability: Measures the overall stability of the puppy’s temperament in new situations.

Download the Volhard Puppy Aptitude test and scale and scoring system.

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FAQ – How to Determine a Puppies Temperament

What are the signs of a puppy’s temperament?

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Signs of a puppy’s temperament include how they react to new people or situations, their energy levels and activity levels, how they interact with other dogs or animals, their level of curiosity and exploration, and how they respond to training and socialization efforts.

How can you tell if a puppy will grow up to be friendly or aggressive?

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While it’s not possible to predict a puppy’s temperament with 100% accuracy, there are a few signs to look for. Friendly puppies tend to be curious, approachable, and show a willingness to interact. Aggressive puppies may display excessive growling, biting, or a lack of interest in socializing.

What role does socialization play in developing a puppy’s temperament?

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Socialization plays a crucial role in developing a puppy’s temperament. Exposing a puppy to a variety of people, animals, and environments during the critical socialization period (between 3 to 14 weeks) helps to ensure they grow up to be well-adjusted and confident dogs.

Is it possible to change a puppy’s temperament through training?

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While puppy training can shape a puppy’s behavior and teach them how to respond to certain situations, it’s important to note that a puppy’s temperament is largely influenced by genetics. Training can help a puppy learn how to cope with their temperament, but it’s unlikely to completely change it.

What role does a puppies breed play in temperament?

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The breed of a puppy plays a significant role in determining its temperament. Different dog breeds have been selectively bred for specific traits over generations, leading to distinct characteristics in terms of behavior, energy levels, sociability, and trainability.

Simple Puppy Temperament Test- Final Thoughts

Temperament testing is a valuable tool in determining a puppy’s temperament and can provide valuable information for finding the perfect puppy that fits your lifestyle. By assessing factors such as degree of social attraction, sensitivity, and pack leadership, you can gain insight into how your pup may behave in different situations.

From observing their paws and face to testing their obedience and restraint, these simple tests can reveal important traits such as shyness, aggressiveness, or mischief.

Understanding your puppy’s temperament early on can help guide training methods and ensure a harmonious relationship. So don’t hesitate to conduct these four simple test to help determine a puppies temperament and use your powers of observation to uncover the unique personality of your new pup.

How to Determine a Puppies Temperament Infographic

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