SUREFIRE SHEPHERDS

surefireshepherds@earthlink.net

 

This is the Puppy Aptitude test that we do at SureFire Shepherds.  Please visit the Volhard website for additional information.  http://www.volhard.com/pages/pat.php

Following are the tests that are part of the Volhard method.

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 puppyís 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. 

SCORING THE RESULTS

Following are the responses you will see and the score assigned to each particular response.  You will see some variations and will have to make a judgment on what score to give them.

 

 Test           
 
 Response                        
 
   Score
 SOCIAL ATTRACTION
 
Came readily, tail up, jumped, bit at hands
 
1
 
 
 
Came readily, tail up, pawed,  licked at hands
 
2
 
   Came readily, tail up
 
3
 

 
Came readily, tail down
 
4
 

 
Came hesitantly, tail down 5
 

 
Didnít come at all 6
 
FOLLOWING
 
Followed readily, tail up, got underfoot, bit at feet
 
1
 

 
Followed readily, tail up, got underfoot 
 
2
 

 
Followed readily, tail up 
 
3
 

 
Followed readily, tail down   
 
4
 

 
Followed hesitantly, tail down   
 
5
 

 
Did not follow or went away   
 
6
 
RESTRAINT
 
Struggled fiercely, flailed, bit
 
1
 

 
Struggled fiercely, flailed   
 
2
 

 
Settled, struggled, settled with some eye contact   
 
3
 

 
Struggled, then settled   
 
4
 

 
No struggle   
 
5
 

 
No struggle, strained to avoid eye contact
 
6
 
SOCIAL DOMINANCE
 
Jumped, pawed, bit, growled   
 
1
 

 
Jumped, pawed   
 
2
 

 
Cuddled up to tester and tried to lick face   
 
3
 

 
Squirmed, licked at hands   
 
4
 

 
Rolled over, licked at hands   
 
5
 

 
Went away and stayed away   
 
6
 
ELEVATION DOMINANCE
 
Struggled fiercely, tried to bite   
 
1
 

 
Struggled fiercely   
 
2
 

 
Struggled, settled, struggled, settled   
 
3
 

 
No struggle, relaxed   
 
4
 

 
No struggle, body stiff   
 
5
 

 
No struggle, froze   
 
6
 
RETRIEVING
 
Chased object, picked it up and ran away   
 
1
 

 
Chased object, stood over it and did not return   
 
2
 

 
Chased object, picked it up and returned with it to tester   
 
3
 

 
Chased object and returned without it to tester   
 
4
 

 
Started to chase object, lost interest   
 
5
 

 
Does not chase object   
 
6
 
TOUCH SENSITIVITY
 
8-10 count before response   
 
1
 

 
6-8 count before response   
 
2
 

 
5-6 count before response   
 
3
 

 
3-5 count before response   
 
4
 

 
2-3 count before response   
 
5
 

 
1-2 count before response   
 
6
 
SOUND SENSITIVITY
 
Listened, located sound and ran toward it barking   
 
1
 

 
Listened, located sound and walked slowly toward it   
 
2
 

 
Listened, located sound and showed curiosity  
 
3
 

 
Listened and located sound   
 
4
 

 
Cringed, backed off and hid behind tester  5
 

 
Ignored sound and showed no curiosity  
 
6
 
SIGHT SENSITIVITY
 
Looked, attacked and bit object   
 
1
 

 
Looked and put feet on object and put mouth on it   
 
2
 

 
Looked with curiosity and attempted to investigate, tail up   
 
3
 

 
Looked with curiosity, tail down   
 
4
 

 
Ran away or hid behind tester   
 
5
 

 
Hid behind tester   
 
6
 
STABILITY
 
Looked and ran to the umbrella, mouthing or biting it   
 
1
 

 
Looked and walked to the umbrella, smelling it cautiously   
 
2
 

 
Looked and went to investigate   
 
3
 

 
Sat and looked, but did not move toward the umbrella   
 
4
 

 
Showed little or no interest   
 
5
 

 
Ran away from the umbrella   
 
6
 




WHAT DO THE SCORES MEAN?

The scores are interpreted as follows:

Mostly 1ís -

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

Top Dog Tips: Stay away from the puppy with a lot of 1ís or 2ís.  It has lots of leadership aspirations and may be difficult to manage.  This puppy needs an experienced home.  Not good with children. 

Mostly 2ís -
   
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 3ís     -

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 4ís     -

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 youíll be the star, without having to do too much work!

Tidbits: The puppy with mostly 3ís and 4ís 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 5ís     -

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 doesnít change too much and where there are no children 
Best for a quiet, elderly couple 
If cornered and cannot get away, has a tendency to bite

Top Dog Tips: Avoid the puppy with several 6ís.  It is so independent it doesnít need you or anyone.  He is his own person and unlikely to bond to you. 

Mostly 6ís     -

So independent that he doesnít need you or other people 
Doesnít care if he is trained or not - he is his own person  Unlikely to bond to you, since he doesnít 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 canít, so leave well enough alone

INTERPRETING THE SCORES

Few puppies will test with all 2ís or all 3ís - there will be a mixture of scores. 

For that first time, wonderfully easy to train, potential star, look for a puppy that scores with mostly 4ís and 3ís.  Donít worry about the score on Touch Sensitivity - you can compensate for that with the right training equipment.

Tidbits: Itís hard not to become emotional when picking a puppy - they are all so cute, soft and cuddly.  Remind yourself that this dog is going to be with you for 8 to 16 years.  Donít hesitate to step back a little to contemplate your decision.  Sleep on it and review it in the light of day. 

Avoid the puppy with a score of 1 on the Restraint and Elevation tests.  This puppy will be too much for the first time owner. 

Itís a lot more fun to have a good dog, one that is easy to train, one you can live with and one you can be proud of, than one that is a constant struggle.