At Groodle Doodle Ranch, we tests puppies at 7 weeks (49 days) with the Volhard's Puppy Aptitude Test. This test helps us determine which puppy is best suited for your family.
Volhard's Puppy Aptitude Test
Author: Wendy Volhard
Place the puppy in test area. From a few feet away the testor coaxes the pup to her/him by clapping hands gently and kneeling down.Testor must coax in a direction away from the point where it entered the testing area.
Degree of social attraction, confidence or dependence.Degree of social attraction, confidence or dependence.
1. Came readily, tail up, jumped, bit at hands
2. Came readily, tail up, pawed, liked at hands.
3. Came readily, tail up.
4. Came readily, tail down.
5. Came hesitantly, tail down.
6. Did not come at all.
Stand up and walk away from the pup in a normal manner. Make sure the pup sees you walk away.
Degree of following attraction. Not following indicates independence.
1. Followed readily, tail up, got underfoot, bit at feet.
2. Followed readily, tail up, got underfoot.
3. Followed readily, tail up.
4. Followed readily, tail down.
5. Followed hesitantly, tail down.
6. No following, or went away.
Crouch down and gently roll the pup on his back and hold it with one hand for a full 30 seconds.
Degree of dominant or submissive tendency. How it accepts stress when socially and/or physically dominated
.1. Struggled fiercely, flailed, bit.
2. Struggled fiercely, flailed.
3. Settled, struggled, settled with some eye contact.
4. Struggled, then settled.
5. No struggle.
6. No struggle, straining to avoid eye contact
Let pup stand up and gently stroke him from the head to back while you crouch beside him. Continue stroking until a recognizable behavior is established.
Degree of acceptance of social dominance pup may try to dominate by jumping and nipping or it is independent and walks away
.1. Jumped, pawed, bit growled.
2. Jumped, pawed.
3. Cuddles up to testor and tries to lick face.
4. Squirmed, licked at hands.
5. Rolled over, licked at hands.
6. Went away and stayed away
Bend over and cradle the pup under its belly, fingers interlaced, palms up and elevate just off the ground. Hold it there for 30 seconds.
Degree of accepting dominance while in position of no control
.1. Struggled fiercely, bit growled.
2. Struggled fiercely.
3. No struggle, relaxed.
4. Struggled, settled, licked.
5. No struggled, licked at hands.
6. No struggle, froze.
Crouch beside pup and attract its attention with crumpled up paper ball. When the pup shows interest and is watching, toss the object 1 to 2 meters in front of pup.
Degree of willingness to work with a human. High correlation between ability to retrieve and successful guide dogs, obedience dogs, field trial dogs.1. Chases object, picks up object and runs away.
2. Chases object, stands over object, does not return.
3. Chases object and returns with object to testor.
4. Chases object and returns without object to testor.
5. Starts to chase object, loses interest.
6. Does not chase object.
Take puppy’s webbing of one front foot and press between finger and thumb lightly, then more firmly till you get a response, while you count slowly to 10. Stop as soon as puppy pulls away or shows discomfort.
Degree of sensitivity to touch.
1. 8 - 10 seconds before response.
2. 6 - 7 seconds before response.
3. 5 - 6 seconds before response.
4. 3- 4 seconds before response.
5. 1 - 2 seconds before response
Place pup in centre of area. Testor of assistant makes a sharp noise a few feet from the puppy. A large metal spoon struck sharply on a metal pan twice works well.
Degree of sensitivity to sound (also a rudimentary test for deafness).1. Listens, locates sound, walks towards it barking.
2. Listens, locates sound, barks.
3. Listens, locates sound, and walks there curiously.
4. Listens, locates sound.
5. Cringes, backs off, hides.
6. Ignores sound, shows no curiosity.
Place pup in centre of room. Tie a string around a large towel and jerk it across the floor a few feet away from the puppy.
Degree of intelligent response to strange object.1. Looks, attacks and bites.
2. Looks, barks and tail up.
3. Looks curiously, attempts to investigate.
4. Looks, barks, tail-tuck.
5. Runs away, hides.
The puppy is gently set in a natural stance and evaluated for structure in the following categories:
Degree of structural soundness. Good structure is necessary.Good: The puppy is correct in structure.
Fair: The puppy has a slight fault or deviation.
Poor: The puppy has an extreme fault of deviation.
Puppy Apptitude Test Test Chart
RetrievingTouch SensitivitySound SensitivityStability
Straight FrontShoulder AngulationShoulder LaybackCroup AngulationStraight RearRear Angulation
Dog’s name: ___________________________________
Testing Date: ___________________________________
Further Comments: ______________________________________________________________
INTERPRETATION OF SCORES
This dog is extremely dominant and has aggressive tendencies. It is quick to bite and is generally considered not good with children or the elderly. When combined with a 1 or 2 in touch sensitivity, will be a difficult dog to train. Not a dog for the in experienced handler; takes a competent trainer to establish leadership.
This dog is dominant and can be provoked to bite. Responds well to firm, consistent, fair handling in an adult household, and is likely to be a loyal pet once it respects its human leader. Often has bouncy, outgoing temperament: may be too active for elderly, and too dominant for small children.
This dog accepts human leaders easily. Is best prospect for the average owner, adapts well to new situations and generally good with children and elderly, although it may be inclined to be active. Makes a good obedience prospect and usually has a common sense approach to life.
This dog is submissive and will adapt to most households. May be slightly less outgoing and active than a dog scoring mostly 3’s. Gets along well with children in general and trains well.
This dog is extremely submissive and needs special handling to build confidence and bring him out of his shell. Does not adapt well to change and confusion and needs a very regular, structured environment. Usually safe around children and bites only when severely stressed. Not a good choice for a beginner since it frightens easily, and takes a long time to get used to new experiences.
This dog is independent. He is not affectionate and may dislike petting and cuddling. It is difficult to establish a relationship with him for working or as a pet. Not recommended for children who may force attention on him; he is not a beginner’s dog.
a) When combined with 1’s (especially in restraint); the independent dog is likely to bite under stress.
b) When combined with 5’s the independent dog is likely to hide from people, or freeze when approached by a stranger.
No clear patterns (several 1’s, 2’s and 5’s):
This dog may not be feeling well. Perhaps just ate or was recently wormed. Wait two days and re-test. If the test still shows wide variations (lots of 1’s and 5’s), it is probably unpredictable and unlikely to be a good pet or obedience dog.
3 in Social Attraction and Social Dominance:
The socially attracted dog is more easily taught to come and is more cuddly and friendly. Its interest in people can be a useful tool in training, despite other scores.
1 in Restraint and 1 in Touch Sensitivity:
The dominant aggressive dog, insensitive to touch, will be a handful to train and extremely difficult for anyone other than an exceptionally competent handler.
5 in Stability:
This is likely to be a “spooky” dog which is never desirable. It requires a great deal of extra work to get a spooky dog adapted to new situations and they generally cannot be depended upon in a crisis.
5 in Touch and Sound Sensitivity:
May also be very “spooky” and needs delicate handling to prevent the dog from becoming frightened.