Temperment Testing - Havanese Forum : Havanese Forums
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-14-2009, 01:30 PM Thread Starter
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Temperment Testing

After reading about the "Rat Pack" being temperment tested, I am wondering how temperment testing is done on Hav puppies, what tests are done and how they are done. Will one of you more knowledgable people please fill me in?

Thanks ......
Sharon
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-14-2009, 02:59 PM
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You can google it. I kind of wish my breeder did temperament testing just to see if it turned out right!



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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-14-2009, 03:38 PM
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You can also search on the Forum for it. There is quite a lot to read.

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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-14-2009, 04:03 PM
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When I temperment test my puppies, I have my cousin come over and help me. She does the actual "testing" with the puppies, and I record the outcome on printouts that I have printed online.
She does one puppy at a time, and goes thru the various tests -holding a puppy on it's back, clapping her hands and seeing if the puppy comes to her, watching the reaction when she makes a sudden loud noise, throwing a crumpled piece of paper to see if the puppy will retrieve it and bring it back to her are just a few of the tests. There is a number "score" that you give according to how the puppy reacts to the different tests.
I hope this helps!


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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-14-2009, 04:43 PM
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temperament testing is really unregulaed unguided and varies in its effectiveness. Here is an article and comments by Jean Donaldson.
Everything Has Its Limits

But some trainers and professional behaviorists do question “the test” itself. Although these professionals are not “anti-evaluations” and in fact often perform them, they are concerned that some popular evaluation protocols have never been scientifically validated as accurate predictors of real-world behavior—or, as Jean Donaldson puts it, “have done pretty miserably at validity testing.”

“The concept has become so reified that many shelter workers are more interested in test results than behavior in the real world, which is what the test is supposed to be predicting,” says Donaldson, director of the Academy for Dog Trainers at the San Francisco SPCA.

Experts like Donaldson want shelters to understand that behavior evaluations aren’t a magic pill that will make all your selection and placement headaches go away. Evaluations can’t guarantee a dog will never bite someone, and they can’t identify or predict all undesirable behaviors. They also take time and require trained, experienced personnel. They pose safety risks to staff and can create misunderstandings and resentment; even staff and volunteers who understand the principles behind temperament evaluations may still be upset when a favorite dog is euthanized after repeatedly snapping at the evaluator.

And evaluations can be adversely affected by uncontrollable factors such as stressful shelter environments. Because they are conducted in a kind of make-believe setting, they are limited in their specific predictive abilities. As the HSUS’s Pets for Life Training Centers materials emphasize, assessments don’t allow you to see what a dog’s reaction to actual children or other animals might be in a home environment; a dog who appears indifferent to one cat may attack another cat of different size, age, or temperament. Nor can the assessments accurately predict animals’ responses to completely novel stimuli; every animal encounters new objects daily, a fact that must be strongly considered before declaring any dog “fearful,” “fearless,” or “good for all homes.” Lastly, behavior evaluations cannot safely predict an animal’s relationship with potential owners, and recommending an “experienced owner” for a difficult dog requires some inquiry into the adopter’s past history with dogs.

In short, evaluations can help you get to know the dog—but not the whole dog, and not in all circumstances. You therefore can never place a certified “non-biter” and make the promise that “the dog won’t bite your kids because he passed the behavior evaluation.”

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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-14-2009, 08:19 PM
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Dave, I think Jean's temperament evaluations are very different from the Volhard temperament testing done on young puppies.

In addition, the temperament test that is done at 7 weeks (as talked about in my Rat Pack topic) is only deemed to have meaning if it is done within the correct window of time, by a stanger, and in a location not familiar to the puppies. It is done to show how they respond to very specific situtions with everything new around them (person testing and the environment).
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-14-2009, 08:29 PM
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that could very well be Kimberly. I am not familiar with what you are talking about. This article was referring to the ones carried out by a number of SPCA centers and shelters. Thanks for pointing that out.

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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-14-2009, 08:56 PM
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We stopped doing it because we only ever got 3's and 4's (although we did have it done with our most recent litter mostly to train a person who was interested in learning how to do it). If a Havanese got any 1's or 6's there is a real problem there with either the breeding or the breeder. We also found that there was a lot of variation from one tester to the other-not so much how they scored but how any puppy responded to them. For instance Pam can turn over any puppy (she has done the testing for other breeders-it has to be done by a stranger) and it will immediately relax, while we have seen "handlers" who can not turn over a puppy and it feel comfortable enough to relax. There's more going on there than just turning them over.

Even with the 3's and 4's there are subtle differences from one puppy to the next which will make one more suitable for one home over the other. Only experienced breeders who have raised many puppies and dealt with many different homes will understand which will be more suited for which home. And of course it has to be a breeder to whom this is one of the most important things.

I think maybe it's more important for puppies raised in kennel runs mostly out of contact with their breeders and breeds other than companion breeds. There is too much margin for error tying to make some kind of judgement based on a score sheet unless you are dealing with a puppy from the extremes.

Last edited by Tom King; 03-14-2009 at 08:59 PM.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-14-2009, 09:03 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your input.

Sharon
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-14-2009, 09:25 PM
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Obviously a temperament test is only one teeny piece of the puzzle for a breeder, but I think it is important enough to keep doing and will continue.
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