Puppy Aptitude Test

Tova puppy upside down like a racoon (feet all pointing down like a baby)Breeders use puppy aptitude tests for many reasons. Some hope to predict the future obedience champion, others are looking for specific traits. I really don't put a lot of stock in them if you live with and know your puppies - you don't NEED a test! But, sometimes it's helpful in putting to paper what you already knew - and being able to share this information with the puppy's new owner in a concrete way.  I also found it helpful when we had the litter of eleven - keeping 11 almost identical puppies straight was difficult and it would have been easy to mistake puppy A for doing puppy B's antics!

An aptitude test is an overview of his personality to help the new owner understand his little quirks and what training methods might work best. This is the test we use. We administer the test and don't allow someone else to do it. Reason? Because some of these "tests" can be quite stressful on a young puppy - and to have various "potential" owners (who may have no idea what they are doing - or even why) testing your puppies may scare the puppy! The test is administered very close to a fear period and if administered incorrectly may CAUSE problems. Therefore, at a relaxed time, when the puppy is not stressed we administer the test and share the results with the owner of the pup.

There are no good or bad scores. Every home is different and every puppy is different. The goal is to match the right pup to the best home for that particular puppy. Based on the results, we give you some general suggestions for training and what to expect from this puppy. Expect generally low aptitude for retrieving and strong prey/chase drive and dominance measurements just because they're Malamutes! With conscientious training and lots of socialization every puppy is a great puppy!


Test Purpose Scoring
  Following Measures a puppy's desire to be leader and to challenge authority by leading puppy. 1 - comes fast and immediately
2 - comes immediately but not fast
3 - dawdles, but comes
4 - comes but is distracted
5 - does not come
6 - ignores or cowers
 Social Attraction Measures a puppy's desire to be with humans by calling puppy. 1 - gets underfoot, bites feet
2 - gets underfoot
3 - follows closely, happily
4 - follows if the group goes
5 - follows hesitantly or waits and lets the group go
6 - will not follow (may be fearfulness, laziness, lack of interest)
Restraint Measures resistance to being dominated by humans by holding the puppy on it's back gently/firmly. 1 - struggling fiercely, growling, biting, thrashing
2 - struggling constantly, does not relax but does not growl or bite
3 - struggling, relaxing, eventually accepting restraint
4 - weak struggle, relaxes quickly
5 - relaxes immediately
6 - freezes, avoids eye contact, too intimidated to struggle
Social Dominance Measures the ability to maintain a working relationship with the evaluator after restraint, domination by observing behavior when released from restraint. 1 - jumping, pawing, biting when released (not intimidated, not influenced by evaluator's dominance)
2 - jumping and pawing, interest in evaluator
3 - snuggles, licks, makes attempts to placate
4 - remains nearby, but does not paw or indicate interest
5 - walks away and begins to play with others
6 - walks away, then turns and stares, refuses to return (independent and belligerent)
Elevation Measures a puppy's determination to maintain control by lifting the puppy off the ground. 1 - struggling fiercely and continuously to get down
2 - wiggles but not fiercely
3 - relaxes and accepts being held
4 - seems to enjoy being held
5 - freezes but is not fearful
6 - freezing in fear
Retrieve Measures the desire to play by human rules by throwing object to retrieve. (Some feel this is useful to determine obedience title aptitude) 1 - trots out, picks up and returns object to evaluator
2 - chases, pounces, runs off with object to play with alone
3 - trots out, looks at object closely, but does not pick up object
4 - starts to chase, but loses interest and wanders away
5 - does not even start to chase
6 - ignores evaluator's efforts and object
Touch Sensitivity Measures pain threshold when gently pinched with increasing amount of pressure. 1 - no response, tolerates being very uncomfortable
2 - wiggles to get away, but does not indicate discomfort
3 - yelps but forgets immediately and continues on
4 - yelps and cries
5 - yelps loudly and more intensely than expected
6 - yelps loudly and more intensely than expected, and may continue to sulk afterwards
Sound Sensitivity Measures response to sudden loud noise with sharp unusual noise from behind 1- looks up and runs to investigate
2 - looks up and shows curiosity
3 - looks up, but is not startled
4 - startled and loses composure momentarily
5 - startled and loses composure, cringes
6 - fearfully startles and attempts to hide or get away
Prey/Chase drive Measures desire to run after an object and "kill" it by pulling object across the floor. (or in Mals, hunting ability and desire ;-) 1 - chases intensely, pounces immediately, bites and shakes
2 - chases but does not pounce, may carry away object
3 - moves toward object, touches to investigate
4 - moves toward object, interested
5 - ignores efforts to get puppy to notice object
6 - runs or hides from object
Stability Measures confidence and curiosity by unusual object placed on floor while puppy watches. 1 - goes toward it, immediately mouths it and tries to pull it about as a new toy
2 - approaches confidently, but does not touch it immediately
3 - approaches more reluctantly, investigates without mouthing/manipulating
4 - approaches, but backs off when close to object
5 - does not approach object
6 - backs away and hides
Energy Level Measures need for action/activity and exercise by observing general overall movement. 1 - very busy, bounces, pounces, runs and moves rapidly with random activity
2 - playful and busy, but with a sense of purpose
3 - walks or trots with a sense of purpose
4 - alternating periods of activity and sleepiness
5 - slow to rouse, long periods of sleepiness, occasional activity 6 - sleepy, always content, moves slowly and purposefully


What does the test mean for this puppy?
Activity level for this puppy?
Sociability/aloofness of this puppy? Willingness to please?
Firmness, consistency, preferred training methods for this puppy?
Security level of this puppy (confidence level, separation anxiety, etc.)
Sensitivity level of this puppy to it's environment (firmness of corrections, quiet-time needs)?
Personality!!! Favorite activities and toys?

Stormy the puppy with her paw in a bucket that says Palmolive dish soap
Dahhhling, you should have known I would be a Diva! (Stormy)