Puppy Aptitude Testing
Here are the ground rules for performing the test

Top Dog Tips: During the test, watch the puppy’s tail to see if its up or down

The tests are simple to perform and anyone with some common sense can do them. You can, however, elicit the
help of someone who has tested puppies before and knows what they are doing.

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 behaviour 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 puppy’s 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 centre 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 centre 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.
• The testing is done in a location unfamiliar to the puppies. This does not mean they have to taken away from home.
A 10-foot square area is perfectly adequate, such as a room in the house where the puppies have not been.
• The puppies are tested one at a time.
• There are no other dogs or people, except the scorer and the tester, in the testing area
• The puppies do not know the tester.
• The scorer is a disinterested third party and not the person interested in selling you a puppy.
• The scorer is unobtrusive and positions him or herself so he or she can observe the puppies’
responses without having to move.
• The puppies are tested before they are fed.
• The puppies are tested when they are at their liveliest.
• Do not try to test a puppy that is not feeling well.
• Puppies should not be tested the day of or the day after being vaccinated.
• Only the first response counts!
In loving memory
Brigitte Block
Phone: (715) 829-1960  |  Email:

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