Good Monday morning; we had a pretty busy weekend and it ended with three dogs in the shower and drying well into sunset. Because the dogs had a later day bath they were a bit damp come a very late dinner; Jessie was shivering. So my hubby went and got her a big down comforter; wrapped her up like a burrito and she slowly stopped shivering. Only her eyes were peeking out of the blanket; enough for her to watch us eating our dinner, she doesn't like to miss a thing. But she was very happy to be in there; snug as a bug in a rug.
I've been photographing a lot of puppies lately; love it. From little balls of fluff piled all over each other to 2 week old first attempts at walking up to little rowdies running around brawling. There is nothing like watching puppies; you never need a television if you have a puppy around. It is simply fascinating watching them learn; seeing them take in each new item, event and situation. How they react to everything is very individual; each has very distinct personality traits that make them the dog they are. So each puppy with it's particular temperament will best fit a certain type of family situation and it's human pack members.
This is where puppy temperament testing comes in. I am a huge fan of temperament testing; being a tester myself I witness first hand just how different a litter can be. It is amazing to see each individual reaction as I go through the tests. There are many tests that we do; it takes about 15 min. per puppy. Most good breeders who raise their litters in their home with them have a good read on their pups already. But having a stranger do a temperament sometimes brings out surprises.
When you have a litter of puppies; no matter what breed they are, they quickly establish a hierarchy. Size means nothing; it is all attitude so often the biggest looking puppy is the gentle giant and the tiny frail looking puppy may be the toughest in the litter. But take each of those puppies away from their litter; into an unfamiliar environment all alone with a stranger and see how they react, things can be very different outside the pack. So what does all these different temperament results mean exactly? What it gives the breeder is a look at where each puppy would be suited best to live; or who would be best suited for each puppy. Often a litter is very similar making placements much easier; but sometimes it is quite clear that a particular puppy is best suited to a certain type of home. Maybe a more experienced owner is required, perhaps someone who has time to work with a slightly unsure type of puppy or a person who really wants to train and work with an over achiever. Often prospective puppy owners have a definite something they are looking for; perhaps a therapy dog, a superstar agility performer or a best friend for the children. This is where you can fine tune placement with temperament testing.
Even after many litters I am still fascinated to see the difference within a litter. What a breeder does with puppies can effect a test; puppies who live a sheltered life who are not able to get out and explore different environments, people and items will be more apprehensive. The more they experience in their early weeks makes a huge impact in their later life; it sort of gives them an advantage in life so to speak.
Temperament testing is not the end story; it simply gives you a glimpse into where a puppy would be best placed. From that moment of placing it is up to the new family to move ahead and get the puppy socialized to their new life. Having the puppy that best suits your life and family makes things run a whole lot smoother for everyone involved.