Temperament Testing Puppies
"There is no perfect puppy, only a puppy that is perfect for you"
What is temperament testing and why are they important?
Temperament testing is a series of tests that some breeders perform on puppies to help predict their temperament as adults. These tests give us an insight into what a puppy will accel at as an adult for example in Golden Retrievers they might be used to predict which dogs will be best at retrieving, search and rescue, search and rescue or companions. We have gone through formal temperament training for the APET, Volhard and BAB tests however we use a combined modified version that we feel better fits the characteristics of our breed and the needs of our buyers. Corgis were originally bred to herd livestock. That was their job and we still see many herding traits in the breed today. We realize that few of our dogs will be used for herding but instead most will become loving family pets therefore we focus on tests that will help our buyers select the right puppy for their lifestyle.
Are they accurate?
The temperament of a dog is a result of genetics, the environment and their experiences through their lives therefore a dogs temperament is not set at birth. Temperament traits are normally categorized as a Stable Trait or a Tweakable Trait. Stable traits are traits that remain the same throughout the life of the dog while tweakable traits can change with training and socialization. So both the breeder and owner is responsible for the final temperament of the dog. I personally use temperament test results when selecting pups for my breeding program.
More on Stable and Tweakable traits
- Energy Level
- Focus -this can be on humans, dogs or the environment
- Motivation or Biddability
- Prey Drive* We do not focus on this trait in our breed
Tweakable Traits* We work on these traits daily through our puppy program
- Resiliency – how they deal with stressful situations
- Touch tolerance
- Sound sensitivity
- Sight sensitivity
Tweakable traits are worked on daily here through our puppy training program. Since we work on these traits daily, we normally see very little difference between puppies on these traits. We give you resources to continue on with this training once the puppy goes home through socialization, experiences and training. These traits can easily be worked on and changed through 6 months of age and even up to a year old.
What about the stable traits? These are the traits that we will need to match to your lifestyle and family needs. For example, if you are a highly active family you are not going to want a couch potato dog that has no desire to go hiking with you. I will say that as a whole Corgis are moderate plus to high on the energy scale. There are not many couch potatoes. If you have small kids you are going to want a forgiving dog that is not going to go hide behind the couch or growl if he gets tripped over by a toddler. We will offer suggestions on how to deal with these traits as well.
Remember, there is no perfect dog. All will have traits that you would like to change. You have to decide if you can live with the trait or not.
What do we look at and what tests do we perform?
2. Energy Level: As a whole, Corgis are very energetic dogs. They all will require time for exercise and play but some will require more time than others. Their mind is always working and they will need mental stimulation as well as physical exercise. We find that some people who are very active want a high energy pup while other would prefer a lower energy dog. High energy pups will also probably do better if the buyer has a backyard. I will warn you that children are not babysitters for Corgi puppies. When children get ramped up running and screaming, a puppy will also get ramped up and quickly spin out of control.
Even though Energy Level is a stable trait (traits that remain through life), we find that Corgis normally become calmer and like to snuggle more as they age. Most of our pups will have a moderate energy level for a Corgi. Sometimes I will get one that is less energetic but that is rare. We do have certain lines will produce more energetic pups.
3. Focus: As a whole, Corgis are very focused on their environment. They will quickly let you know when anything is out of place or is something new is added to the living space. They are often described as “does not listen.” I feel that part of this is purely the fact that they are heavily focused on their sniffing out their environment. Most of our dogs will have a moderate focus on the environment. Sometimes we get those that are obsessed with sniffing and checking out something new. When this happens they do not listen to their owners.
4. Forgiveness: Forgiveness is a dogs reaction to something that is negative for example being stepped on, tripped over, etc. We feel that this is an important trait to look at for families with small children or elderly people. Dogs that are unforgiving will go and hide when something happens while those who are forgiving will shake it off and come back to their people. Dogs that are unforgiving do not do well in homes with yelling and may be difficult to groom. Our pups are almost always forgiving pups.
5. Motivation: Most Corgis are motivated to work and help. They are almost ALL Food Motivated. This makes training very easy using treats but on the other hand they often become resource guarders. This will be something that you will have to work on.
6. Assertiveness: Most Corgis are very bossy. I always tell people that they are a big dog in a little body. Dogs left intact can and most likely will be assertive with other dogs. We will look at how assertive they are with humans.