Are puppy temperament tests reliable?
Various tests are utilized to assess the temperament of puppies,
presumably to assist in placement process. Some scepticism about the
reliability of early temperament testing has accumulated over the years,
especially with regards to *** tendencies and *** aggression
-- a behavior problem believed to depend on social learning as well as a
genetic predisposition. A recent study performed by Beaudet et al. (1994)
have questioned the reliability of puppy temperament testing for the
detection of a stable *** factor in the temperament of young dogs.
The researchers evaluated 39 puppies at 7 weeks of age according to the
procedures recommended by Campbell (1992) (arguably the most commonly
employed instrument used by breeders and trainers today) and then again at
16 weeks of age. The results were surprisingly negative.
The study indicates that temperament testing of 7 week old puppies is not
predictive of relative *** when the puppies are re-tested again at16
weeks of age. According to the authors, "the test has no predictive value
regarding future social tendencies. In fact, the total value of the
behavi***scores for social tendencies between the two age groups showed
a trend toward regression from *** to submission" (1994:273). These
findings are consistent with the changing values found between these age
groups by Scott and Fuller (1965). They early on found that relative
*** is a rather fluid social process which becomes progressively
more stable and permanent as the puppy matures.
Beaudet R, Chalifoux A, Dallaire A (1994). Predictive value of activity
level and behavi***evaluation on future *** in puppies. Applied
Animal Behaviour Science, 40:273-284.
Campbell WE (1992). Behavioir Problems in Dogs. Goleta, CA: Amer Vet
Scott JP, Fuller JL (1965). Genetics and the Social Behavior of the Dog.
Chicago, IL: The Univ of Chicago Press.