- What’s a Dog Temperament Test?
Dictionary.com describes the word temperament as "a person's or animal's nature, especially as it permanently affects their behavior."
As a pet professional, it's a matter of safety to know the personality of the dogs you accept into your grooming salon or dog boarding/daycare facility. You don't want to have any surprises like a seemingly mild-mannered pup who suddenly turns into a raging, angry beast when he sees someone wearing a hat or carrying an umbrella.
The dog temperament test can help.
There are Different Types of Dog Tests
The AKC has a test they call the temperament test. It's designed to breed specific temperaments for certain AKC parent clubs. While not geared toward dog daycare owners or other pet professionals, it is helpful to know some of the bits they include.
For example, they "grade" the dog on specific behaviors. Using neutral, friendly, aggressive, or threatening classifications, they test the dog across experiences. From entering new environments to loud noises to visuals like an umbrella opening, the evaluators note how the dog responds.
They also watch how the dog handles different types of surfaces to walk on since pavement, pebbles, sand, concrete all offer a different experience underfoot. Confident pooches will usually adjust well to a variety of situations.
The dog temperament test is different from the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test. The first focuses on the specific breed to develop a deep understanding of the breed profile. The CGC, on the other hand, is open to all dogs and assesses them on ten skills like leash walking and how they greet friendly strangers and other dogs.
Your dog handling experience allows you to create your own behavior assessment though it's useful to see the AKC's version of the temperament test.
Before you get to the meet and greet portion of your assessment, it's useful to "prequalify" your potential new clients.
Your Dog Test Can Start With a Questionnaire
How To Temperament Test A Dog With Questions Through Your Online Forms
As a pet facility owner or manager, you already have a protocol. You know what you expect from the dogs in your environment, and you know you need a dog test or behavior assessment to make sure they're a good fit.
Your questionnaire to potential new clients might include questions like:
You probably have other questions you'd add too. Once they pass this initial online assessment, you can arrange for them to come in for an in-person assessment.
How to Temperament Test a Dog at Your Meet and Greet
Once you agree to a meet and greet, you can take the dog through a series of mini-skills to test his behavior.
The Canine Good Citizen test is a bit advanced, but it has a skills test that includes abilities like walking well on a leash (no pulling) and reactions to other dogs. You'll also want to check for separation anxiety and resource guarding behaviors (of toys or food.)
During the meet and greet, you'll be able to take the dog through your behavior assessment and get a sense of their personality.
As part of the dog test, you might ask them to sit, stay, and shake. You'll see how the dog behaves in a new environment and spot any potential red flags through their body language. Dogs with "airplane ears" and tails tucked between their legs may warm up to the idea of doggie daycare just fine once they get to know you and the place. Or not.
Many pet professionals note the head, neck, ear, and tail position of the dog. Eye contact is also important. Does the dog make it? If so, does it seem friendly, wary, or threatening?
At the bare minimum, you want dog clients who aren't reactionary and aggressive. You can handle dogs who are selective about their playmates or prefer fewer group activities. But you'll want to know if the dog guards resources (treats/toys/food) so you and your staff can make the necessary arrangements.
Eugene, Oregon animal shelters share this protocol for their dog behavior assessments. As a shelter, their standards are probably different than yours, but you'll see they give the dogs a score and then may recommend specific protocols for that dog.
You can do this too. You can use dog tests to make recommendations for your pet parents and connect them with a reputable dog trainer if needed. You may also choose to accept the dog on a trial basis to see how it does. As you know, some dogs need a little time to settle in.
As a dog daycare or boarding owner, you might create a checklist and a grading system for your dogs.
While it's not always clear at first, which dogs will thrive in your doggie environment, a dog temperament test will help you choose the best dogs for your daycare or boarding facility.
Once there, you can have a daily dog report card to assess how well they play in groups, react to new situations, and have quiet time. Some assessments make sense to keep in-house, while others you'll want to share with the dog owners.
Everyone wants to know their dog had fun at your dog daycare or boarding facility. A daily update with pictures and/or video helps those pet parents feel good about their fur kids.
Once you've established your behavior assessment profile, you can easily track meet and greet forms, vaccinations, and other paperwork in one place with our software designed for pet professionals like you.
With a place where everyone can add notes and keep track of doggie temperaments and behaviors, you can help everyone stay safe and happy.
Book a demo and see how our pet business software can help simplify your pet business operations and grow your revenue.