Temperament Test


Evaluation developed by: Laddie Nethercutt
Schutzhund trainer and evaluator with over thirty years of experience in training and trials, Mr. Nethercutt has attained SchH III titles on 15 canines. Laddie has trained German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois and Bouviers. He has traveled overseas to compete at Schutzhund trials in Germany and Italy. Laddie now resides in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma where he conducts private training classes and continues to train and compete with Dax, his Belgian Malinois.

Mr. Nethercutt never sees the puppies before testing. Each puppy is tested for social attraction, degree of dominance or submission, tracking, obedience, and bite work. The results of the testing are used to evaluate obedience, protection, and schutzhund potential

Social Attraction (confidence or dependence)
Puppies meet a stranger (human and canine) in a new environment or setting. The pups' reactions are evaluated as to how they accept the stranger and adapt to new smells, sounds, tactile sensations, and sights.

Degree of Dominance or Submission
The puppy is played with then placed on its back and gently held down. The trainer watches to see if the puppy struggles to free itself from this position or submits and lies still. When the puppy is released, its response is evaluated (i.e. runs to the handler for comfort and protection, plays happily with a toy, etc.) The handler then makes strange noises and movements to see how the puppy will react to unfamiliar stimuli.

The puppy is carried to a baited (food) trail, then set down and observed. The handler watches to see how interested the puppy is in finding the bait and how long the puppy will continue searching for the bait with his head down and nose to the ground on the trail. While the puppy is working the trail, the handler provides distractions…clapping his hands, stomping his feet, and tossing an object onto the baited trail while watching to see if the puppy stays on the trail.

While the puppy and handler are playing, an object (ball or sheet of crumpled paper) is shown to the puppy then tossed a few feet in front of the puppy. The handler watches to see whether the puppy will retrieve the object, investigates then plays with the object, picks up the object then releases it when asked, takes the object and leaves with it, or just sits and watches the object.

Bite Work
The handler holds one end of a dumbbell or bite dummy and plays with the puppy. When the puppy bites and holds, the trainer will gently pull back and hold the object above the puppy's head. The trainer then evaluates how much the puppy wants and needs that toy and how long the puppy will attempt to obtain the object.

This method of testing is an aid we use to determine puppy selection and placement. We have found this testing to be a valuable and reliable tool for predicting temperament and working ability. However, it is not a guarantee that a puppy will reach its full potential. The temperament and working ability of an adult dog depends on the nutrition, training, socialization, and love it receives throughout its life.

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"There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face." -- Ben Williams