Volhard Puppy Aptitude Test

Below is a brief summation of the scoring and tests we use during the Volhard Puppy Aptitude Test.

Let me start by saying that I do not believe you can put a puppy through one test at 7 weeks old and determine how he’s going to be for the rest of his life. There is so much more that is going to impact a puppy as he grows and develops. Environment, training methods, and proper socialization are going to hugely impact how your puppy turns out.

However, I do believe that the test can help give an idea of the puppy’s underlying personality.
The test also shows what areas the puppy may need some work in. It can show me if a certain type of home may not be the best fit for a puppy. For example, a puppy that reacts in a more dominant manner, would not the best choice for a first time puppy owner, or home with small children.

We use the Volhard Puppy Aptitude Test as a tool and as a guide to conduct the testing. I take the scoring interpretations into consideration but also factor in my experience from handling and interacting with the puppy for the past 7 weeks to determine the final outcome.

Here is what we do for the Puppy Temperament Test:

The test is done one puppy at a time in a room that the puppy has never been in. The tester is someone the puppy is not familiar with.

Social Attraction:
The tester sits on the floor and encourages the puppy to approach him if needed.

Willingness to Follow:
The tester walks and encourages puppy to follow.

The tester lays puppy on his back and holds him down in that position. This is done gently and not in a harsh or forceful manner.

Social Dominance:
The tester sits the puppy beside him and strokes the puppy from his head down his back.

Elevation Dominance:
The tester lifts the puppy up with all four paws off of the ground and holds him parallel to the floor.

Tester crinkles up a piece of paper into a ball and throws it for the puppy to see if he will bring it back.

Touch Sensitivity:
Tester applies pressure to the webbing between the toes to see puppy’s response.

Sound Sensitivity:
An assistant makes a loud noise outside of the puppy pen.

Sight Sensitivity:
I also call this the Likelihood to Chase! Tester has a towel attached to a string that he pulls across the floor.

Tester opens an umbrella in the testing area and lays it on the floor to see if the puppy will investigate.

The puppies are scored on their reactions getting a number for each section. The numbers are 1-6. Ideally you want a puppy with mostly 3’s and 4’s.

To sum it up in a few short sentences: 3’s and 4’s represent a more easily trainable pup. They are typically confident but not dominant in nature. 3’s tend to be more active than 4’s. If you have a puppy scoring a lot of 1’s and 2’s, they tend to be more dominant in nature and could be more challenging to train. 5’s and 6’s are at the other end and can be sensitive, insecure, and may need special handling.

Don’t panic if your puppy has an undesirable score in a certain area, you may not have a puppy that is just straight 3’s and 4’s. What is important is determining how the puppy can best be worked with so he can improve. They are still puppies after all!