Temperament Testing

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Temperament Testing

Postby Amie » Thu Mar 31, 2011 8:50 pm

What do you use? A prescribed program or your own creation? Please describe
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Re: Temperament Testing

Postby GuardianAMBULL » Fri Apr 01, 2011 4:12 pm

Quite frankly... my gut!
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Re: Temperament Testing

Postby Amy Hendrickson » Fri Apr 01, 2011 5:41 pm

My gut but I also used a modified SAFER test. Mine is much harder and it's on going during the dog's time in foster care.
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Re: Temperament Testing

Postby Megan » Fri Apr 01, 2011 7:33 pm

If you don't mind, I'd like to add onto this for those that work at a shelter :

How many shelters actually do a temperament test? Is this something that most shelters just don't have the resources and/or time to do? Do they just do a basic test?
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Re: Temperament Testing

Postby buckaroo » Fri Apr 01, 2011 8:16 pm

If the dog doesn't eat the community service workers, then it's probably good.
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Re: Temperament Testing

Postby Amy Hendrickson » Sat Apr 02, 2011 2:18 pm

It's going to depend on the shelter and their community resources. The shelter where I used to live in NC....they hired people who couldn't get a job anywhere else...literally. It was pretty sad. There was mostly killing and no temperament testing and certainly no-one going the extra mile to do anything unless it was leaving early on Friday.

Then there's the shelters where I live now that are more urban, have more people around to care and more money. They do the best they can but they don't do any serious temp testing. The city shelter relies on the SPCA to come and T-test dogs they may want for their programs. They do minimal dog to dog testing and walk them by the cat cages for a "cat test". That's about the extent of it.
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Re: Temperament Testing

Postby laiinkyree » Sat Apr 02, 2011 8:27 pm

The test I do is the following:

1)Response to strangers:
a) have tester outside of room knock on the door, gauge dog's response.
b) Tester comes into room and attempts to greet the dog, speaking in a high pitched voice and sitting down. Gauge dog's response. Does it want anything to do with tester, or is it trying to get as far away as possible?

2)Check out sensitive areas:
Tester sits either on the floor or chair, depending on how large the dog is. While petting, tester gently pulls on ears and tail, squeezes feet, and neck ruff. How does dog respond to each of these?

3) sound sensitivity:
While dog is not paying attention, drop a metal bowl onto a non-carpeted floor. Gauge dog's reaction.

4) Play response:
tester tries to engage dog in play. How does the dog respond? If the dog does want to play, how does it play? does it mouth/bite?

5) Resource Guarding:
a) Food: place bowl of food on the ground and let begin to eat. Use a fake hand to attempt to pet the dog and reach for the bowl. How does the dog respond?
b)High value treat: Give the dog a high value treat such as a rawhide. use a fake hand to attempt to pet the dog, and take the treat away.
c) toys: if the dog is interested, engage a dog in play with a toy. How does the dog react when you try to take the toy away?

I do all of those before taking the dog into the rescue. After settling into a foster home, we will introduce them to other dogs to determine how they are with them. If anyone has any other tests, I would love to hear them and add them to my list :)
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Re: Temperament Testing

Postby merriterrier » Wed Apr 06, 2011 7:22 pm

I use the SAFER test at the shelter(work).
On my own, I use a modified SAFER test to help determine suitability to pull. Like Amy; a large part of the evaluation occurs in the foster home and is on a ongoing basis.
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Re: Temperament Testing

Postby DogNerd » Sat May 07, 2011 3:26 pm

I test for our rescue and our rescue takes dogs that failed the shelter's temperament or medical evals. Over the years, I have developed a pretty good sense for what to look at based on what the dogs failed for. I also check who did the testing because that is an important component. In other words, I trust some more than others. I can honestly say though, that the biggest thing that goes into my test is gut reading. Here are the things that we do differently from the shelter though: we take the dogs out into the yard and ignore them for a while before doing anything at all to them. We let them sniff around, eliminate, run if they feel like it, etc.. The shelter testers give them a potty break and then take them right back inside to a get acquainted room to proceed with the test. Some of the dogs fail in their kennels before even making it outside. I don't really care about kennel presentation at first. I just get a leash on and get them out however I can. Sometimes it does require sitting in there with them for a while before I can get the leash on but once they are outside, I leave them alone. Eventually most will start wanting to interact once they have explored etc.. At that time, I gauge what to do based on the dog. I try to get them to run around with a toy or ball and get some of the nervous energy out. Slowly (or quickly, depending on the dog) I increase what I do with them. Some I will want to try to amp up and calm back down to see how easy that is. Others, I will do a lot of handling. I usually don't do a food test unless they failed for food guarding. The last thing I do and almost always do it with another person is a dog-dog test. Our shelter is not allowed to drop leashes during their dog-dog testing but we can. That is another thing that we do based on gut. There are some that I feel comfortable doing it with almost right away and others that I never feel comfortable with. We have never had an incident doing this and I've been with the rescue over 10 years. We use our own dogs and fosters for dog-dog tests and often test with a pack. Ultimately we accept or decline dogs based on the resources we have at the time and what sorts of foster homes we have available. The importance of that gut piece of what we are doing though can't be overstated. It also can't be quantified unfortunately... or trained.
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Re: Temperament Testing

Postby merriterrier » Mon May 16, 2011 11:08 am

:goodpost:

There is so much to consider. It is hard to say "this is the one and only way to determine suitability for rescue." I think it is necessary to look at the dog and the situation from all angles.
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Re: Temperament Testing

Postby Amie » Mon May 16, 2011 7:20 pm

We do a modified SAFER upon intake of owner surrenders, so that we can let them know if we think the animal won't be able to join our adoption program and they can make the decision to take the animal home, or understand that it may go to another rescue or be euthanized, depending on the situation. We do a more thorough SAFER exam of animals transferred in after they've been in our kennels for one day (rather than the three suggested by the test, to get them out sooner) - animals that need more time to adjust are given it.

We've been talking about changing that procedure lately, and to prepare for further discussion, I spent some time researching assessment tests this week, and came across a shelter across the country (I think it was San DIego?) that left me appalled. The second item on the test was seeing if the dog would allow a dental check, and maybe four or five on the test was a hug. It just seemed incredibly invasive and unfair.
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Re: Temperament Testing

Postby Amie » Tue May 17, 2011 8:26 am

Found it: http://www.sdhumane.org/site/PageServer ... ssessments

I remembered the numbers wrong, but I still find the test overall to be unnecessarily invasive. I don't think it's fair to expect a dog to tolerate blatantly rude behavior. I'm sure many of them can - Liberty would pass the whole thing easily, I know. But it bothers me.
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Re: Temperament Testing

Postby buckaroo » Tue May 17, 2011 10:24 pm

Without more information, that seems OK to me. It's hard to tell without knowing how they interpret the test scores afterwards. That list doesn't say anything about the specific pass/fail process. What constitutes a failure of each step and how does a failure of a step effect the decision making process? What is a safe hug?

In general though, nobody wants a dog who has to be muzzled at the vet because he snaps and growls during an exam. Looking at a dog's teeth may be rude, but it's going to happen occasionally.

It would be more enlightening to see what they do with the testing information and what a dog has to do to pass or fail.
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Re: Temperament Testing

Postby Melody » Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:06 pm

I don't do rescue anymore, but I do temperament tests/evaluations for other rescues and shelters in the area. I use a modified Blue Dog temperament evaluation, and I always video tape. I have a secondary handler that I've trained so they can spot things I may miss (ex: whale eye if I'm at the rear of the dog, etc...) I evaluate dogs I've never met before, so there's no previous association.
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