Rocky Mountain Companion Dog Temperament Testing 

Temperament testing is a tool breeder/trainers can use to gauge the inherent attributes of a dog's personality. These TRAITS have been inherited and can predict the way a dog will behave in certain situations. For puppies, very basic coping strategies are measured and recorded, letting us know which direction to take their socialization and foundation training.  We can use these test scores YEARS later - often if a personality quirk were to pop up with no apparent reason, we can look back at the pups temp. scores and see that the basis is probably in a low score to sound sensitivity for example.  Temperament evaluations are performed on very young puppies and adults alike.   We measure certain attributes begun the second our dogs walk through our door, and begin taking notes the moment pups are born. Through careful observation of the dog's "baseline" reactions and inherent coping mechanisms, we gain an at-a-glance understanding of the dog's behaviors  before and after our influence. 

Temperament score charts can be plotted and tracked throughout the dogs training program.   We can easily track improvements and obstacles over time. When alterations or improvements need to be made with at home performance, we can look back on the dog's training progression to help with that.

The observation for puppies born here at Fennario begins right from birth, tracking their sleeping and waking hours, activity levels and responses to their immediate surrondings in the early days of life.

Once their eyes are fully open and they have become accustom to the sights and sounds of their whelping area, we allow them to find their own way out of their "den". This tells us who will be less confident and who will be bold and sassy.  

As they grow, before the pups go to their families and friends, we can see how our influence prepared the wallflowers for the big bad world.  If further direction would be needed to quell the bold pups curiosity.

UNDERSTANDING THE NUMBERS:

The scores are ranged from one to ten, based on reaction or non reaction to stimuli. Generally speaking, dogs with a 1-2 score are highly reactive: hyper, shy or nervous. This does not mean to say these traits are undesirable or "low".  For instance,  a  Border Collie needs to be a super quick cooperative thinker. A 1-2 prey drive score is perfect for a bird dog. 

The higher the number, the more mellow or aloof - "uncaring" the dog's inherent personality will be.   A dog receiving a 9-10 for Social attraction has no desire for people and would prefer to be left alone entirely.  A dog with a nine ten swallowing compulsion will not even chew toys or use it's mouth to manipulate objects AT ALL. Rare....but it happens.

A Companion Dog's personality or TEMPERAMENT will fall somewhere in the middle. A nice balance easily moved one way or the other on the scale of reaction.   This makes for an easily trained dog that will slip into many lifestyles.  The dog being used as a COMPANION means different things to different people, and Fennario's breeding program strives to keep our dog's easy to live with in today's modern society.

The categories listed concern human-dog relationships and therefore do not concern with hunting or herding prowess. We DO include some aspects of Livestock Guardian Dog temperament as we need to capture and nuture some facets of that behavior to keep for Therapy and Service work.  Occasionally, we are asked to create a dog or two that will manage property and estate patrol, or actual Livestock Guarding. In that instance, our temperament scores and charts of training progress are an indispensable tool. They allow us to track temperament in our lines and manage the balance, never going too far in either direction of one (reactive or shy) to ten (non reactive or bold.)

The paired numbers are to give the breeder/trainer the slight sense of nuance thats needed for dealing with a live animal. Nothing is absolute in this world, including temperament scores. There is always a little variant and the sliding scores give us that little bit of wiggle room.   

Depending on the training program, or life stage observations we are working with at the time, these scores can be charted and graphed to show the dog's progress or decline over time and in conjunction with diet or medical  reasons causing behavior changes.

All of this observation and scoring helps us at Fennario institute the correct training program, and set realistic goals for both dog and future RMCD owners.   We can spot challenging behaviors and advise on how to make adjustments as needed to our waitlist matches and our breeding program.

Future RMCD owners can plan appropriately for the future of their dog; being made aware of temperament adjustments made, and what to watch for if conditioning starts to slip.  The goal is to make training a quick and easy experience.  Raising your dog shouldn't break your bank or timetable - we do everything we can to make sure that holds true for your future relationship with our dogs.

1.. Social attraction: How much does the dog want to be with people.  Does the dog prefer people over other dogs?  Do they work to get at a human entering the room? (1) or not even look up? (10)

2. Following: Does the dog follow humans without encouragement? To the bathroom even?  (1)or turn in the other direction and keep going? (10)

3. Restraint:  cries and flips upside down when restraint is attempted(1) Goes limp and becomes uncooperative "plays possum".(10)

4. Social dominance: Is the dog a wallflower? never engaging the room? (1) Does the dog need to be the center of attention? Engaging everyone in the room? (10)

5. Does the dog show heightened emotion? Wagging and panting constantly? Or are they very stoic, turning their heads away when petted? (10)

6. Job oriented Tasking: How willing are they to do something FOR you, with no benefit to themselves?

7. Are they sensitive to brushing? All over their body?  How much pain do they have to be in before they show it?

8. Sound Sensitivity :  Do they flee at a loud noise? (1) or not even react? (10)

9. Sight Sensitivity: How much movement to they catch out of the corner of their eye? Are small white fast moving objects a point of obsession for them? (1) or ignored (10)?

10 Stability:  How easily does the dog recover from a difficult or traumatic event? Do they hide for hours after an object falls next to them? (1) or do they seem to not even have noticed it fell? (10)

11. Barking/Vocal/pitch: This is perhaps the most complicated score to give and HAS TO be observed and recorded over a period of time, sometimes as long as two weeks.  The source,  physical accompaniment (hops when barking, snaps jaws together), range of sounds and ability to stop barking when told to (with no training) are all taken into factor and scored on the dogs inherent reaction with it's voice.  Frenzied warnings at leaves blowing by are considered (1). Low one shot barks for a true threat (10) - the tendency not to bark at all is (5)

12. Destructive: Toys are shredded and destroyed within minutes, regardless the material (1). Toys are never altered by regular play. Ripping sounds do not attract the dog 10)

13. Human object awareness: (1) The dog seems to think everything grew up out of the ground and has no respect for man-made things (10) The Dog seems to fear anything that is not natural and cannot grasp the physics we create.

14. Boundaries/Barriers:  Does the dog draw itself back from a closing door? Seem to draw it's own "line in the sand?" (10) Does the dog view every barrier as a puzzle that MUST be solved?

15. Swallowing compulsion: Does the dog swallow everything it puts in it's mouth? Including objects for surgical removal? does the dog not swallow anything ever but food if it has to?(10)

16. Petting: Does the dog quiver with excitement and immediately get up and wiggle when petted on any part of its body? (1) Does the dog shy and move away or seem to be irritated by petting on any part of its body?

17. Neat/Cleanliness: Does the dog avoid mudpuddles? Eat delicately and drink silently, rarely spilling? (1) Does the dog roll in stinky things, tromp through mud and fling water everywhere when drinking? (10)

18. Prey drive: Does the dog seem to look for animals to chase? Does it desire to immediately rip the squeaker out of toys then abandon them? (1) Does the dog not seem to know what a squeaker or cat actually are? (10)

19. Flight/Fight/Freeze: When faced with a perceived threat: Is the dogs first reaction to Run away from it?(1)  Try to fight or bite it? (5) Stay completely still, seeming to hope it will pass or observe and see what happens next (10)?

  1. Adherence to breed standard:  The dog is neither physically nor temperament fit into standard. (1)

The dog Fits the standard perfectly.