Home Getting A Puppy How to Test a Puppy’s Temperament in 10 Easy Steps

    How to Test a Puppy’s Temperament in 10 Easy Steps

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    How to Test a Puppy’s Temperament in 10 Easy Steps

    It doesn’t matter whether you are looking at a shelter, a breeder or a pet store you’ll want to make sure that you evaluate any potential pet you are considering by knowing how to test a puppy’s temperament.

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    What Is the Goal of Puppy Temperament Testing?

    In essence, you are making a decision about whether or not you and the new puppy are likely to be compatible.  Just as important as it is for your puppy’s personality to match yours it’s also just as important that your personality matches the puppy’s as well.  This isn’t so much about getting the pick of the litter as it is finding the puppy that scores high on your preference scale.

    Perform the Following 10 Temperament Tests on Any Puppy You Are Consideringp>Try and see if you can seek out and isolated area to spend time with the puppies on an individual basis.  It’s easiest to think of yourself as an unbiased tester in this situation.  We know it’s hard but you’ll need to do your best in this puppy aptitude test.  When you are ready perform the following tasks:


    Observe the puppy.

    ou can perform this test prior to handling any puppy and in fact it’s a good idea to do so in order to get a preliminary feel for its personality.  Even better, if there are other puppies in the area how is he interacting with them?

    Is he in the middle of the action or staying off to the side?  Does he take a submissive, dominant or calm position when approached by other puppies?

    Human Puppy Play
    When you engage the dog in a bit of human puppy play you can get a feel for his level of intensity
    Playing Puppies
    By watching playing puppies you can learn a lot about your potential pet’s personality

    Once you’ve gotten the opportunity to observe the puppy a little bit then you’ll want to move on to actually spending time with him.


    Play with the puppy a bit.

    efully you’ll be able to take the puppy to a fairly isolated area.  Once you’ve done this begin playing with him some.  Once you do take notice of how he behaves.

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    Is he relaxed and easy going when you play with him, is he feisty and hyper or is he just content to be petted?  To check for any possessive behavior bring out a toy and watch how he behaves.

    If he immediately begins to covet the item then this may be an early signal of possessiveness.  Over time this can lead to more aggressive behaviors if not corrected with training.

    Hold th

    Hold the puppy.

    ="attachment_757" style="width: 226px" class="wp-caption alignright">Call A Puppy
    When you call the puppy does he follow and listen or ignore you
    Holding A Puppy
    Once you’re holding a puppy, observe how it behaves

    When you pick the puppy up and hold it in your arms how does it behave?  Does it relax immediately or does it squirm some and then relax?  Does it not relax at all and struggle constantly by kicking at you?

    Try and c

    Try and call the puppy.

    her a toy or some kind of treat, move away from the puppy.  As you are moving away notice call to him and see how he listens and behaves.  Does he follow you immediately jumping the entire time or does he follow you in a more considerate manner or does he need to be prodded by you?

    Kneel and p

    Kneel and pet the puppy.

    tachment_759" style="width: 226px" class="wp-caption alignright">Lean Over Puppy
    When you lean over the puppy watch if he hunkers down or remains relaxed
    Pet Puppy
    If you pet the puppy, does it wiggle free or relax and enjoy the attention and affection?

    Get down on one knee or sit in a chair.  Place the puppy between your legs and begin petting him with long strokes.  As you do so notice his behavior.  Does he try to wiggle free?  Does he wiggle some and then relax?  Or does he simply remain still and enjoy the attention?

    Lean over the pu

    Lean over the puppy.

    etween you and the puppy and then walk towards him with the intention of leaning over him.  As you lean over him does he jump up towards your face, hunker down in confusion or does he remain calm and relaxed?

    Kiss your puppy o

    Kiss your puppy on the nose.

    nt_760" style="width: 226px" class="wp-caption alignright">Puppy Kisses
    When you attempt to give the dog puppy kisses does he enjoy it or attempt to bite you back?

    Gently take your puppy’s face in your hands and attempt to kiss his nose.  When you do so does he calmly accept the attention, retract in confusion or does he attempt bite you back?

    Squeeze your puppy

    Squeeze your puppy’s toes.

    l you about how sensitive your puppy is to discomfort.  To do this, gently take your puppy’s paw and squeeze the skin between the toes.

    When you do this does the puppy attempt to attack your hand and stop you?  Or does he simply lick your hand in an effort to get you to stop?  Or does he cower fearfully?

    Try to startle the pu

    Try to startle the puppy a bit.

    can tell that the puppy is not expecting it clap your hands loudly above his head.  What kind of reaction did you get?

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    Did he attempt to attack you?  Did he have little to no reaction other than a glance or did he attempt to withdraw from the sound completely?

    Check to see how attent

    Check to see how attentive the puppy is to you and his environment.

    for a while and give the puppy a chance to lose interest in you for a moment.  Once you can tell that he’s done so simply fall to the ground and pretend to be in pain.

    Does the puppy run over and jump on you or walk calmly toward you and began licking your face or does he retreat in fear?

    What Are the Most Common

    What Are the Most Common Types of Puppy Temperaments?

    style="width: 226px" class="wp-caption alignright">Temperament Testing Puppies
    When temperament testing puppies, you’ll likely notice a combination of different behaviors

    If you’ve read through all 10 puppy temperament tests then you are likely beginning to see a pattern emerge.

    What you’ll notice is that in almost every circumstance there is a situation where a puppy can behave in a more active manner, passive manner or fearful manner.

    In all likelihood you will probably experience a mix of all of these.

    However, puppies that are consistently active in their responses are typically going to require more training and patience.  Puppies that are more passive tend to be easier going although this means that they can be somewhat unresponsive to training.  Lastly, puppies that consistently display fearful behavior are going to require ongoing attention from you.

    While there’s nothing wrong with any of these behaviors you’ll want to think carefully about how your personality meshes with the puppy so that both of you don’t wind up frustrated.

    Does a Puppy’s Tempe

    Does a Puppy’s Temperament Change as They Get Older?

    tyle="width: 226px" class="wp-caption alignright">Puppy Temperament Tests
    Even though initial puppy temperament tests can be a stong indicator of behavior, a puppy’s personality can change as the age

    Like humans a dog’s personality can change with time.  After a puppy has been spayed or neutered you may notice a change in their temperament as well. Other factors such as illness or injury can also temporarily change a puppy’s temperament.

    In general, however, with proper training your puppy’s temperament should remain fairly consistent throughout his adult life as well.

    Now that you know how to test a puppy’s temperament you can feel more confident that you will increase your odds of making a wise choice and being a happy pet owner for many years to come.