NAVIO

PUPPY APTITUDE TEST

puppy (color, sex) ________________ litter ______________________ date ____________

TEST PURPOSE SCORE 1
SOCIAL ATTRACTION:
Place puppy in test area. From a few
feet away the tester coaxes the pup
to her/him by clapping hands gently
and kneeling down. Tester must coax in
a direction away from the point where it
entered the testing area.
Degree of social
attraction, confidence
or dependence.
-Came readily, tail up, jumped, bit at hands.
-Came readily, tail up, pawed, licked at hands.
-Came readily, tail up.
-Came readily, tail down
-Came hesitantly, tail down.
-Didn't come at all.
1
2
3
4
5
6
FOLLOWING:
Stand up and walk away from the
pup in a normal manner. Make sure
the pup sees you walk away.
Degree of following
attraction. Not
following indicates
independence.
-Followed readily, tail up, got underfoot
bit at feet.
-Followed readily, tail up, got underfoot.
-Followed readily, tail up
-Followed readily, tail down.
-Followed hesitantly, tail down.
-No follow or went away.
1

2
3
4
5
6
RESTRAINT:
Crouch down and gently roll the pup
on his back and hold it with one
hand for a full 30 seconds.
Degree of dominant or
submissive tendency.
How it accepts stress
when socially/
physically dominated.
-Struggled fiercely, flailed, bit.
-Struggled fiercely, flailed.
-Settled, struggled, settled with some
eye contact.
-Struggled then settled.
-No struggle.
-No struggle, straining to avoid eye contact.
1
2
3

4
5
6
SOCIAL DOMINANCE:
Let pup standup and gently stroke
him from the head to back while
you crouch beside him.
Continue stroking until a
recognizable behavior is established.
Degree of acceptance
of social dominance.
Pup may try to
dominate by jumping
and nipping or is
independent and walks
away.
-Jumped, pawed, bit, growled.
-Jumped, pawded.
-Cuddles up to testor and tries to lick
face.
-Squirmed, licked at hands.
-Rolled over, licked at hands.
-Went away and stayed away.
1
2
3

4
5
6
ELEVATION DOMINANCE:
Bend over and cradle the pup under
its belly, fingers interlaced, palms
up and elevate it just off the ground.
Hold it there for 30 seconds.
Degree of accepting
dominance while in
position of no control.
-Struggled fiercely, bit, growled.
-Struggled fiercely.
-No struggle, relaxed
-Struggled, settled, licked
-No struggle, licked at hands.
-No struggle, froze.
1
2
3
4
5
6


TEST PURPOSE SCORE 1
RETRIEVING:
Crouch beside pup and attract
his attention with crumpled up
paper ball. When the pup shows
interest and is watching, toss the
object 4-6 feet in front of pup.
Degree of willingness
to work with a human.
High correlation
between ability to
retrieve and successful
guide dogs, obedience
dogs, field trial dogs.
-Chases object, picks up object and
runs away.
-Chases object, stands over object,
does not return.
-Chases object and returns with object
to testor.
-Chases object and returns without
object to testor.
-Starts to chase object, loses interest.
-Does not chase object.
1

2

3

4

5
6
TOUCH SENSITIVITY:
Take puppy's webbing of one
front foot and press between *finger
and thumb lightly then more firmly
till you get a response, while you
count slowly to 10. Stop as soon as
puppy pulls away, or shows
discomfort.

*Do NOT use fingernail.

Degree of sensitivity to
touch.
8-10 counts before response.
6-7 counts before response.
5-6 counts before response.
2-4 counts before response.
1-2 counts before response.

1
2
3
4
5

SOUND SENSITIVITY:
Place pup in the center of area,
testor or assistant makes a sharp
noise a few feet from the puppy.
A large metal spoon struck
sharply on a metal pan twice
works well.
Degree of sensitivity to
sound. (Also can be a
rudimentary test for
deafness.)
-Listens, locates sound, walks toward
it barking.
-Listens, locates sound, barks.
-Listens, locates sound, shows
curiosity and walks toward sound.
-Listens, locates the sound.
-Cringes, backs off, hides.
-Ignores sound, shows no curiosity.
1

2
3

4
5
6
SIGHT SENSITIVITY:
Place pup in center of room. Tie
a string around a large towel and
jerk it across the floor a few feet
away from puppy.
Degree of intelligent
response to strange
object.
-Looks, attacks and bites.
-Looks, barks and tail up.
-Looks curiously, attempts to
investigate.
-Looks, barks, tail-tuck.
-Runs away, hides.
1
2
3

4
5

STABILITY:

An umbrella is opened about five feet
from the puppy and gently placed on the ground.

Degree of startle response to a strange object.

Fight and Flight Drive.

-Looked and ran to the umbrella, mouthing or biting it.
-Looked and walked to the umbrella, smelling it cautiously.
-Looked and went to investigate.
-Sat and looked, but did not move toward the umbrella.
-Ran away from the umbrella.

-Showed no interest.

1
2
3
4
5
6
STRUCTURE:
The puppy is gently set in a
natural stance and evaluated for
structure in the following
categories:
Straight front
Straight rear
Shoulder layback
Front angulation
Croup angulation
Rear angulation

(see diagram below)

Degree of structural
soundness. Good
structure is necessary.
-The puppy is correct in structure.
-The puppy has a slight fault or
deviation.
-The puppy has an extreme fault or
deviation.
good
fair

poor

VOLHARD APTITUDE TEST
© 2003 Wendy Volhard; reprinted here with permission
WWW.VOLHARD.COM

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Interpreting the Scores



The remainder of the puppy test is an evaluation of obedience aptitude and working ability and provides a general picture of a pup's intelligence, spirit, and willingness to work with a human being. For most owners, a good companion dog will score in the 3 to 4 range in this section of the test. Puppies scoring a combination of 1's and 2's require experienced handlers who will be able to draw the best aspects of their potential from them.

Important note from Wendy Volhard...regarding the Touch Sensitivity test - Do not use your fingernail when performing this test. Press between the finger and thumb lightly then more firmly until you get a response.

Developed by Joachim and Wendy Volhard © 2003 Wendy Volhard. May be reprinted, whole and unedited, for distribution free of charge and for educational purposes only.

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