Chaos Temperament Test

Chaos’ Temperament Test

Chaos was tested when 64 days old, 4 days after he arrived here. Usually the temperament test is done at 49 days, so his age should be taken into account when comparing his results to any of my litters’ results.

The main difference I see between the police/narcotics test and the SAR test is the attitude of the tester. In the police test, the tester is very quiet, talking little and using very little body movements. No other people are present and the environment is kept quiet. In the SAR test, the tester is enthusiastic and uses lots of verbal praise and body movements to get the pup “up” and gives lots of praise. Other people are present, walking around, talking, and generally making for a noisy, busy environment. This would fit well with the ultimate purpose of the dogs being tested for both types of training. In police work the dog must be able to dig down deep inside himself or herself to find the courage and aggression to confront a criminal and/or to search independently and at great distance from the handler. In SAR the handler is usually closer to the dog and is able to praise and encourage him, especially in extended searches. There is also generally all kinds of activity and distraction at a search scene so the dog must be able to filter out the extraneous activity and focus on her job. Both tests are fascinating to watch as is the difference in the pups’ responses in each test.

The Police Dog/Narcotics Dog Temperament Test:


Results are listed in bold after the description of each part of the Test. 


1.  Acceptance/Attachment        The first test involves evaluating the pup’s acceptance of the strange place and its willingness to interact with the stranger.  Ideal reaction is eye contact and interest in the stranger but no sign of nervousness in the interaction (we don’t want a “Protect me!” attitude), followed by visual investigation of the surroundings and then a return of attention to the tester.  Above Average. Nice! No problem with adjustment.


2.    Pain Sensitivity       The loose skin over the ribs is gently pinched and the pup’s reaction is noted. Ideal reaction is to notice the pinch but be unconcerned by it. We also look for a willingness to forgive the tester. Excellent.


3.  Retrieve       Next, willingness to retrieve is evaluated using different toys: a stuffed toy, and a tennis ball.  Ideal reaction is to repeatedly being the toy back to the handler rather than moving off to “possess” it. The type of bite on the toys is evaluated:  a full mouth bite shows more confidence and drive than a front-teeth-only bite. Average. Somewhat interested in other things as well. Easily encouraged.


4.  Perseverance           Then perseverance is evaluated by seeing how enthusiastically they will pursue, grab hold, and tug on a sack.  Ideal reaction is to pursue enthusiastically, grasp with a full mouth bite, tug and do everything possible to posses the sack. We like to see a pup get its whole body on the sack in an effort to subdue it. High Average. Very nice. Looked at other objects.


5.  Courage and Aggression      Next, courage and aggression was evaluated using a battery-operated train which whistled, blew and moved erratically. Will they stand their ground? Will they go investigate it?  Excellent reaction is to go to the moving, clanking train and check it out.  Extremely excellent reaction is to actually attack it while it moves.  Good reaction is to investigate it after the tester turns it off.  The tester encourages the pup to investigate after it is turned off, if it wouldn’t while it was moving.  She notes how much encouragement is needed. Excellent. Did everything but pick it up.


6.    Fear          Then a metal pan filled with metal items (horseshoes, nails, bolts, etc.) is dropped behind them from a height of about 2 feet while they are looking away from it. Will the pup hold its ground and then go look at what dropped from nowhere?  Excellent reaction is to acknowledge and turn towards the sound and then confidently go see what made the racket.  The tester encourages the pup to investigate, if it doesn’t on its own.  She notes how much encouragement is needed.  I find most of my pups look towards the racket and keep on playing with the toy they had, rather than stopping their play to go investigate. Excellent. Looked at rocks in can and then went about business.


7.    Surprise     The last test involves getting the pup to chase you (or a toy or the burlap sack) towards a doorway, from behind which an umbrella is opened suddenly and then lowered to the ground, still open. They are evaluated on how they recover from being startled and if they’ll go investigate.  Ideal reaction is for the pup to startle but hold its ground, then move right up to check out the umbrella.  A super excellent reaction is to go up and bite it and/or walk all over it.The tester encourages the pup to investigate after the umbrella is on the ground, if it doesn’t on its own.  She notes how much encouragement is needed.  Above Average. Not fair test, as helper couldn’t get umbrella opened on first attempt and Chaos saw him. Chaos had no problem, looked at umbrella and investigated person.


Search And Rescue Test


Submission Test   The submission test is designed to give an idea of the pup’s tractability, trust in humans, and willingness to submit to a human’s directives. In the submission test the pup is held firmly on its back for a short period of time.  The tester counts the seconds it takes for him to resist, then accept, the restraint.  She should not passively accept the restraint, nor should she panic or show avoidance of eye contact.  Ideal reaction is to resist, then submit and look the tester in the face. We also look for a willingness to forgive the tester. Above Average. 5 seconds. Was squirming. Made eye contact one time.


Unstable Footing   Since SAR dogs will search in all kinds of terrain and areas of destruction, they must be confident in insecure situations.  Since the pups were used to a plastic tarp, which we usually use in this test, we placed an end of a metal crate on a grate. No problem.


Hunt for Toy   The tester will play with the pup with a toy, then suddenly hide it under the tarp or other object (in this case the low dogwalk) to see if the pup will search for it, using its nose. Above average. Pretty good—couldn’t decide which toy he liked better.


Hunt for Food As part of the game she’s playing with the pup, asking it to use its nose to find pieces of food, the tester will place pieces of food under the tarp and low dogwalk so that the pup must actively use its nose to find all the food.   Above average. Very good. Fairly systematic.


Tester Comments: Nice pup. Very solid, courageous. Has a good bit, full-mouthed with toys and pull toy. Nice reaction to train and umbrella. Gets along with other dogs as well. Good nose—found food easily and liked looking for it, followed directions of handler. Nicely encouraged. Great little boy!