Volhard Puppy Aptitude Test

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Volhard Puppy Aptitude Test

Postby Maryellen » Fri Feb 02, 2007 9:41 am


Revised January 2003

Developed by Joachim and Wendy VolhardPUPPY APTITUDE TEST
This score sheet has been prepared for the convenience of those who have
Dog Training For Dummies by Jack & Wendy Volhard (IDG Books, 2001),
which contains the information necessary for accurate results
and the correct interpretation of the scores.

Click here for Printer Friendly version

© Wendy Volhard 2003

Puppy (color, sex) ________________ litter ______________________ date ____________


Place puppy in test area about four feet from the tester. Tester kneels, leans backwards and coaxes the pup to her/him by clapping hands gently. Degree of social attraction to people, confidence, or dependence.

Pack Drive.

Came readily, tail up, jumped, bit at hands. 1

Came readily, tail up, pawed, licked at hands. 2
Came readily, tail up. 3
Came readily, tail down 4
Came hesitantly, tail down. 5
Didn't come at all. 6

The tester stands up and slowly walks away encouraging the puppy to follow. Make sure the pup sees you walk away. Coax puppy to follow by talking to it and attracting its attention.
Willingness to follow a person.

Pack Drive.
Followed readily, tail up, got underfoot, bit at feet. 1

Followed readily, tail up, got underfoot. 2
Followed readily, tail up 3
Followed readily, tail down.
Followed hesitantly, tail down. 5
Did not follow or went away. 6

The tester crouches down and gently rolls the pup on its back and holds it down with light pressure with one hand for 30 seconds.
Degree of dominance or submissive tendency, and ease of handling in difficult situations.

Fight or Flight Drive.

Struggled fiercely, flailed, bit. 1

Struggled fiercely, flailed. 2
Settled, struggled, settled with some eye contact. 3
Struggled then settled. 4
No struggle, no eye contact. 5
No struggle, straining to avoid eye contact. 6

Puppy sits or stands on crouching tester's left side and tester gently strokes it from the head to back. Continue stroking until a recognizable behavior is established.
Degree of acceptance of social dominance by a person.

Pack Drive.
Jumped, pawed, bit, growled. 1

Jumped, pawded. 2
Cuddled up to tester and tried to lick face. 3
Squirmed, licked at hands. 4
Rolled over, licked at hands. 5
Went away and stayed away. 6

The tester cradles the pup under its chest, with both hands, fingers interlaced, palms up and gently lifts it two feet off the ground, and holds it there for 30 seconds.
Degree of accepting dominance while in position of no control.

Fight or Flight Drive.
Struggled fiercely, tried to bite. 1

Struggled fiercely. 2
Struggled, settled, struggled, settled. 3
No struggle, relaxed. 4
No struggle, body stiff. 5
No struggle, froze. 6

The tester crouches beside the pup and attracts its attention with a crumpled up piece of paper. When the pup shows some interest, the tester tosses the paper no more than four feet in front of the pup, encouraging it to retrieve the paper.
Degree of willingness to do something for you. Together with social attraction and following, a key indicator for ease or difficulty in training.
Prey Drive.
Chased object, picked it up and ran away. 1

Chased object, stood over it, did not return. 2
Chased object, picked it up and returned with it to tester. 3
Chased object and returned without it to tester. 4
Started to chase object, lost interest. 5
Did not chase object. 6

The tester locates the webbing of one of the puppy's front paws and presses it lightly between his index finger and thumb. The tester gradually increases pressure while counting to 10 and stops the pressure when the puppy pulls away or shows discomfort.

* Do not use your fingernail when performing this test. Press between the finger and thumb lightly then more firmly until you get a response.
Degree of sensitivity to touch and a key indicator to the type of training equipment required. 8-10 counts before response. 1

6-7 counts before response. 2
5-6 counts before response. 3
2-4 counts before response. 4
2-3 counts before response. 5

The puppy is placed in the center of the testing area and an assistant stationed at the perimeter makes a sharp noise, such as banging a metal spoon on the bottom of a metal pan.
Degree of sensitivity to sound.
(Also a rudimentary test
for deafness.)

Prey Drive.

Listened, located sound, walked toward it barking. 1

Listened, located sound, barked. 2
Listened, located sound, showed curiosity and walked toward sound. 3
Listened, located the sound. 4
Cringed, backed off, hid. 5
Ignored sound, showed no curiosity. 6

The puppy is placed in the center of the testing area. The tester ties a string around a bath towel and jerks it across the floor two feet away from puppy.
Degree of response to a moving object, such as chasing bicycles, children or squirrels.

Prey Drive.
Looked, attacked and bit. 1

Looked, barked and tail up. 2
Looked curiously, attempted to investigate. 3
Looked, barked, tail-tuck. 4
Ran away, hid. 5

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. 1
Looked and walked to the umbrella, smelling it cautiously. 2
Looked and went to investigate. 3
Sat and looked, but did not move toward the umbrella. 4
Ran away from the umbrella. 5
Showed no interest. 6

The puppy is gently set and held in a natural stance and evaluated for structure in the following categories:

Straight front
Straight rear
Shoulder lay back
Front angulation
Croup angulation
Rear angulation
(see diagram below)
Degree of structural soundness.

Good structure is necessary.
The puppy is correct in structure. good
The puppy has a slight fault or deviation. fair
The puppy has an extreme fault or deviation. poor

(First published in the AKC Gazette, March 1979, in an article by Melissa Bartlett.)
Developed by Joachim and Wendy Volhard
© Wendy Volhard 2003
© As long as the material used is correctly credited with the authors' name,
a link to this website, the publication where it was printed from and the copyright,
Jack and Wendy encourage people to use their material.
Updated: March 29, 2006 10:42 AM

What the Scores Mean:

http://siriusdog.com/articles/images/ar ... p-test.pdf

Mostly 1’s:
This dog is extremely dominant and has aggressive tendencies. It is quick to bite and is generally
considered not good with children or the elderly. When combined with a 1 or 2 in touch sensitivity, will
be a difficult dog to train. Not a dog for the in experienced handler; takes a competent trainer to establish
Mostly 2’s:
This dog is dominant and can be provoked to bite. Responds well to firm, consistent, fair handling in an
adult household, and is likely to be a loyal pet once it respects its human leader. Often has bouncy,
outgoing temperament: may be too active for elderly, and too dominant for small children.
Mostly 3’s:
This dog accepts human leaders easily. Is best prospect for the average owner, adapts well to new
situations and generally good with children and elderly, although it may be inclined to be active. Makes
a good obedience prospect and usually has a common sense approach to life.
Mostly 4’s:
This dog is submissive and will adapt to most households. May be slightly less outgoing and active than
a dog scoring mostly 3’s. Gets along well with children in general and trains well.
Mostly 5’s:
This dog is extremely submissive and needs special handling to build confidence and bring him out of
his shell. Does not adapt well to change and confusion and needs a very regular, structured environment.
Usually safe around children and bites only when severely stressed. Not a good choice for a beginner
since it frightens easily, and takes a long time to get used to new experiences.
Mostly 6’s:
This dog is independent. He is not affectionate and may dislike petting and cuddling. It is difficult to
establish a relationship with him for working or as a pet. Not recommended for children who may force
attention on him; he is not a beginner’s dog.
Printed from
Canine Resource and Classifieds
a) When combined with 1’s (especially in restraint); the independent dog is likely to bite under stress.
b) When combined with 5’s the independent dog is likely to hide from people, or freeze when
approached by a stranger.
No clear patterns (several 1’s, 2’s and 5’s):
This dog may not be feeling well. Perhaps just ate or was recently wormed. Wait two days and re-test. If
the test still shows wide variations (lots of 1’s and 5’s), it is probably unpredictable and unlikely to be a
good pet or obedience dog.
3 in Social Attraction and Social Dominance:
The socially attracted dog is more easily taught to come and is more cuddly and friendly. Its interest in
people can be a useful tool in training, despite other scores.
1 in Restraint and 1 in Touch Sensitivity:
The dominant aggressive dog, insensitive to touch, will be a handful to train and extremely difficult for
anyone other than an exceptionally competent handler.
5 in Stability:
This is likely to be a “spooky” dog which is never desirable. It requires a great deal of extra work to get
a spooky dog adapted to new situations and they generally cannot be depended upon in a crisis.
5 in Touch and Sound Sensitivity:
May also be very “spooky” and needs delicate handling to prevent the dog from becoming frightened

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Postby Sage » Sat Feb 03, 2007 11:23 pm

Yes, this is the posting I liked in the other thread! :goodpost:
I did this test and the little boy in my avatar got quite a few 3's :)

Mostly 3’s:
This dog accepts human leaders easily. Is best prospect for the average owner, adapts well to new
situations and generally good with children and elderly, although it may be inclined to be active. Makes
a good obedience prospect and usually has a common sense approach to life. :peace:

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Postby Pipbull » Sun Feb 04, 2007 9:40 pm

Good god, you have some great timing, ME!


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Postby Cody » Sun Feb 04, 2007 10:30 pm

Should the owner do this test or someone who has never met the puppy. I would think the results may be different. My dog bonded with me after having him for only a few hours. I would also think age of the puppy would effect the results. just curious.

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Postby cdpits » Wed Feb 07, 2007 7:23 am

I have a friend that has been doing this test with pups since it was first published. It is done on the 47th day of the puppies life, no other day as the results will not be accurate. It is done by a stranger, in a strange place. So someone who has never met your pups, and not at your home, upstairs and downstairs still count as your home. The pups are taken to the testors home, and brought out one at a time and handed to the testor in the test area which has already been set up with everything needed to conduct the test in an orderly fashion. The pups owner is out of site and will write down scores called out by the testor after each step.I had my litter done by her 5+ years ago and I still go back to the results and compare them to how my dogs are now as adults.I like the test and know many people who swear by it, but as with everything, it needs to be done right and with consistancy.

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Postby ZiggysMom » Wed Apr 11, 2007 5:47 pm

This is a cool test! I imagined how my dog would be, knowing his personality... he's mostly a 2 or 3 kind of guy. Of course, he's also older now and so it's not really accurate.

hee hee... I should post one of my favorite "tolerance to restraint" pictures... Since Ziggy has gotten too big for laps, when I want my puppy hugs I pick him up and hug him on my lap laying on his back the way my husband is in the picture. He's always very calm and relaxed for me, but when my husband does it he thinks it's time to play!


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Postby SindelsMommy » Wed May 09, 2007 10:17 pm

wooohooo Sindel had five 3's....good girl!!!!!!


Postby EagleEye » Sun May 13, 2007 2:29 pm

Dolly got mostly 3's and a few 2's!

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Postby Strmbreez » Sun Jun 17, 2007 11:15 pm

Katana did pretty well for 11 weeks. She got six 3's, two 2's, two 1's and one 4. When we did the umbrella one... she ran and hid behind me for about 10 seconds, then went to sniff, and just sat and looked at me like, "So now what, momma?"

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Postby Shes Got Heart » Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:38 pm

Helena had mostly 3's

This dog accepts human leaders easily. Is best prospect for the average owner, adapts well to new
situations and generally good with children and elderly, although it may be inclined to be active. Makes
a good obedience prospect and usually has a common sense approach to life.

She also had a couple of 5's

She is submissive at times and tends to get her feelings hurt easily. And from knowing her well I can see this qualities well in her in our everyday lives together.

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Postby janedoeismissing » Mon Dec 31, 2007 10:29 am


Im gonna have to try this later with belle

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Postby Lauren » Wed May 07, 2008 2:04 am

I got 3 1's, 4 2's a 3 and a 4 for Mika. That sort of adds up in my opinion. She's pretty fierce :p

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Postby 01momogti » Wed May 21, 2008 6:45 am

My bella got one 1, two 2s, six 3s and one 5......she is so amazing!!!!1 :peace: :))

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Postby Maryellen » Tue May 27, 2008 9:33 am

can an older dog be tested? like a 5 month old pup? will the test be accurate or not?

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Postby Maryellen » Tue May 27, 2008 9:34 am

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