An Evaluation of an 8-week Puppy Test

Puppy tests have been developed previously, however few if any scientific studies have succeeded in finding a correlation between the behaviour of the puppy and that of an adult dog growing up in a family. The current personality assessment for puppies (”mentalbeskrivning valp” - MV) has been developed in collaboration with the Swedish Working Dog Association and is constructed using the same principles as for the Dog Mentality Assessment, but with less emphasis on fear. The test takes 15 min/puppy and is done at eight weeks of age. Seven hundred puppies have been tested so far and three personality factors have been identified: Biting intensity, Sociality & curiosity and finally Play and collaboration. Adult dogs were assessed with the DMA 1.5 years later (N=196), this revealed a significant correlation between Biting intensity in the puppy test and chase from the DMA (Rs=0.14, p<0.03). The overall aggression of the adult dog was also correlated to the confidence of the puppy as assessed by the test leader (Rs=0.20, p<0.01). The current puppy test is being implemented and will be used for three years in Sweden before a final evaluation.

Authors: Björn Forkman, Lars Fält, Ingalill Larson, Ann Olsson