Yesterday Tripp had a fun new adventure. Well, perhaps adventure is too strong a word, as he took everything in stride like it was any other day. That is, of course, the intention of the American Temperament Test Society's evaluation process; to simulate everyday life experiences to gauge the dog's innate temperament. It is a judgement not of behavior or training, but of a dog's instinctive reactions to various stimuli. While many things play a part in how a dog will respond on a given day, from previous socialization and training, to recent activities, stress, or even weather, a temperament test is a wonderful way to judge basic stability. It's also an easy and fun activity to do with your pet; one that can give you more insight into their natural behavior. Which makes it useful for just about everyone.
For more information on ATTS and their tests, visit www.atts.org.
Tripp's evaluation: passed, all scores average or above average. That's my boy! :-)
Unfortunately my video did not come out well. But here is a description of our test...
1. Neutral Stranger: Person approaches, shakes hands with handler, ignoring dog.
Tripp wiggles with delight.
2. Friendly stranger: Person approaches dog with enthusiastic greeting, ignoring handler.
Tripp is thrilled that someone wants to say hi to him this time.
3. Hidden Noise: Station worker shakes a metal bucket filled with rocks and sets it in dog's path.
Tripp alerts then proceeds to stick his head in the bucket.
4. Gunshots: Handler stops at station and starter pistol is fired (3 shots) from a blind 15 feet behind dog's back.
Tripp finds something interesting to sniff and shows practically no reaction to the gunshots.
5. Umbrella: Sitting person opens umbrella as dog approaches.
Tripp pauses to look for a split second before investigating.
6. Plastic footing: Handler and dog traverse a long strip of plastic laid on ground.
7. Wire footing: Dog walks over an unfolded ex-pen flat on ground.
Tripp is unruffled at either change in footing.
8. Non-threatening stranger: A weirdly dressed/behaved person crosses dog's path some distance ahead.
Tripp alerts at my side and remains focused on the apparent drunk.
9. Threatening stranger: The weird person turns and approaches dog & handler, yelling louder and waving a stick in the air.
Tripp stands his ground, watching this silly display with curiosity.
10. Aggression: The weird person approaches closer in a more threatening way, hitting ground with the stick and yelling at dog.
Tripp seems to wonder if she is playing, then decides otherwise. He steps back with suspicion and lets out a few good barks.
End of test. TT title earned! :-)
Taken at Finish Forward Dogs in Saco, ME at 22.5 months old.