Updated: Apr 27
Your puppy is 6-weeks old and they received their BAB Puppy Evaluation--but what do those temperament test results mean? Throughout the test, we will rate each puppy's reaction as we expose them to different activities. Each puppy will have a profile, with a summary of their results because the scoring and interpretation is slightly confusing. I'm happy to make recommendations if you are unsure of the best temperament for your lifestyle.
Assertiveness with Humans - how comfortable a puppy is with humans and how much do they seek to engage with them (licking, crawling, jumping, eye contact). To test this, we observe if the puppy comes to the tester on their own initiative without the tester interacting with them.
Confidence - how confident is the dog in their own abilities in new environments. When entering the testing area, how does the puppy respond to the unfamiliar place and scary objects for the first time?
Motivation Level - does the dog naturally want to work for humans? This portion of the test involves asking the puppy to do something like play fetch, tug, and engage with the person. Is the puppy following what the tester asked them to do or is the person having to work really hard to get the puppy to do what they've asked? This is also called workability.
Nerve Strength - How does the dog handle stress and how long does it take them to adjust/adapt in stressful situations? Low is easily stressed, high means they are able to adapt more easily in stressful situations. Nerve strength is observed throughout the test and we watch to see how the puppy handles stress and if they are able to overcome fears.
Touch Tolerance - How does the puppy react when they are roughly touched (have their tail tugged, toes touched, etc.) Low scores mean the puppy doesn’t handle unwanted touch well, and high scores mean the puppy wasn’t stressed and enjoyed being touched the whole time. A lot of puppies will even enjoy this portion of the test. This is important if you have young kids who may accidentally touch a dog in a way they don't prefer and some dogs are much more comfortable with this than others.
Energy Level - how energetic is the puppy is throughout the duration of the test? Do they take breaks and rest or constantly run around? This is rated on the scale of puppies having higher energy than adult dogs.
Sound Sensitivity - Does the puppy startle easily when exposed to loud, unexpected noises? Low scores mean the puppy has a high tolerance for noise, and high scores mean the puppy is sensitive to loud unexpected noises. If your home environment is vibrant and full of noise, young kids, etc. then you might prefer a puppy with a high sound tolerance.
Sight Sensitivity - How stressed is the puppy when there’s an unexpected movement. Low means they are not stressed by visual stimuli and high means they are more easily stressed and may hide when they see something surprising, like an umbrella open.
Prey Drive - How interested is the puppy in chasing, stalking, pouncing small animals. Low means the puppy doesn’t have an interest in hunting and high means they can be trained to hunt and should be watched around small pets (birds, ferrets hamsters, etc.)
Human vs. Pack Focus - How interested are they in ‘following the pack’ versus giving attention to the human. Low means they want to discover on their own, while high scores mean they are attentive to people and focus on them more than the environment.
Tenderhearted - How overwhelmed is the puppy by human emotions when they have an emotional outburst. Not tenderhearted scores mean the puppy is not affected by the person's emotional state. Extremely tenderhearted dogs will “feel” with their humans and can’t handle emotionally charged environments. An extremely tenderhearted dog should not be an emotional support animal because it will be as overwhelmed as the human. The best emotional support dogs are moderately and highly tenderhearted.
Dog friendliness - is this dog assertive (confident in greeting) or submissive (hesitantly waiting for dog to approach) when meeting a new dog. The tester introduces a dog they haven't met before and we rate the puppy's interaction.
This information is meant to help choose a puppy that best suits your lifestyle, but it is just a snapshot of where they are at when the test is completed. At this young age, they need to continue being socialized and exposed to new environments or they can develop fears they didn't have previously. For some ideas on how to socialize your new puppy, check out this blog.