I love seeing that more and more of our German Shepherd Dogs are receiving many different working titles next to their registered name. It’s also encouraging to see many different health certificate numbers behind his name as well. Heck some dogs have so many titles included in their name that it takes a couple of lines just to type it all out. Most of the time, I confess I don’t even know what many of those titles mean. I do know that these dogs have worked very hard for those titles and that their owners need to be commended for the dedication that they put into bringing out the best in their dogs.
One title that has always fascinated me is the temperament test title. This is where the dog is put through a number of tests to help determine the temperament of the dog. Many owners proudly display this title next to their dogs name certifying that their dog has the ideal temperament according to the German Shepherd Dog Club of America’s standard.
I’ve read through the requirements that the dog needs to pass to receive his certificate on the parent clubs website. Because I don’t have permission to print out the test here on my blog, I will briefly give you an overview of the test. I suggest if you want to know more about it that you visit the German Shepherd Dog of America’s website for full details.
Basically the dog will be tested in different situations to see how he will react to certain stimuli. He will be tested with strangers to see how he approaches each situation. He’ll meet non-threatening strangers as well as those that are more threatening towards him. He will be tested with visual as well as audio stimuli to see his reaction and if he does have one what is his recovery time will be. He will be tested to see his reaction to gun shot noise and an umbrella opened up in front of him when he least expects it. This helps to see if the dog has good steady nerves and how he handles things either in his everyday life or when things happen out of the ordinary.
We’re all proud of the fact that we own one of the most intelligent breeds of dogs capable of doing most anything that we ask of them. My question is this to those that have put their dogs through these trials. Because the German Shepherd is such a smart dog, can’t he be trained to do these tests in order to pass and get his certificate? Now this isn’t to take away from those who own dogs with wonderful temperaments and have passed these tests. I’m just concerned more about those dogs that have been trained to pass them that don’t have such wonderful temperaments. In your opinions, do you think that some dogs that have been certified temperament tested do not really have good temperaments at all, but instead are very well trained by professional trainers? As I said, I’m not trying to take away from those dogs that indeed have wonderful temperaments and they have the certificate to prove it.
Because there is a description telling owners what their dogs will be tested on, I feel that there is no element of surprise if the dog can be trained ahead of time for all of these things. Wouldn’t it be more accurate if they changed some of the things that the dogs have been already trained for? In other words if he’s been trained to have an umbrella opened in his face, can’t they substitute this with something else?
Many years ago I had a professional trainer come to my house looking to buy a puppy. He wanted to see the pups mother. I told him that she was a very devoted and protective dog towards me. He asked me if he could check out just how protective of me she was. So I agreed. We took her out on my front lawn with me holding her on her leash. He put a black long cape over his shoulders and hid his face as he came walking towards us. Well it didn't take long for "Pepper" to hit the end of that leash with her teeth fully exposed. She was ready to "rock and roll" with this guy. He went back to the other side of the lawn and removed the cape. He told me just to keep her on a loose leash, which I did. He walked over to her and me in a friendly matter making small talk. He reached down and petted her on the head and she was no longer snarling at him. He told me, "Now that's a great mind!" She was never trained to do any of this mind you. It was just her natural instinct.
I admit I’ve never had the privilege to actually see one of these trials. It has got to be fascinating to watch. I could learn something from it, I’m sure. So as I said, I have a tremendous respect for those that work with their dogs and train them to realize their ultimate potential. I would just like to know what some of you think of the temperament test and if you think it truly measures the temperament of some dogs?
My rating: temperament testing: (3 - 4)