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  • Writer's pictureDaneesha Jonescu ABCDT

Why Choosing a Puppy Based on Temperament Matters More Than Looks


lored collars indicating their individual identification. Text reads 'WHY CHOOSING A PUPPY' followed by 'Based on Temperament Matters More Than Looks' underneath. The text is set against a light blue background with the @big_house_k9 Instagram handle and website link at the bottom.

When you're looking to bring a new puppy into your home, it's easy to get caught up in their adorable looks. However, there's much more to consider than just a cute face. The temperament of a puppy is a critical factor that can significantly impact your life together. In this blog, we'll explore why selecting a puppy based on temperament is essential and the vital role breeders play in temperament testing.


The Allure of Looks

Let’s face it – puppies are irresistibly cute. From their big, soulful eyes to their fluffy fur and playful antics, it's hard not to fall in love at first sight. However, focusing solely on looks can lead to mismatched expectations and unforeseen challenges. A puppy's adorable appearance doesn't necessarily correlate with a compatible personality for your lifestyle.


The Downside of Choosing Based on Looks

  • Initial Attraction vs. Long-Term Happiness: While a puppy's cuteness might draw you in, it doesn't guarantee that the puppy's personality will suit your household. An adorable face might belong to a puppy that has high energy and requires more exercise, attention, or training than you're prepared to provide.

  • Behavioral Issues: Selecting a puppy based on looks alone can lead to future behavioral problems if the puppy’s natural tendencies don’t align with your ability to meet their needs. For example, a high-energy breed chosen for its striking appearance might become destructive if not given adequate exercise.


Why Temperament Is Key

  1. Lifestyle Compatibility: A puppy’s temperament should align with your lifestyle. If you're active and enjoy outdoor activities, a high-energy, adventurous puppy might be perfect. Conversely, if you prefer quiet evenings at home, a calm and laid-back puppy would be a better fit.

  2. Trainability: Puppies with different temperaments have varying levels of trainability. Some breeds or individual puppies might be more eager to please and easier to train, while others may be more independent or stubborn.

  3. Family Dynamics: The right temperament is crucial if you have children or other pets. A puppy that is good-natured and patient can integrate smoothly into a family environment, reducing stress for both the pet and the family members.

  4. Long-Term Happiness: A well-matched temperament ensures a stronger bond between you and your puppy. This leads to a happier and more fulfilling relationship over the years.


The Importance of Breeder's Temperament Testing

To make an informed decision, you need detailed information about each puppy's temperament. This is where reputable breeders play a pivotal role. They can provide invaluable insights through temperament testing, which typically occurs at around 7-8 weeks of age.

A playpen set up for puppy temperament evaluations with various toys and objects including a blue ramp, a stuffed dog toy, and other sensory items on a wooden floor. Text reads 'TEMPERAMENT EVALUATIONS' at the bottom of the image and 'Explained' underneath it. The text is set against a light blue background with the Big House K9 logo and the @big_house_k9 Instagram handle in the bottom right corner.

What Is Temperament Testing?

Temperament testing involves a series of assessments that evaluate various traits in puppies, such as:

  • Human Assertiveness: How confidently the puppy interacts with humans.

  • Energy Level: The puppy’s natural activity level and how it matches with your lifestyle.

  • Nerve Strength: The puppy’s resilience and ability to recover from stress.

  • Sight Sensitivity: How the puppy reacts to visual stimuli, including movement and new environments.

  • Sound Sensitivity: The puppy’s reaction to different sounds, which can indicate how easily startled or calm they may be in noisy environments.

  • Human Focus: The degree of attention and connection the puppy has with people, important for training and bonding.

  • Drives (Food, Toy, Affection): The puppy’s primary motivators, which can be essential for training and engaging activities.


Common Temperament Tests

  1. Volhard Puppy Aptitude Test (PAT): This test includes various exercises to assess social attraction, following, restraint, social dominance, elevation dominance, retrieving, touch sensitivity, sound sensitivity, sight sensitivity, and stability.

  2. Avidog: A comprehensive program that evaluates puppies on a range of criteria including sensory, social, and physical tests. Avidog tests consider the puppy’s reactions to different environments and stimuli to determine their future behavior potential.


Three temperament evaluation scorecards displayed with detailed assessments of a puppy named Nova. The scorecards include various evaluation metrics, placement compatibility, and a photo of the puppy. Text above the scorecards reads 'Temperament Evaluation Scorecards' set against a light blue background.

Why Temperament Testing Matters

  1. Informed Choices: Detailed temperament testing provides potential owners with the information needed to choose a puppy that fits their lifestyle and preferences.

  2. Reducing Returns: By matching puppies to suitable homes, the likelihood of mismatched adoptions and subsequent returns to the breeder or shelters decreases significantly.

  3. Predictability: While not foolproof, temperament testing offers a glimpse into a puppy’s future behavior, helping new owners prepare and train accordingly.


Insights from a Breeder’s Perspective

As a breeder, I know how important it is to match puppies with the best possible homes, whether they are destined to be family companions, therapy/facility dogs, or service dogs. Watching puppies carefully from birth, I get to know each personality as it develops. Temperament testing gives a better idea of what a particular puppy might excel at or which home will be the best fit.


It's important to remember that a temperament test is a snapshot of a puppy's potential. Temperament test scores don’t necessarily reflect exactly how a puppy will grow up, but they can provide a good baseline. A puppy’s environment and socialization until adulthood have a huge impact. Both good and bad experiences during the puppy’s first year of life significantly influence what the adult dog will become.


Preparing Puppies for Life

The ideal age to conduct temperament testing is 7 ½ to 8 weeks. As breeders, we do not prepare puppies specifically for temperament testing; we prepare them for life beyond the breeder. We expose our puppies to many sights, sounds, and textures, and we introduce them to people. By working with the puppies individually, we gauge their biddability and drive.


We like to give the analogy that you wouldn’t match a bulldog with a marathon runner nor would you match a couch potato with a Belgian Malinois. It’s all about finding the right fit for both the puppy and the owner.


Temperament testing is helpful, but it’s only a part of the decision-making process. Ultimately, our goal is to place puppies in homes where they will thrive.


Daneesha Jonescu, a breeder, bends down to interact with a group of playful puppies in a clean, well-lit room. The puppies eagerly look up at her, showing a bond between the breeder and the puppies. The text reads 'Where Tails Wag & Lives Transform From Our Hearts and Home to Yours!' The Big House K9 logo is displayed above the text. In the top right corner, there is a circular inset of Daneesha Jonescu's smiling face.

What to Look for in a Breeder

A responsible breeder will:

  • Provide Detailed Reports: Offer comprehensive insights into each puppy's temperament based on individual temperament tests.

  • Encourage Buyers to Review Temperaments Prior to Selection: Ensure that potential owners understand the temperaments of each puppy before making a choice.

  • Encourage Buyers to Meet Puppies Post-Evaluation: Allow potential owners to meet and interact with each of the available puppies in a controlled environment after temperament evaluations have been completed, ensuring families make informed decisions.

  • Ask Questions: Inquire about your lifestyle, preferences, and experience with dogs to ensure a good match.

  • Offer Support: Provide ongoing lifetime support and advice even after you take your puppy home.


Making the Right Choice

Choosing a puppy based on temperament rather than looks can make a significant difference in the quality of life for both you and your new furry friend. It leads to better compatibility, easier training, and a more harmonious household. Reputable breeders who conduct thorough temperament testing are invaluable in this process, helping ensure that each puppy finds the right home.


Steps to Take When Selecting a Puppy

  1. Research: Start by researching breeds that align with your lifestyle. Understand the general temperaments associated with those breeds.

  2. Visit Breeders: Choose breeders who prioritize temperament testing and are transparent about their processes. Visit the breeder and interact with the puppies.

  3. Ask for Test Results: Request the results of temperament tests and discuss them with the breeder to understand the implications.

  4. Observe the Puppies: Spend time observing the puppies’ behavior in different situations. Look for signs of sociability, curiosity, and how they react to new stimuli.

  5. Consider Your Lifestyle: Match the temperament test results with your lifestyle needs. For instance, a highly active puppy is best suited for an active owner.


Final Thoughts Puppy Temperament

Choosing a puppy based on temperament rather than looks can make a significant difference in the quality of life for both you and your new furry friend. It leads to better compatibility, easier training, and a more harmonious household. Reputable breeders who conduct thorough temperament testing are invaluable in this process, helping ensure that each puppy finds the right home.


So, next time you find yourself enamored with a cute puppy face, remember to look deeper. Ask the right questions, understand the temperament, and ensure it aligns with your lifestyle. Your future self – and your new best friend – will thank you.


FAQs

  • Q: Can a puppy's temperament change as they grow?

    • A: While a puppy’s basic temperament traits are evident early on, proper training, socialization, and environment can influence their behavior.

  • Q: How can I tell if a breeder is reputable?

    • A: Look for breeders who:

  • Provide Detailed Reports: Offer comprehensive insights into each puppy's temperament based on standardized tests.

  • Encourage Buyers to Review Temperaments Prior to Selection: Ensure that potential owners understand the temperaments of each puppy before making a choice.

  • Encourage Buyers to Meet Puppies Post-Evaluation: Allow potential owners to meet and interact with each of the available puppies in a controlled environment after temperament evaluations have been completed, ensuring families make informed decisions.

  • Ask Questions: Inquire about your lifestyle, preferences, and experience with dogs to ensure a good match.

  • Offer Support: Provide ongoing support and advice even after you take your puppy home.

  • Q: What if I fall in love with a puppy that doesn't match my lifestyle?

    • A: It’s crucial to think long-term. Choosing a puppy that matches your lifestyle ensures a better quality of life for both you and your pet.

  • Q: Are there specific breeds known for better temperaments?

    • A: Every breed has its general traits, but individual temperaments can vary widely. It’s best to assess each puppy on a case-by-case basis. Just like two siblings who have the same parents and are raised in the same environment can have completely different personalities despite their "standard traits."


By focusing on temperament and selecting from reputable breeders, you're setting the stage for a happy, long-lasting relationship with your new puppy. Happy puppy hunting! ~Daneesha

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