When our Scottish Terrier puppies are 6-7 weeks old, we conduct temperament testing to provide you with as much information as possible about your puppy's temperament. There is no pass or fail. The purpose of these tests is to help you select the puppy that will best match your specific needs and lifestyle. We are happy to discuss your requirements and our own observations as we interact with each puppy every day.
Over the years, we've learned that puppies rarely show their true character before about twelve weeks or even later. although at around six to seven weeks we can get a general idea. We've also found that once the dominant siblings leave the 'pack' the less dominant pups can change beyond belief especially when it comes to the Scottish Terrier breed.
We begin making notes of each puppy from the time they are around four weeks old to get an early indication of their individual traits which can provide clues to subsequent development.
Around six weeks of age we begin looking at sociability, emotionality, problem-solving ability, group dynamics, motor abilities and more. We typically find that temperament testing gives confirmation of the knowledge we have already gained about each puppy. And, although we’re proponents of temperament testing, we realize it is not intended to predict future performance. Rather, it is used to evaluate a puppy’s temperament at the time of testing, and helps to evaluate their basic personality. The testing helps to determine which puppies have the most suitable personalities for their future roles and family settings.
Please note that there is no “pass” or “fail” on these tests; We only conduct them to give you as much information as possible about your puppy to ensure the best match for you specific needs and lifestyle. The tests we use consist of a series of exercises that give information as to a puppy’s tendencies. Not all puppies will test the same, and the differences will assist in placing the puppy in the most appropriate environment.
The four basic temperament types are:
Dominant - High energy- Not good for other pets or children.
Submissive- Medium to low energy range- Great with Kids
Independent - Medium energy range
Docile - Lower energy range- Laid Back - Great for older adults and kids
Testing Dominance Levels
Method 1: Put the puppy on the ground and bend down towards him. Stroke him gently but firmly from the top of his head, all the way down his back and over his rear end.
Repeat this several times until you're sure that you can see how he reacts consistently.
A dominant pup won't like this because this type of stroking/pressure is a dominant action in itself. He might jump up at you, paw or nip at your hands, or growl. He may struggle, wriggle or try to get away.
A submissive pup will most likely lick at your hands or face, squirm around and/or roll over to show his tummy.
An independent pup might 'freeze' or simply move out of reach.
A docile pup is most likely to wriggle or whine at first, he might even 'freeze'. But he should soon relax and lick at your hands or try to get close to you.
Method 2: Pick the puppy up and hold him on his back in the crook of your arm like you would a baby. Put the other hand gently but firmly on his chest and make direct eye contact (keep your gaze relaxed and non-threatening).
A dominant pup will most likely start squirming as soon as you turn him over. He might growl or nip at you.
A submissive pup might wriggle too - for a few seconds. He'll probably make intermittent eye contact and might try to lick at your hands. If he gets scared he'll squirm around trying to get free.
An independent pup probably won't struggle, or will only do so for a few seconds, then he's likely to just freeze. Most likely will avoid eye contact.
A docile pup might not object at first, or for long, or he may wriggle a little. He'll be calmed by eye contact and should relax in your arms.
Method 3: With puppy standing in front of you, place your hands under his tummy and gently lift him up so that his paws are a few inches off the ground for about 30 seconds. Be sure to hold him firmly but gently so that he doesn't feel insecure - that will skew the results.
A dominant pup will struggle, and probably keep struggling. He might twist around to try to nip at you or growl.
A submissive pup will most likely just accept this without making a fuss and will probably try to twist around to lick at your hands
An independent pup is most likely to just freeze, no resistance but no calm acceptance either.
A docile pup might wriggle at first but will soon relax and settle. Might try to lick at your hands.
Testing Social Behavior
Method 1: With the pup on the ground let him wander around for a 30 seconds or a minute. Ignore him until he's not paying you too much attention. Then crouch down and encourage him to come to you.
Call him, talk to him, clap your hands gently, hold your arms open... be as appealing as possible.
A dominant pup usually comes right away, probably at full gallop. He might jump up at you, paw at you, nip at your hands or pants and generally make a nuisance of himself.
A submissive pup will take a lot longer to get up the courage to approach you. He will come, but may 'creep' in with his belly low to the ground. He might even pee a little as he gets close to you. Seems anxious.
An independent pup will most likely ignore you! If he does come it will be in his own time but not because he's scared, because he's busy doing his own thing.
A docile pup will usually come to you quickly and happily. He'll be excited and may lick at your hands or face, but he shouldn't be pushy.
Method 2: Crouch down beside the pup and stroke/talk to him for a few seconds. Then get up and walk away slowly. Move at a normal pace and don't encourage him to follow you, but make sure he sees you.
A dominant pup will race after you, probably wind around your legs and trip you up. He might bite at your ankles or pant legs.
A submissive pup will think for a few seconds then will most likely follow you. He might not catch you up entirely, or will just get there slowly.
An independent pup probably won't follow you at all. He may stay where he is, or wander off in a different direction.
A docile pup will follow you right away, and he'll be happy about it but not over-excited or pushy
REMEMBER: There is no “pass” or “fail” on these tests! We only conduct them to give you as much information as possible before you select your Scottish Terrier puppy to ensure the best match for your specific needs and lifestyle.