Puppy aptitude and temperament testing was developed in the 1930's for Guide Dog breeding programs. In the 1960's more tests were developed to test for dominance and submission. These tests determined that it was  possible to predict future behavioral traits as adult dogs.

After researching these tests, we created a comprehensive test to meet the needs for our Service Dog Placement Program.

We Test For:
     Social attraction
     Intelligence and trainability
     Natural curiosity 
     Assertive versus passive in the litter
     Sensitivity to touch, sight, sound and smell
     Confidence level
     Responsiveness to stimulation
     Adaptability to change
     Retrieval instincts
     Dominant versus submissive with the handlers
     Energy level
     Emotional stability

All of our puppies are tested at 7 weeks old by our certified dog trainer for aptitude and temperament and come with a written evaluation and training recommendations.

Each puppy has their own specific personality traits, talents and abilities. Understanding your puppies innate characteristics can help in your puppy selection and allow you to use the best training methods possible to bring out the best they have to offer.

We started our own breeding program to manage the quality of breed, health, size, structure and temperament of the dogs in our placement program. We are on our 3rd and 4th generation of Service Dogs. On top of careful breeding, our puppies are born and raised in our home where we imprint and socialize them. We also provide specific neurological stimulation exercises to help prepare them for their special work.

It is important to know how to recognize a well balanced puppy. It may seem overwhelming when a whole litter come running up and want to jump on you, but that is actually a sign of a well adjusted puppy. Beware of the puppy that hides in the corner and looks at you with those big rescue me eyes. Fearful skittish puppies appreciate love and reassurance, they love to cuddle. Being dependent and insecure, these puppies do not socialize well. They typically become a one person dog. They do best in a quiet environment. They tend to be on the needy side, demanding your attention. They want to please, but may be easily overwhelmed. If not trained correctly these dogs can easily become aggressive biters, even to friendly strangers and other family members.

Young puppies can show signs of aggression. They start to wrestle, mouth each other, growl and bicker before they can even walk. They quickly learn their limits and play well together. Actual fights in the litter are not normal after about 6 weeks of age. If you see puppies posturing over other puppies, and the other puppies being extra submissive, rolling over on their backs or cowering away when another passes by, you can guess that there is something going on. An aggressive puppy may display their attitude during meal time, play time or when their favorite person comes into the room. They expect you to ask permission before picking them up and may bite at you when you restrain them. Do not confuse playful growling and nipping with signs of aggression.

Except for fearful or aggressive puppies, one personality type is not necessarily better than another. They  may however require different training techniques to get to the same point.

1. Enthusiastic and self confident puppies are fun loving, spirited and intelligent. The life of the party, they are always first in line, love to participate and learn new things. Full of energy these puppies can be a lot of work, and a lot of fun. They tend to be more assertive, independent and energetic. With proper handling they can become a great partner for an active family. They need serious leadership and training in the beginning. You will have to teach them to inhibit their play bite, keep their feet on the ground, and follow your direction. One of my calmest dogs started out this way. She is now my constant companion and service dog.

2. Easy going and gentle puppies are relaxed and less demanding. Not the first in line to see you, and not the last. Accepting your leadership and training, they are easily motivated to do things your way. These puppies tend to go with the flow, accepting life changes more easily. As long as you have a treat or a hand for rubbing ears you will be friends for life. These are great puppies for first time dog owners, and those that need a calming effect in the home.

3. Submissive puppies, are still excited to see you, they just are not as pushy. They tend to roll over to get their bellies rubbed, or come up all wags and wiggles maybe with their heads down asking for permission to approach, they are always underfoot or against your leg. These puppies respond extremely well to confidence and praise. Socialization is one of the most important factors in this dogs life. They need to learn that the world is a safe place at a very young age. Teaching them to meet new situations with confidence is the biggest challenge. With good socialization and a gentler touch these puppies can become confident companions and excellent helpers.

Your lifestyle, activity level, and needs should be taken into consideration when choosing a puppy. Choose the size of dog that fits into your home and life. If you live in an apartment, home with a back yard, or out in the country with room to run may be a huge factor in your decision. If you are a home body, or run 5 miles a day should help determine the energy level of the dog you select. Some dogs were bred to run and work all day, like the Border Collie. Others were bred specifically to sit around on a pillow and look pretty like the Pekingese. Many small dogs were still bred to work, like the Jack Russell Terrier. Do your homework. Know what to expect from your dog. Your specific wants and needs may help determine if you are looking  for a family pet, a dog to go hunting with you, an aggressive watch dog, a herding dog, or maybe one to train for search and rescue or service work.

Through the years we have had many mixes and mutts as family pets. These amazing mutts looked like shepherds, labs, terriers, Chihuahuas, and others had no identifiable beginning. We also acquired Great Pyrenees to live with our goats as guardian dogs. They had incredible natural instincts to ingratiate themselves with the moms and help protect the herd from predators. We have Border Collies that have an instinctive herding drive to help with the cattle. No two breeds are alike, and no two puppies of a breed are alike, so choose wisely, and train early. Selecting from a breeding program that focuses on specific characteristics and early training is the best way to guarantee the qualities you are looking for.

I chose Standard Poodles for my Service Dog because of their unique characteristics. I wanted a dog that was large enough to help with stability, lovable, friendly, healthy, long lived, intelligent, attentive, athletic, energetic, able to settle for long periods of time, with good retrieval instincts... Just a short list of qualifications. Poodles have the added benefits of being non-shedding, soft, snuggly and absolutely gorgeous.

We started a Standard Poodle breeding program producing a couple of litters a year, giving us the opportunity to raise, test, train and work with these amazing dogs for several years. Our consistent results with temperament, health and trainability produced dozens of working service dogs over the first 5 years. We continue to select breeding stock and train our babies to help improve these qualities.


Aptitude & Temperament Testing
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