Chapter 6
How To Temperament Test For Your Best Dog
Playing with a Dog. If the dog accepts these handling exercises, try playing with the dog. Use a toy or ball, and see if the dog is willing to engage with you. Some dogs simply don't know how to play but may be interested in being petted or other personal contact. These dogs make a fine choice for an average household. Other dogs may shrink away or try to avoid playing. These dogs may require more work to overcome their distrust and create a good companion animal. Look out for dogs that become hyperactive or overly excitable while playing. These dogs may be hyperactive. Alternately, these dogs may have simply never learned the appropriate way to play. In either case, these dogs may require substantial training, attention and one-on-one work to become a truly good companion animal. Ask if the dog will tolerate you taking away a toy or other high-value treat. If your contact indicates that the dog will accept having a toy taken away, ask him or her to demonstrate. If the dog displays any possessiveness he may not be a good candidate for a pet dog. Possessiveness can be related to aggression or dominance neither of which is a good characteristic in a pet dog, especially a dog that is intended as a companion in a home that has children. Physically Evaluating an Adult Dog. Pay close attention to the physical characteristics before you bring him home. One of the benefits of acquiring an adult dog is 'what you see is what you get'. You can see how large the dog will be and estimate what grooming requirements and activity levels he has. Look at the dog's coat. Is it long fur or short? When you run your hands through the dog's coat, does fur come away easily? Try brushing the dog's coat; is there much shedding? Grooming requirements may be a serious concern for allergy sufferers, so checking a dog for shedding may be extremely important. Look at the area where the dog typically spends its time. Are there tufts of fur around the floorboards and walls? How about fur on the dog's normal sleeping blanket or mat? These things may indicate that the dog sheds heavily, and could be an issue. Make sure this is acceptable to you before choosing this dog. Examine the dog physically to determine whether he's healthy and a good choice for your pet. Physically, a dog should have clear eyes, clean ears and a nose that isn't runny. If the dog continuously shakes his head or has smelly ears, he may have an ear infection or mites. Dogs with runny, crusty eyes may have health problems. Dogs whose noses wheeze or whistle, or who have runny noses, may have other health problems. Dogs should have clean, white teeth with an appropriate bite for the breed. Additionally, dogs should have clear skin with no bumps or discolorations. Discolorations or bumps can indicate the presence of fleas or disease. Watch the dog move; look for a smooth gait. If the dog limps, walks hesitantly or moves in other odd ways, he may have hip, knee or leg problems. Dogs that are in good health should move easily and smoothly, and shouldn't hesitate to run or walk. Congratulations! You now have the knowledge to choose your BEST dog.