Are Chesapeakes Mean?
I get this asked quite often while at hunt tests where it is a Labrador dominating sport. My response is….
Since I get so many people asking me about the temperament of our Chesapeakes I decided to participate in the annual American Temperament Test Society test hosted by Canine Solutions LLC in Beaver Dam, WI on Saturday August 9, 2014. Canine Solutions LLC is the same training facility that Gambler and Glory do their therapy work through.
What is the American Temperament Test Society?
From the ATTS website-
The American Temperament Test Society, Inc. (ATTS) is a national not-for-profit organization (registered in the state of Missouri) for the promotion of uniform temperament evaluation of purebred and spayed/neutered mixed-breed dogs.
ATTS was established to:
- Provide for a uniform national program of temperament testing of purebred and spayed/neutered mixed-breed dogs.
- Conduct seminars to disseminate information to dog owners, dog breeders and evaluators (testers) concerning dog psychology, motivation, reaction and other aspects of temperament testing.
- Recognize and award certificates to dogs that pass the requirements of the temperament evaluation.
- Work for the betterment of all breeds of dogs.
- Select, train, prepare and register temperament evaluators.
Our motto says all:
“A SOUND MIND IN A SOUND BODY”
This is how the test went.
First Canine Solutions LLC announced they were putting on the ATTS test. It was recommended to sign up ahead of the day so you could fill out the paperwork and bring along plus set up a morning or afternoon appointment. I chose to do the am time frame. All the handlers and their dogs met at The Golden Eagles Baseball field where the test was being held. Canine Solutions LLC has been using this spot for the past three years. It really worked out nicely having the 10 stations spread around the diamond and having a dug out at the beginning to register and sit under for shade and a dug out at the end so you can talk to the chief tester and find out your scores. The fence around the whole field kept other people out and made it so only one handler and dog was on the field at one time so they didn’t have distractions.
The chief tester for today’s test was Polly Dake-Jones owner of Canine Solutions LLC. She has been involved with ATTS for over 20 years.Polly is a certified trainer through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers and is a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers. She owns and breeds American Bulldogs.
Polly started out by having all the handlers on the field without their dogs and went over the test. She walked us through each stations and let us ask questions as we went along. She explained everything very well. There were volunteers at each station that did a excellent job at their part of the test. They were there all day long in the great sun shine so I thank them all very much. Without the helpers the test could not of been done.
The ATTS Temperament Test consists of ten tests.
1. Neutral stranger
You walk up and shake hands while saying hi to the stranger.
2. Friendly stranger
You walk up and the friendly stranger gets down to dogs level and says hi to them and starts petting them and talking to them.
3. Hidden noise
Person is hiding behind a tent, when you approach they shake a bucket with rocks in it then sets the bucket outside the tent for the dog to investigate.
4. Gun shot noise
Person hiding behind a tent you walk up and stand with your back to the tent, gun shots go off three times.
Person is sitting in a chair and as you approach they open up the umbrella.
6. Plastic footing
You and your dog walks across the plastic footing.
7. Wire footing
Your dog walks across the wire footing while you walk along side.
8, 9 & 10. Non-threatening, threatening and aggressive person.
First the non-threatening person comes out from behind a tent making all kinds of non-threatening noise while talking nice to the dog, then the person turns threatening and starts shouting at the dog then he waves a whip around and cracks it while talking aggressive to the dog.
At the conclusion of the test, the handler will receive a critique about the dog’s performance. If you pass a certificate will be mailed to the handler.
The whole test takes about 3-4 mins to complete. You can not talk to your dog at all except when at stations 3 & 5. If the dog is unsure of the bucket or umbrella you can go up to those items and touch them yourself and say things like “what do we have here”? “This is a nice umbrella, don’t you want to look at it”? You can reassure your dog that it is ok without actually talking to your dog. For stations 6 & 7 you are given 3 tries to get your dog to walk across the surfaces. Station 8,9 & 10 there is a long line attached to a stake in the ground for you to hook your dog up to if you think you can’t hold onto the dog when the non-threatening-aggressive person comes out.
You can read the purpose to all these tests on the ATTS website.
So now you want to know how Gambler and Glory did. Gambler and Glory both passed. They passed with different scores meaning they each are their own individual and have their own personalities and temperaments.
First I had Glory did the test. During the test you can not talk to your dog at all or do any type of leash corrections. You just walk along and your dog follows. The second station she was all happy that someone was talking to her and wanted to pet her, she wiggled her little butt up to the stranger and then gave her a kiss. The fifth station with the umbrella took her by surprise, when the umbrella opened up she was startled and bolted sideways taking me out at the knees and I landed on my butt which took me by surprise. After I got up I grabbed Glory and we walked up to the umbrella and she checked it out and wasn’t fazed my it after that. When we got to station 8,9 and 10 she was happy when the non threatening person came out but when he became threatening she barked at him when he got aggressive she hid behind me. She received the lowest scores on these two stations, she received scores of 3. The ideal scores are 4-6.
Now it was Gamblers turn. He just walked along so nonchalantly. When we got to station two he could of cared less about the stranger wanting to meet him. He sniffed around then finally went over to her and gave her a kiss but it was a quick one. He then continued without being fazed by any of the stations. When he came to 8, 9 and 10 he just stool out in front of me the whole time and watched the stranger and didn’t move a muscle. He scored all 4-6 which is what you want in this test. It shows they are even tempered and they don’t have high’s or low’s when it comes to different situations.
I was very happy with both of them and thought this test was well done. Everyone handled themselves in a professional manner and the test went really smoothly. All 11 dogs from the morning test passed. There were a mix of dog’s from my Chesapeakes to Pugs, Greater Swiss Mountain, Pit Bull, Terriers, Mastiff and a Rhodesian Ridgeback.
As of February 2014, there have been 115 Chesapeakes tested with 100 passing and 15 failing. 87%
So now when someone asks me if Chesapeakes are mean I can say that my Chesapeakes have their Therapy Inc title, CGC title and their TT certificate.
Thank you again to Canine Solutions LLC for hosting this event and for all the volunteers to helped out.
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