Aptitude Test

Here’s our dog aptitude test designed for puppies, although it can also be executed on adults and young adults for the same purpose.  We originally took an East German version of a well-structured aptitude test created in the late 1800’s and applied our own patented Perfect Balance© twist, and voila!

The idea is to run each test consecutively without much of a break until complete, then, measure the results based on the tables below.  When interpreting the results, you will need to be emotionally distant.  Let the data speak for itself, and not your heart.  All puppies grow up, so you’ll need to look at this addition as a 10-year commitment.


  1. The testing shall be done in a location not familiar to the puppies.
  2. The puppies need to be tested one at a time.
  3. There are no other dogs or people allowed, except the scorer, the tester, and respective litter owners or trainers (as witnesses).
  4. The puppies should not know the tester.
  5. The scorer needs to be a third party person not interested in the puppies tested.
  6. The scorer is positioned in a way not needing to move too much while scoring.  Unintrusively.
  7. The puppies shall be tested before they are fed, and while at their liveliest.
  8. Do not test a puppy or dog that is not feeling well.
  9. Puppies (dogs) should not be tested within two days from vaccination.
  10. Only the first test response shall be recorded.


The ultimate score when looking for a protection dog is typically 1’s or low overall scores.  However, no dog will score low in all areas, so you will need to use some common sense in the areas important to the task your dog will ultimately be performing.

If the Puppy Scores Mostly 1’s
It means that he/she has a strong desire to be the pack leader and is not shy.
Has a predisposition to be aggressive if needed.
Typically a very confident animal.
May also be very hard to train, as it is usually their way or the highway.
Should only be placed into homes with experienced handlers where the dog WILL be properly trained and worked on a regular basis.
Needs a strict schedule, exercise and lots of training.
It is better to not place this dog with children, elderly people or other animals unless the principal handler is a strong dog person.
This dog will most likely turn out to be a hard protection dog and will have strong alpha aspirations that should be handled by experienced owners only.
May be a good candidate for Police work.
In the right hands, this dog can potentially become a good sport-dog competitor.

If the Puppy Scores Mostly 2’s 
This puppy also has strong leadership aspirations.
Has a predisposition to also be aggressive if needed, but softer than a 1 score.
Self-confidence.  Should not be placed into an inexperienced home.
May become a good protection dog.
This dog may be too hard to place with children, elderly people or other animals.
Needs a strict schedule, exercise and lots of training.
Has the potential to be a great dog in the right hands.
This dog could also become a good sport-dog competitor.

If the Puppy Scores Mostly 3’s
May become a high-energy dog that will need a fair amount of exercise.
Should be good with people and other animals.
Will need training, and are typically very smart.
Great dog for second-time owners.
Some of these dogs may work in protection, but will be considered soft dogs.

If the Puppy Scores Mostly 4’s
This dog is pet quality only.
Great choice for a first-time owner.
Not expected to have alpha struggle issues with the family or other dogs.
Easy to train, quiet and lower energy.
Good with elderly people, and children.

If the Puppy Scores Mostly 5’s
Fearful, shy and needs special handling.
Will most likely run away if stressed.
New people and places will possibly cause stress.
These dogs typically grow up to have storm anxieties, or overly reactive to loud noises.
Typically requires a quiet home with no children and in control.
Great for an elderly person.
Some of these dogs may become fear biters if they cannot escape to their safe space.

If the Puppy Scores Mostly 6’s
These are typically dependent and often distant dogs.
These dogs have a hard time bonding with people or other dogs.
Due to their nerviness, they are hard to train as they are always stressed about something.
These dogs are typically a life-long training project to get them to simply assimilate.

HOW to execute the tests

Social Attraction
From a few feet away from the tester, coax the dog to you by clapping hands and kneeling down. Coax in a direction away from the point where it entered the testing area. 
Degree of social interest in the tester.  1. Came readily, tail up, jumped, bit at hands
2. Came readily, tail up, pawed, liked at hands.
3. Came readily, tail up.
4. Came readily, tail down.
5. Came hesitantly, tail down.
6. Did not come at all.

Social Following
Stand up and walk away from the dog in a normal manner. Make sure the dog sees you walk away.
Next run away from the pup.

Degree of following attraction. Level of prey drive. 1. Followed readily, tail up, got underfoot, bit at feet.
2. Followed readily, tail up, got underfoot.
3. Followed readily, tail up.
4. Followed readily, tail down.
5. Followed hesitantly, tail down.
6. No following, or went away.

Social Dominance
Let pup stand up and gently stroke him from the head to back while you crouch beside him. Continue stroking until a recognizable behavior is established.

Degree of acceptance of social dominance pup may try to dominate by jumping and nipping or it is independent and walks away. 1. Jumped, pawed, bit, growled.
2. Jumped, pawed.
3. Cuddles up to the tester and tries to lick face.
4. Squirmed, licked at hands.
5. Rolled over, licked at hands.
6. Went away and stayed away.

Crouch beside pup and attract its attention with crumpled up paper ball. When the pup shows interest and is watching, toss the object 1 to 2 meters in front of the pup.

Degree of willingness to work with a human. Degree of work ethics. 1. Chases object, picks up the object and runs away.
2. Chases object, stands over object, doesn’t return.
3. Chases object and returns object to tester.
4. Chases object and returns without the object.
5. Starts to chase the object, loses interest.
6. Does not chase object.

Prey / Defense Drive
Use a bite rag or towel and prey drive the pup. Coax him to chase or bite at it.

Degree of prey drive observed. Degree of intelligence to chase rag.
Degree of rag or bite aggression / prey.
1. Followed rag, tail up, bit at rag – growled.
2. Followed readily, tail up.
3. Followed rag, tail up, bit at rag – barked
4. Followed readily, tail down.
5. Followed hesitantly, tail down.
6. No following, or went away.

Elevation Dominance
Bend over and cradle the pup under its belly, fingers interlaced, palms up and elevate just off the ground. Hold the position for 30 seconds.

Degree of accepting dominance while in a position of no control. 1. Struggled fiercely, bit growled.
2. Struggled fiercely.
3. Struggled, settled, struggled.
4. No struggle, relaxed.
5. No struggled, licked hands or stiff body
6. No struggle, frozen.

Restraint Dominance
Crouch down and gently roll the pup on his back and hold it with one hand for a full 20 seconds.

Degree of dominant or submissive tendency. How it accepts stress when socially and/or physically dominated. 1. Struggled fiercely, bites.
2. Struggled fiercely
3. Settled, struggled, settled with some eye contact.
4. Struggled, then settled.
5. No struggle.
6. No struggle, straining to avoid eye contact.

Touch / Pain Sensitivity
Take puppy’s webbing of one front foot and press between finger and thumb lightly, then more firmly till you get a response. Stop when pup shows discomfort.

Degree of sensitivity to touch or pain. 1. >10 seconds before responding.
2. 7-10 seconds before responding.
3. 4-7 seconds before responding.
4. 2-4 seconds before responding.
5. 1-2 seconds before responding.
6. An immediate negative response, yelps. 

Need a wet slippery section 10 feet wide. Hold the dog at a dry end, and coax him with clapping or toys till he attempts to cross the slippery floor.

Degree of determination or completeness of assignment. Degree of work ethics. 1. Came readily, tail up, jumped, bit at hands.
2. Came readily, tail up, pawed, liked at hands.
3. Came readily, tail up.
4. Came readily, tail down.
5. Did not come. Quit after slipping 2-3x
6. Did not come at all. Quit at 1st fall.

Nerves / Sound
Place pup in center of the area. Tester makes a sharp noise a few feet from the puppy. Wip or loud pan. 

Degree of sensitivity to sound. 1. Listens, locates sound, walks towards it barking.
2. Listens, locates sound, barks.
3. Listens, locates sound, walks there curiously.
4. Listens, locates sound.
5. Ignores sound, shows no curiosity.
6. Cringes, barks off, hides.

Throughout the full test, the puppy is observed for suspicion reaction to the tester. This may be gathered also by engaging in hard play with the dog for 20 seconds.

Measure the degree of suspicion to any abnormal activity during the testing.
Puppies will test weaker in this area than a young adult. 
 1. Barks, growls, and bites after the tester
2. Engages in hard play, no bark or growl.
3. Ignores, rough play, shows no curiosity.
4. Plays some, but stops quickly.
5. Does not engage and is confused.
6. Cringes, backs-off, hides, runs away.

Throughout the full test, the puppy is observed for the ability to forgive tester.

Degree of forgiveness is measured by how long it takes the puppy to re-engage with the tester after any one particular test phase. 1. Engages with tester right away, plays hard.
2. Assertive w/tester, slowly engages actively.
3. Assertive w/tester, but DOES not engage.
4. Engages w/tester once pressure is removed.
5. Shy w/tester, slowly engages submissively.
6. Ignores tester, cringes, backs off, hides.