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Thread: Temperament Testing - Breed Differences?

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    Default Temperament Testing - Breed Differences?

    I know a few on here are experienced in rescue. Just wondering what value people place on intitial temperament testing, especially in a pound environment?

    Am curious as I have recently taken on a Greyhound (not Onyx as in my other post - another boy) who was not tested favourably whilst in the pound. He was very aloof, disinterested in people in general, and showed a high prey drive. I am aware that these are traits that sound a death knell for many Greyhounds.

    To me, as a sighthound person, these are very normal behaviours. Especially in a strange environment, with strangers around.

    Do many rescuers take into account breed peculiarities when testing temperaments pre-rescue? Or are tests generalised for all dogs?

    BTW - after almost a week of being the same at home, this boy has popped out of his shell - like someone switching on a light he is now a bouncy boofhead who won't leave anyone alone for a second!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nattylou View Post
    I know a few on here are experienced in rescue. Just wondering what value people place on intitial temperament testing, especially in a pound environment?

    Am curious as I have recently taken on a Greyhound (not Onyx as in my other post - another boy) who was not tested favourably whilst in the pound. He was very aloof, disinterested in people in general, and showed a high prey drive. I am aware that these are traits that sound a death knell for many Greyhounds.

    To me, as a sighthound person, these are very normal behaviours. Especially in a strange environment, with strangers around.

    Do many rescuers take into account breed peculiarities when testing temperaments pre-rescue? Or are tests generalised for all dogs?

    BTW - after almost a week of being the same at home, this boy has popped out of his shell - like someone switching on a light he is now a bouncy boofhead who won't leave anyone alone for a second!
    Hi Natty

    You raise some really relevant thoughts and this a greatly debated topic within rescue.

    The pound environment is most often very stressful for impounded dogs. As a result it can be very difficult to gauge their natural temp and ability. The majority of dogs rescued/adopted from pounds are very different dogs in a loving, commited and responsible home/foster care.

    Dogs pick up on so much more than we humans. I believe they are well aware of the serious predicament they are facing. They are also greiving in some cases. Abandonment, confusion, loss. Though for some the pound is the best home they have ever had, so things are looking up

    As as result of all of this a great dog may not do well in a temp test due to the pound environment and associated fear or turmoil, on the other hand they may exceed themselves.

    Temp testing is very important to gather an 'overall' indication of the dog you are considering taking on. Particularly for dogs rescued interstate, breed specific rescue etc.

    As rescue places are few and far between and so many dogs are in urgent need, the emphasis is often on the dogs who do very well in temp tests. These dogs will often be logistically easier to foster, manage and rehome.

    I am not saying it is good at all Rescue are well aware of this too...

    I have rescued and fostered so many dogs that would have failed temp testing though I had the benefit of laying my hands on them personally.

    In no time at all they were different dogs

    They have all been amazing dogs, and moved into fantastic, devoted homes

    Sadly Natty as there are so very many dogs in urgent need the cream is often skimmed from the top. Places in rescue are very limited and finances are tight.

    I do not believe this is what rescue want essentially...we all adore dogs and work hard for them.

    Sadly when push comes to shove the better the presenting nature and temp, the better chance of rescue and responsible rehoming

    Though as i am hopeless free spirit the naughty ones often arrive here

    Nic xx

    "There is enough love and concern for animals in every community to overcome the irresposibility of the few"
    Nathan Winograd.

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    I always did but pounds and shelters like the rspca cannot pass a dog that does not conform to ALL of their assessments. People keep bagging out LDH and RSPCA etc but they don't seem to be able to get it through their little heads that these places have huge public liability responsibility.

    I know of a Vic shelter that adopted a dog out that mauled. the owners first dog. Now, what does that do to the rep of a place? (this was never advertised, I happened to know the woman who owned the dogs). Same shelter gave me a dog to look after that mauled Cappy's leg - this was before the days of me doing my own assessments.

    Would you trust Onyx with cats or little dogs? If not, this limits your rehoming options. Whilst you may be willing to look after a dog that may take weeks or months to rehome - shelters just do not have that luxury. That is why the rspca, ldh, lort smith, etc will contact me with unsuitable dogs - they will explain the situation and ask if I know of a home for a special needs dog.

    So their temperment tests are not breed specific and this causes a lot of heartache. I had a gsd I desperately wanted from LDH many years ago. They put him down as he was "wary of people" - I was angry and I thought he was an amazing dog - it is just that sheps go kennel mad very quickly - as do huskies and many other breeds. These days they do think more about individual breeds and they will try and get certain dogs out more quickly or to breed rescue.

    I always take into account the breed of dog I am looking at and there are some breeds I wont touch with a barge pole - they do not suit the sort of environment I would be bringing them into. Hence the breed specific stuff I used to to.

    There are people running out touting their methods as being the best at temperment assessment - frankly it isn't brain surgery - however if they are getting the word out and getting shelters to do the right thing - more power to them.

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    You raise some valid points Occy.

    I may have missed the mark here. I thought we were considering 'rescue' temp testing? Rather than shelters, RSPCA etc..

    Basic temp testing in pounds and shelters in particular Greys, is not the be all and end all. It does however offer an off the cuff indication regarding prey drive and the potential rehabilitation required.

    Rehabilitation can be lengthy and expensive at times.

    In terms of the magnificent Greys it is mind blowing for me.

    We train and reward prey drive for Greys in racing. We ask them, encourage them and train them to hit the mark...

    They do what we ask most often, but if they don't 'win' they are sent to a pound or shelter! Keep in mind only a tiny percentage actually get through.

    AND then when in a shelter we pronounce in an instant...No! prey drive is not good now and if you show any indication of that...your gone.

    We insist they chase.... and then we kill them for chasing!

    You would think that as the so called superior human race we could find other forms of entertainment!!

    Any way that is my rant. I despise the majority of the greyhound racing industry along with the pet industry.

    While masive profit is being made these people disregard the rest. Dead dogs are simply collateral damage in a scrabble to the top for $$$.

    And animals have no voice...they are very silent.

    Profit makers do not care. They will always justify it somehow. I see them laughing and joking about it. EG The only good grey is one that wins.

    Honestly, the carnage must stop.

    Nic

    "There is enough love and concern for animals in every community to overcome the irresposibility of the few"
    Nathan Winograd.

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    Hard hitting views for some.

    Though i believe i have seen enough of the madness to know the truth.

    I can't stand seeing good dogs die due to their owners, environment or for profit.

    Nic

    "There is enough love and concern for animals in every community to overcome the irresposibility of the few"
    Nathan Winograd.

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    Just adding that if your average shelter and pound had the marketing "pull" and profits/donations of the RSPCA and others I am sure they could employ more staff, and temp testing would flow.

    Things as they stand in your average pounds and shelters is that rescuers temp test alone and or reply upon another to do that for them. Or they take dogs sight unseen.

    Rescue volunteers also list dogs on sites and network with others to save lives.

    Shelter staff are flat out, deal with the worst day in day out and are lucky to meet the dogs needs consistantly.

    They are only human, and can only do so much. Most of which is not even acknowledged or recognised.

    The RSPCA and for that matter LDH get massive amounts of donations. They market for donations and do very, very well.

    They should be so far above in the fight for companion animals and their welfare it scares people!.. they prattle on, fail to address the 'flow' or address issues and still call upon everyone for more money...

    I would fail a RSPCA or LDH temp test!!

    Nic

    "There is enough love and concern for animals in every community to overcome the irresposibility of the few"
    Nathan Winograd.

  7. #7

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    I think I would fail their tests too Nic.

    Huskies were another one I was thinking of - I can imagine that these sort of breeds have temperaments that many people don't know about, and their reactions to pound environments would display as traits that are unwanted.

    And yes Occy, Onyx is trustworthy with small dogs and cats. The new boy (who is named Jack Skellington by the kids due to his state when he arrived...)- not with cats. Probably never with cats. But he has been trained for this, I can't condemn him for it.

    Although ALL of my dogs will chase a cat if it runs, they are sighthounds. They just won't eat it. I have had rescue groups tell me that they won't re-home greys as cat friendly unless they completely ignore the cat...??? What is that? My Salukis will sleep on the couch with the cat, but if he runs from them in the yard they'll chase him - but if he stops and turns they will back off. This is all I would expect from a sighthound that has potentially thousands of years of breeding focussing them on sighting and chasing small animals behind them.

    I think it just frustrates me that dogs that may have great potential seem to be condemmed quickly by well-meaning but sometimes inexperienced people helping out with rescue. The tick the right boxes sort of approach to temp testing, rather than taking in the animal, it's known history and it's current environment as a whole.

    We have had a disaster at home with a small dog we were temp caring for a friend who does rescue. The single minded aggression and prey drive shown by this dog was mind blowing. But he is small and cute, and people friendly. Tell that to my daughter very well contained guinea pigs that he accounted for... after escaping his own containment. None of the sighthounds on our property would have been capable of his kill drive.

    And Nic - I hear you about the money side of it. Onyx won his owner/s a very decent amount on the track, and has a better racing record than many dogs being sold for thousands. But one negative stewards report for not chasing, and two days later he was at the pound. He might have not been feeling well, who knows? But that's it. If he can't perform when those people demand it, he's discarded like trash...

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    It is best that breed specific rescue deal with certain breeds IMO - they are going to know them better and be more sympathetic. I would not rescue greys for example as I do not know the breed, but I might do gsp's as I do know them. perhaps all breeds rescues should stick to mutts - there's plenty of them. or perhaps that is too symplistic.

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    completly ignore the cat? my dog Malt x poodle sends the cat insane, that seems kind of odd criteria that they dont ignore then attack yes...
    I guess Im not in the rescue biz so Im not really in the know

  10. #10

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    I'd agree that breed specific is the best, as breeds vary so much in temperaments, reactions and behaviours - I suppose it's just that there aren't enough people to go around!

    Anyone can get into rescuing, and they don't actually have to be particularly knowledgeable. But then people invent these "temperament tests" which are so very generalised, and take little or no breed specifics and environmental factors into account. Then people give the yes or no on a dog's survival based upon them... .

    It's quite amazing isn't it Erinah - I can't imagine many dogs who'll completely ignore a cat - maybe they only want really old ones who can't be bothered anymore!!

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