Testing German shepherd puppies to assess their chances of certification

SVOBODOVÁ, Ivona, VÁPENÍK, Pavel, PINC, Ludvík a BARTOŠ, Luděk. Testing German shepherd puppies to assess their chances of certification. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 2008, 113, 139-149. ISSN 0168-1591.
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Behavioral activity of 7-week-old German shepherd puppies was tested and the activities analyzed if they could be used for predicting police efficiency of the individual. The tests in our study seem to be a good base that might enable selection for suitable dogs as early as 7 weeks of age. The puppies having high probability to pass certification in adulthood were heavy individuals willing to chase, catch, and fetch a tennis ball, and following a rag drawn away from them, while weakly responding to a distracting noise in various situations and showing low activity while negotiating obstacles and interacting with the tester. To conclude, contrary to skeptical assumptions expressed by various authors, the specific puppy tests for police dogs provide a reliable tool for predicting future service ability of a puppy. Differences in methodology are likely to contribute to a lack of consensus among various studies.