This past Friday, we went out to Ravenna, OH, to help with the Dalmatians of North America National Specialty. While we were there, we had the opportunity to have Tess and Jazz Temperament Tested through the American Temperament Test Society.
For those of you not familiar with the test, it's sort of a more rigorous CGC test. The test is run as if you're taking a walk in the park with your dog and encounter various real-life situations. There are ten stations measuring the dogs' behavior towards strangers, auditory stimuli, visual stimulus, tactile stimuli and self-protective/aggressive behavior. The tests include meeting a neutral and a friendly stranger, approaching and investigating a hidden noise, response to gunshots, having an umbrella suddenly open, walking on plastic and wire footing, and the most interesting part of the test, the "weird stranger." An oddly dressed individual appears and acts erratically, and as he approaches the dog and handler, his actions and demeanor become more threatening. The test gauges the dogs' ability to detect a potentially threatening situation and realize when it progresses to aggression toward the dog and handler. Dogs are permitted to react to this situation, but they are looking for an appropriate reaction for the breed and a quick return to baseline after the situation resolves.
Not only was it fascinating to watch other dog/handler teams take this test, but I'm proud to say that both Tess and Jazz passed their Temperament Test with some very nice comments from the evaluator. To date, only around 250 Dalmatians have passed this test, and I'm so pleased that Tess and Jazz are among them!