We offer testing and assessment services for
- Puppy temperament tests for breeders
- Assessments of suitability for particular puppies or dogs for potential adopters
We specialize in testing and recommendations for future service dogs.
Temperament testing offers an independent assessments of your puppies’ personalities.
- Confirm what you’ve observed or offer a second opinion
- Provide more information and feedback on suitable homes for each puppy
- Offer clients (puppy buyers) confidence that they are getting the right puppy for them
- Provide useful training suggestions for helping puppies achieve their highest potential
Our testing procedures
Tests are conducted by a head trainer and an assistant trainer when puppies are seven weeks old (ideally 49-52 days after whelping). We start with getting a written history on the puppies and their parents before the consult.
The test should be conducted at either a location the breeder chooses — a space the puppies have not been in before — or you may rent our training space for the testing.
The entire process — testing and discussion — usually takes between two and three hours. The length of time depends on the number of puppies, the type of placement/training goals, and other factors. Large litters or service dog puppy placement evaluation often take longer.
During testing we take extensive notes and may also video so that we can later recheck our observations.
We test each puppy with the breeder out of sight, using a modified version of the Volhard Puppy Aptitude Test. We add some tests on dealing with frustration and problem solving ability (barrier test), food/training drive, and also observe how the puppies interact in groups. If a puppy is being selected as a future service dog, we may conduct additional assessments on suitability for an assistance career.
After testing is concluded, we meet and discuss each puppy’s results, make preliminary recommendations, and answer questions. After the test, we send you a written report on each puppy and recommendations for placement or training. The cost for puppy temperament testing — two trainers, a written report, and consult — is $270 for the first two hours. Each additional hour is $100, prorated by quarter hours. Depending on location, mileage or room rental fees may apply.
See videos of some portions of our puppy aptitude tests: Noise sensitivity, trainability, food motivation, retrieve/cooperation aptitude, problem solving/memory/frustration tolerance, stability, sight sensitivity.
Watch a video of some supplemental testing we did for a puppy that was being considered for a service dog career.
Deciding to bring a new dog into your home and life is a big commitment. If you are looking for a dog to train as a future service dog, finding the right dog for the job is critical. Temperament tests and behavior assessments offer an unbiased examination of a dog’s temperament and suitability for you and the career you have in mind.
About Behavior Assessments
An assessment is conducted by two trainers — a lead trainer and assistant — and may take place in the dog’s foster home, the shelter, or our training space (depending on the situation). The process starts before the assessment with getting information from you about what you need in a dog, as well as getting a history from the dogs’ current guardians. Then we meet and test the dog’s sociability, confidence, and comfort with being handled and a variety of other factors (sounds, sights, textures, new people, other dogs, etc.). We also note the dog’s energy level, trainability, interest in working for food or play, prey drive, etc. Unless the dog already knows you, you will usually be able to be present and observe the assessment. After testing, we’ll meet and discuss the dog’s scores and how this fits in with what you’re looking for.
We Are Working for You
We provide an independent perspective with “no strings attached” to the dogs we assess. Breeders, shelter workers, and rescue volunteers naturally have a vested interest in their dogs going to great homes, and this can affect how they view the dogs’ or puppies’ behavior. However, because you hire us to give our professional assessment of whether or which dog or puppy is right for you, we offer you an informed, objective assessment of what we observe and how that fits what you need in a future service dog.
After testing is concluded, we meet and discuss each puppy’s/dog’s results, make recommendations, and answer questions. We may also send you written notes and recommendations. The cost for suitability assessment — two trainers, written materials, and consult — is $270 for the first two hours. Each additional hour is $100, prorated by quarter hours. Depending on location, mileage or room rental fees may apply.
Elizabeth says, “Sharon helped us with the breeder search, the interview and eventually the dog temperament test. Beasley is amazing. He is sweet, smart, and trainable and the perfect fit for me.” Read Elizabeth’s interview in the Hampshire Gazette supplement about selecting and training a dog with At Your Service.
Contact us about temperament testing and assessment: