Choosing a dog for family service, a family pet.
This dog will be expected to be gentle with children and the elderly, obedient and protective.
It will be trusted to be with any family member unsupervised by the "Alpha" or adult leader.
The five qualities to look for are: Gentle Nature- happy playful demeanor Obedient- Obeys commands now, comes when called, releases on command.
Protective- Stands between a perceived threat and child or family member barks or signals when an intruder approaches.
Dispatches snakes or predators when family is present.
Durable- Healthy and strong breed, with boundless energy IE German Shepherd.
Intelligence Learns quickly, retains training, adapts to unfamiliar circumstances.
I have developed some tests to show these attributes in a prospective family service dog.
These tests were perfected with my German Shepherd dog.
To test the dog's gentle nature.
First approach the dog with outstretched hands and allow it to smell you.
Then gently grab the snout and wiggle it.
Then turn and run away, it should pursue you and when you turn to it and it should run away.
If it does not, it may not be a suitable family dog.
To test the dog's obedience: Introduce yourself to the dog with outstretched hand palm down, allow it to smell you, then say in a firm voice "sit" it should sit immediately if it does say good boy or girl, then say "down" it should drop to the floor immediately.
If it does not, maybe it is not the best dog for the family To test the dogs protective instincts is a bit tough.
You must wear leather gloves in this test, and use a child or small woman.
First have the small person introduce them self to the dog with outstretched hand and you stay out of sight.
Then surprise the person and the dog by gently shaking the small person the dog should growl and approach you and attempt to attack.
It will go after the gloved hands first.
Then say release or ouch to quell the attack Of course release the small person and the attack must stop.
If not don't consider this dog.
It is difficult to gauge the durability of a dog however there are clues to good health in dogs: It should have alert bright eyes, soft leathery nose, strong physique, and a coordinated gait walking, trotting, and running.
It should have white strong teeth and decent breath.
To test the dog's intelligence is fun: Check it's recall of basic commands sit, down, come, fetch or bring it, and drop it or leave it.
If the dog does these commands well test the soft mouth command where you invite the dog to take your hand in the mouth and say "soft mouth" it should loosen the jaws and cover the teeth with the lips.
This will be a new command and if it complies you have an intelligent dog suitable for family service a pet.
These tests were distilled from many dog trainers and veterinarians and used on a mini pinscher, a chihuahua, a pit bull, 2 German Shepherds, a mini poodle and mutts (mixed breeds).
It works and should be used to evaluate a dog before bringing it into your home.
These test are meant to audit the temperament of a dog quickly without discomfort to the dog.
The added benefit of these tests is after evaluating the dog, you have established rapport with this dog, thus getting a head start on establishing yourself as the Alpha or leader.