American Temperment Test www.atts.org

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Postby Maryellen » February 26th, 2006, 7:30 pm

The ATTS Temperament Test focuses on and measures different aspects of temperament such as stability, shyness, aggressiveness, and friendliness as well as the dog's instinct for protectiveness towards its handler and/or self-preservation in the face of a threat.

The test simulates a casual walk through a park or neighborhood where everyday life situations are encountered. During this walk, the dog experiences visual, auditory and tactile stimuli. Neutral, friendly and threatening situations are encountered, calling into play the dog's ability to distinguish between non-threatening situations and those calling for watchful and protective reactions.

Dogs must be at least 18 months old to enter this test. The test takes about eight to 12 minutes to complete. The dog is on a loose six-foot (6') lead. The handler is not allowed to talk to the dog, give commands, or give corrections.

Failure on any part of the test is recognized when a dog shows:

Unprovoked aggression
Panic without recovery
Strong avoidance
The ATTS Temperament Test consists of ten subtests divided into five subcategories:

Behavior Toward Strangers
Objective: To measure the dog's reaction to strangers in a non-threatening situation.
Subtest 1: Neutral stranger
A stranger to the dog approaches the handler, shakes hands with the handler and engages the handler in a brief conversation, ignoring the dog.
The purpose of this subtest is to evaluate the dog's reaction to passive socialization and the dog's protective instinct.

Subtest 2: Friendly stranger
A stranger to the dog approaches happily and briskly, is very friendly to the dog and pets the dog.
The purpose of this subtest is to evaluate the dog's active social skills.

Reaction to Auditory Stimuli
Objective: To measure the dog's reaction to auditory stimuli and the dog's investigative behavior.
Subtest 3: Hidden Noise
The handler/dog team approaches a hidden assistant who rattles a metal bucket filled with rocks and sets this bucket in the path of the team. The handler may encourage the dog to investigate the bucket only when asked to do so. The handler's focus must be on the bucket, not on the dog.
The purpose of this subtest is to test alertness and curiosity.

Subtest 4: Gunshots
The handler stops at a designated marker with his/her back towards a well hidden assistant. The assistant fires three shots using a .22 caliber starter pistol (SHOT-PAUSE-SHOT-SHOT).
The purpose of this subtest is to measure the dog's recovery response to a sudden noise.

Reaction to Visual Stimulus
Objective: To measure the dog's reaction to a sudden visual stimulus.
Subtest 5: Umbrella
The handler/dog team approaches an assistant sitting in a chair holding a closed umbrella parallel to the ground at a 90 degree angle to the approaching team. When the dog is five feet from the assistant, the umbrella is opened. The handler may encourage the dog to investigate the umbrella only when asked to do so. The handler's focus must be on the umbrella, not on the dog.

Tactile Stimuli
Objective: To measure the dog's reaction to unusual footing.
Subtest 6: Plastic Footing
Both the handler and the dog walk the entire length of a 15-foot by 6-foot clear plastic strip.

Subtest 7: Wire Footing
Only the dog will walk the entire length of a 12-foot by 3-foot unfolded exercise pen.

The purpose of these subtests is to measure the dog's sensitivity to unusual footing, its ability to recover from the fear of unusual footing and to measure its investigative behavior to the unusual footing.

Self Protective/Aggressive Behavior
Objective: These tests collectively evaluate the dog's capacity to recognize an unusual situation, its threshold to provocation, its protective instincts, and its propensity to realize when the situation becomes a threat.
Subtest 8: Non-Threatening
The handler/dog team stops at the designated marker. A weirdly-dressed stranger crosses the path 38 feet in front of the team.
The purpose of this subtest is to test the dog's alertness to an unusual situation.

Subtest 9: Threatening
The weird stranger advances 10 feet towards the stationary handler in a threatening manner.
The purpose of this subtest is to evaluate the dog's ability to recognize when an unusual situation turns into a provocation.

Subtest 10: Aggression
The weird stranger advances to within 18 feet of the stationary handler in an aggressive manner.
The purpose of this subtest is to evaluate the dog's protective instincts.

The stranger is never closer than 10 feet from the dog. The handler's 2 foot arm and the 6' lead is added in for a total of 18 feet. Aggression here is checked against the breed standard and the dog's training. A schutzhund trained dog lunging at the stranger is allowed, but if an untrained Siberian husky does the same, it may fail.

At the conclusion of the test, the handler will receive a critique about the dog's performance. Certificate will be mailed within 90 days of the test.

This copyrighted test may not be used in whole or part without the express written consent of the American Temperament Test Society.
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Postby chance's mom » February 26th, 2006, 10:16 pm

from what i read on this they can only take the test twice ever right? and it has to be at least a 5 month wait from the first test until you can try the final time? did i read that right? or was that the cgc?
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Postby Maryellen » February 26th, 2006, 10:31 pm

since you have to preregister, the slots fill up right away, which is why if you fail you have to wait 5 months since the test wont be around until that time again... they usually test around 25 dogs, so its from 8am to like 4 pm for the testing, the wait is around 2-3 hours, so you cant take the test that same day if you fail.. i dont know if you can take it if your dog fails twice..

the cgc can be retaken as many times as you want, its up to the tester and how many other dogs as to whether you can go the same day..
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Postby concreterose » March 2nd, 2006, 10:46 am

If it is given at a breed specific club, can only that breed participate?
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Postby mnp13 » March 2nd, 2006, 10:51 am

You only get two chances to take the test. If your dog fails both times you can't try again.

The five month wait is to allow dogs to mature or for you to fix the problems with training.

If it is given at a breed specific club, they can reserve a certian number of spots for thier dogs.
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Postby concreterose » March 2nd, 2006, 11:13 am

mnp13 wrote:You only get two chances to take the test. If your dog fails both times you can't try again.

The five month wait is to allow dogs to mature or for you to fix the problems with training.

If it is given at a breed specific club, they can reserve a certian number of spots for thier dogs.


It was my understanding that no commands can be given at the testing...if this is true, how can you fix temperment problems with training in regards to the test?
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Postby Maryellen » March 2nd, 2006, 11:17 am

they want to see the dog in a natural walking environment, and see how the dog reacts to certain things.. you can not give ANY corrections, whether voice or leash... when rufus and i took the test i had to keep telling myself in my head dont talk dont talk dont pull on leash.. they walk you thru the test prior to the test being given, they stop at every spot and tell you what will happen.. they gauge the dogs reaction to the breed standard. the test is only 8 minutes long, its the waiting and the wondering that is the worst part..
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Postby Maryellen » March 2nd, 2006, 11:19 am

if you are wondering about miss vicki, i know she would pass no problem.. if you can go, sign up.. you will have to wait a few hours anyway before your turn, and you can sit and watch everyone else go before you. thats what we did.. it made the entire test more easier..
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Postby Maryellen » March 2nd, 2006, 11:23 am

ps- sometimes the atts gives the test at therapy organizations..
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Postby mnp13 » March 2nd, 2006, 11:33 am

concreterose wrote:
mnp13 wrote:You only get two chances to take the test. If your dog fails both times you can't try again.

The five month wait is to allow dogs to mature or for you to fix the problems with training.

If it is given at a breed specific club, they can reserve a certian number of spots for thier dogs.


It was my understanding that no commands can be given at the testing...if this is true, how can you fix temperment problems with training in regards to the test?


Correct, you can not give commands or corrections during the test.

Part of the test involves sudden noises and strange footing. You can work to desensitize the dog to them. Granted, that goes against the idea of the test, but that doesn't mean people don't do it.
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Postby luvmyangels » March 2nd, 2006, 11:35 am

Great information. I have a while to wait for both my pups to be 18 months. But the information will help to get me prepared for the test. Thank you.
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Postby concreterose » March 2nd, 2006, 12:11 pm

I am going to give it a shot this spring. As long as she can haul me around and jump on somebody she's happy :rolleyes2:
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Postby Maryellen » March 2nd, 2006, 12:28 pm

at the test we took there was a am staff that slobbered over every tester he could get too.... the only tester he couldnt get to was the bad guy at the end.. and the dog actually looked sad he couldnt slobber over him..... all you do is walk thru the steps one by one, they will tell you , stop, turn, etc... since you wont go as soon as you get there, you and vicki can sit and watch the entire test.. they will also tell you to walk your dog good before you take the test too, they did that with all of us taking the test, they told us to go walk for an hour to potty the dogs and get any unnecessary energy out...
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Postby Pitcrew » March 3rd, 2006, 8:50 pm

concreterose wrote:
mnp13 wrote:You only get two chances to take the test. If your dog fails both times you can't try again.

The five month wait is to allow dogs to mature or for you to fix the problems with training.

If it is given at a breed specific club, they can reserve a certian number of spots for thier dogs.


It was my understanding that no commands can be given at the testing...if this is true, how can you fix temperment problems with training in regards to the test?


A dogs "Temperament" is comprised of elements it is born with... like its rectivity or tolerance (fight or flight instinct) to stimulus or stress, level of sensitivity or hardness and certain instincts and drives.
But those things are also affected by socialization, learning, and life experience history.
That is why a dog must be at least 18 mos. old. So he/she has some life experience, and hopefully socialization and training, under his belt.
The dog is being tested for his reaction to certain stimulus under stress. Not training or response to handler or commands. But training, socialization, and expierience can certainly affect a dogs temperament.
Puppies can only be tested for what they are born with. An 8 week old puppy with a very sound temperament, can be a basket case as an adult, if it isnt properly socialized. Also a puppy with a less than ideal temperament can become a wonderful, sound adult if it is winds up in the right home and properly socialized and trained.

Temperament in my opinion, is the combination of what you are born with AND life experience. Not one or the other.
It is NOT just "how you raise them"... or "breeding"... it is both.

There is a TT in Port Byron NY next saturday and I know a few pits will be there. Hope to see more.
"Pedigree indicates what the animal should be;
Conformation indicates what the animal appears to be;
But, Performance indicates what the animal actually is."
- author unknown
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Postby mnp13 » March 3rd, 2006, 10:56 pm

Lisa, would you please post the TT info in the events section? thanks!
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Postby Pitcrew » March 4th, 2006, 12:25 am

Yea, sure, thought I did. :rolleyes2:
"Pedigree indicates what the animal should be;
Conformation indicates what the animal appears to be;
But, Performance indicates what the animal actually is."
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Postby mnp13 » March 4th, 2006, 12:34 am

Lisa wrote:Yea, sure, thought I did. :rolleyes2:


I couldn't find it. :D
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Postby chance's mom » April 1st, 2006, 9:54 pm

when i looked at the website, there is no tests being given in california or anywhere near here. so how can i get this test done?
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Postby Maryellen » April 1st, 2006, 10:47 pm

the atts posts test areas every few months. you have to keep looking, or find a test and drive there.. they rarely do tests in nj, i had to drive to NY to have the test done.
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Postby LindsaySF » May 21st, 2006, 12:21 pm

I brought my 2 pit bulls to the ATTS test in Goshen CT this past April. The absolute hardest thing was stopping myself from correcting the dog! Like Maryellen said, I had to keep telling myself "don't talk to the dog don't talk to the dog"... My worry was that the dogs would pull me all around and not actually walk from station to station as they were supposed to, but you are allowed to pull them along a little to keep them on the 'path'. You just can't talk to them or correct them for their responses at each station.

The only real way to prepare for this test, I think, is to make sure your dog is properly socialized. If loud noises, strange people, etc, scare him/her, expose him/her to them more. Especially if the dog is a rescue and you don't know its history or how much socialization it had as a pup.

Here is the ATTS website for more info on the test: http://atts.org/index.html


~Lindsay~
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