Is it really a "temperament test"?
For 15 years we called our first day evaluation a "Temperament Test". It was catchy. Both words started with a "T"; it rolled off your tongue easily. All was fine with this terminology until one day my sister questioned it. We were opening a second location and were saying that dogs that attended daycare at our current location would have to do another temperament test at the new facility.
It made perfect sense to me, the dogs had never been to that facility before, never met the staff, never met that particular set of dogs. Yep, total sense. My sister however didn't agree. "If I were a client I'd get mad having to do another temperament test. I mean you already know my dogs temperament from the other location. He's not going to change just because he's in a different building." I responded, "Yes, but, he needs to get used to the new place. I don't want to just throw him into a completely different environment and expect him to be fine right off the bat. I want to do the introduction slowly and make sure that he is comfortable with all the dogs there and gets used to the new layout."
"Well," she said, "I get that, but you don't need to test his temperament again."
Hmm....did my sister have a point? What we were actually doing had nothing to do with his temperament at all. We wanted to see how he responded to our particular environment. Doesn't matter how his temperament is at home, at the park, on a walk, at another doggie daycare. It only matters how he reacts in our playgroups. When I explained it to her, and to many clients previously, I'd say that we were really seeing "if he is compatible with daycare". When we would dismiss a dog we would never say, "His temperament is just horrible. He's aggressive and shouldn't be around other dogs." No. We would say, "He's just not compatible with our daycare environment." What a big difference. If that's really what we were doing then why not call it the correct name? So after 15 years of calling our first day evaluations "Temperament Tests", we changed the name to "Playgroup Compatibility Evaluations". Doesn't roll off the tongue quite as nice but it definitely reflects what we are really doing.
You can actually purchase the forms we use for our passed evaluations, failed evaluations and dismissals on our products page. They are wonderful tools for staff to assess dogs and to communicate behaviors to clients.
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