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My puppy's character?

The choice of your puppy must be made according to the breed and particular physical aspects, but also according to the potential affinity of your characters and your personal expectations from the relationship with the puppy. If you wish for a very affectionate companion or a very independent one, you can orientate your choice with the help of the Campbell test which will give you a first evaluation on the future personality of your dog.

Campbell Test

Campbell's test includes 5 easy to accomplish exercises, easy to interpret and providing good indications on the basic temper of the puppy, provided that conditions defined by Campbell are scrupulously respected.


Test social charm

Define a zone of your choice, enter it and put the puppy gently in the centre, then move away from him for a couple of meters in the opposite direction from which you entered. Then kneel and try to attract the puppy by gently clapping in your hands. You will see then if he comes towards you or not, and, if so, if he carries his tail high or low. It will allow you to appreciate its social sense and to draw conclusions on his nature, more or less confident, or independent.

Attitude and marks

  • Comes right away, high tail, jumps, bites: DD
  • Comes right away, high tail, gives the paw: D
  • Comes right away, low tail: S 
  • Comes with hesitation, low tail: SS
  • Do not come: I

Test her aptitude to follow a human

Standing near the puppy, move away from him walking normally. His reactions will clearly reveal if he has more or less the aptitude to follow you. If he doesn’t come at all, he is very independent. Be sure that he saw you at the start.

Attitude and marks

  • Desire to follow, jumps, gives the paw, bites, growls: DD
  • Follows right away, high tail, in your feet: D
  • Follows right away, high tail, in your feet, jumps: DD
  • Follows right away, low tail: S
  • Follows with hesitation, low tail: SS
  • Walks away and stays far: I
  • Does not follow, goes his own way: I

Test his reactions to dominance under restraint

Squat and gently lay down the puppy and slowly roll him on the back.; hold him that way for 30 seconds, with a hand on his chest. The puppy can defend himself fiercely, shout, struggle, bite or calm down and lick you hands. His reaction points out approval or refusal of your authority as well as its reflexes: active reflexes of defense (aggressive) or passive reflexes of defense.

Attitude and notation

  • Flaps tail, fights fiercely: D
  • Flaps tail, fights fiercely, bites: DD
  • Fights fiercely then calms down: S
  • Does not struggle, licks hands: SS
  • Test his reactions to social dominance (Length: 30 seconds)

A predominant dog puts down his front paws on the nape and the withers of the subordinate. To know if he accepts your domination, go about things in the following way: squat next to the puppy lying down; caress him slowly from the summit of the top of the head, and descending along the neck line and the back; eventually exercise a certain pressure so that he stays in this position. His attitude under the caress points out its approval or its refusal of your social dominance. A very predominant puppy will try to bite, growl or jump on you. The independent pup will content itself with moving away.

Attitude and notation

  • Tries to bite, growls: DD
  • Struggles a lot: D
  • Wiggles, licks hands: S
  • Rolls on back, licks hands: SS
  • Does not struggle, licks hands: SS
  • Leaves and stays away: I
  • Test his reactions to dominance by elevation

  • Raise the puppy slowly, your two hands reached under the sternum, so that he does not touch the ground anymore. Hold him so 30 seconds: the puppy, with no more control, must trust you entirely and accept your dominance. You will notice then if he adapts or not to this situation. You can then put him down and note result.

Attitude and notation

  • Struggles fiercely, bites, growls: DD
  • Struggles a lot: D
  • Struggles then calms down, licks: S
  • Does not struggle, licks hands: SS

At the end of all exercises, fondle your puppy and congratulate him, whatever his behavior was, then bring him back to his mother.

Interpretating the results

The interpretation of Campbell's tests is easy, and results are rich in information. However, these tests provide only an indication of the personality of your puppy. It will also be influenced by the education that you will give him.

If the puppy obtained three "D" or more: the predominant extravert puppy. These animals have a tendency to loyal domination, to self-confidence. If he is spoiled, if we let him make his fads, he will become impossible. Such puppy must be manipulated and raised with logic and softness, but always firmly. He presents a big aptitude for training, competitions and work. His presence with children is not recommended.

Three "S" or more: the balanced pup. Neither too submissive, nor aggressive and not very susceptible, such dog fits well to all types of environments (apartment, country home). It is perfect for children or the elderly.

Two "SS" or more, with one or several "I": the submissive pup. Undoubtedly, an animal with such results is a loving one. To earn his trust, you shouldn’t be skimp neither on compliments nor on affection. Extremely sensitive to reprimands, he is also capable of biting if frighten by a situation where he is trapped without being able to escape. The submissive puppy is, in general, the children’s friend.

Two "SS" with "I" in the test "social dominance": the badly socialized puppy. This animal will have unpredictable reactions. If he also obtained some "DD" or "D" in the tests, this dog can react to fear by attacking, notably if he is being punished. If the results include other "SS" or other "C", the lightest stress can be enough to make it fearful. Therefore, this type of dog reacts badly to children's presence. It is difficult to educate such dog.

Finally, if the total is constituted of contradictory results, it might be necessary to perform the tests in a different place. If then they results are the same, the puppy is a particular case; his behavior is unpredictable and he has an uneven teper.

Bitting test

Take a rope with a knot or a rag, agitate it in front of the puppy until he holds the object in is mouth and pulls...

If he pulls directly, growls wickedly, pulling back his lips, has a rigid tail and refuses to give way: This puppy is too prone to biting, he will not make a good family dog. He will be suited only for professionals or as a working dog.

He pulls, growls, without pulling back up his lips, he agitates the tail, then the game bores him, he loses interest or accepts that you take back the toy: good reaction for a family dog.

He sniffs then moves away, absolutely uninterested: ideal companion for the elderly.

Isolation test

Isolate the puppy in an room that is unknown to him with your family and yourself.

If he isolates himself in a corner, lies down, uninterested: absence of attachment, depression.

He cries, barks and whines and does not pay any attention to you.

If you manage to soothe him down, this dog will become attached to you in future.

He whines, barks, howls in death and escapes your contact. He still has socializing problems. He will possibly be able to become attached to you but not to your whole family.

Fecthing Test

Of course, your puppy is not educated yet but he naturally should have acquired a certain curiosity for thrown objects. Attract his attention with a toy and throw within 2 or 3 meters of him, what does he do?

If he goes towards the object, takes it in his mouth and comes back towards you when you call him, with the object still in his mouth: It is a reaction highly hoped for in an obedient dog.

He goes towards the object, takes it in his mouth but leaves it: This is the general reaction for a dog! This dog will be obedient also.

He goes towards the object but does not take it in his mouth (he even stops running before getting to the toy!): This puppy can become obedient but a little more patience will indeed be needed!
He ignores the toy completely: This puppy won't perform as well in obedience training.