Having been a teenager at the start of the Internet age, one thing I have done is take a bizarre amount of online personality tests. My friend and I used to sit in the back corner of the library during English class answering silly questions to find out what kind of car we should drive. Considering we were probably about 14, everything was in the realm of fantasy. Back then I actually thought one day I would own that Mercedes convertible. Oh the innocence of youth!
Anyway, now that I am a mature adult (ahem) I don’t put much stock in these tests. Not even the ones produced by psychologists. They all determine that people must either be a blue or a yellow or a red and never allow for anything in between. There are no purples or oranges. One person can’t be a blue one minute and then a green the other. I don’t believe human personalities are that simple or that anyone can fit perfectly into one slot. As a tool, these tests are interesting but I don’t think they are particularly useful. Of course, this doesn’t stop me from taking them myself.
A little while ago, a friend of mine Facebook-posted the results of a personality test she took for her dog. Immediately, I was intrigued. I’d never heard of such a thing before. A few days later, Pamela mentioned the same test in a comment. The temptation was too much to resist. Shiva has a personality that screams to be analyzed by an impersonal, incredibly subjective online quiz.
The Volhard Personality Profile for dogs is actually one of the more useful tests I have seen. Because it is based on a numerical rating system, the results do allow for variations. The Volhards are long-time dog trainers that have established a system for helping people communicate better with their pets. The results of the test are meant to help owners understand their dogs’ personality in order to train them accordingly.I am unfamiliar with their exact methods so I don’t want to recommend them without more information. The website doesn’t go into too much detail but they seem to be all about establishing relationships and making dog training more fun. I can’t really see fault with that.
But I digress. This post is supposed to be about Shiva’s results.
The test is broken into four parts based around four types of drive: prey, pack, flight, and fight. I set aside an evening to answer the 4o questions and add up the numbers. According to my very generous – and slightly pickled – responses, Shiva scored as follows:
Prey Drive = 66
Pack Drive = 66
Fight Drive = 49
Flight Drive = 29
Interesting for sure, but not altogether surprising. I’ve considered getting my practically husband to fill it out as well to see if his opinions of her behaviour are any different from mine.
According to the website, Shiva’s high prey drive means she will respond well to the use of treats or a toy during training. It says she may need a firm hand to suppress the drive when in high gear. She is easily motivated but also easily distracted. Nothing surprising there. Her high pack drive also means she responds to praise and touch. She likes to be with us and will respond with little guidance. I also figured this one out already.
What was more interesting to me was her supposedly lower fight and flight drives. The test shows she has a low defense drive in general. If this is true, it may explain why she was is quick to respond to counter-conditioning. Once we finally figured out how to help her reactivity, she made an almost 100% turnaround in a very short time. This might be why. Who knows?
I’m not sure if this test has any real scientific value but as a way of helping people understand their dogs’ motivation for certain behaviours, I could see it being beneficial. It’s just another tool in the dog training arsenal. I’ve learned you can never have too many!
Have you taken this test? I’d love to hear if the results were helpful for anyone else.