Friday, February 17, 2012

12 Month Behavioral Assessment

Believe it or not, this was Vinson's official Breeding Station photo!
As a puppy raiser you are required to complete a 6-month and 12-month assessment of the puppy's behavior for The Seeing Eye. I just completed Vinson's 12-month version. The purpose is to let the puppy development team and your area coordinator have very specific information about how the puppy behaves in a variety of situations.

As you all know, Vinson is an incredible dog but he can be quite a challenge and an odd little fellow too. It's super important to be very honest on these assessments so staff from The Seeing Eye can identify patterns, help address particular issues and gauge how the puppy you're raising stacks up against the average.

Topics in the assessment include:
  • Training and obedience
  • Aggression
  • Fear and anxiety
  • Separation-related behavior
  • Excitability
  • Attention-seeking
  • Miscellaneous
If you've been following along for the last ten months you probably know which of those topics are and are not issues for Vinson.

Aggression, fear and separation-related are issues we have not had to worry about with Vinson. He loves everyone and every dog he meets and wants to play all the time; and despite being used to being around people nearly 24-hours a day, he also easily quiets down in his crate when we go out to dinner or the like.

Excitability, attention-seeking and miscellaneous on the other hand, well... these are where we've had our struggles. 

The final part of the assessment has a spot for general comments that says "Please describe other bizarre, strange, or repetitive behavior(s)". One only needs to look back through this blog to see examples of these bizarre activities! Here are some highlights from my submitted response:

Vinson is a wonderful but odd boy! He obsesses over things - paper products are at the top. If you blow your nose and then walk to the garbage with the tissue in your hand he will jump at your hand and try to actually eat the tissue. We recently caught him eating toilet paper directly from the roll, and tissues right out of the box like a self-serve buffet. He would eat a garbage can full of paper towels if uninterrupted. Leaves outside are of little interest until they are scattered by the wind. He begins happily pouncing on them as if they are tiny little toys. Vinson has a fetish for metallic objects and will lick gates, collars, buckles and the like if given the opportunity. Stickers are another paper-based fascination for him. Bar codes on the bottom tray of the crate, price tags on a box - he will lick and chew at them until he has them completely removed if possible.

Overall, Vinson is one special dog - driven, happy, boisterous, loving and full of personality. He is fearless, non-aggressive and just all around happy. With that said, some of his behaviors are just plain strange and despite our corrections, they continue to occur. He is very high energy and we walk and run him every day, but sometimes even a 3 mile walk is not enough to completely tire him out.

Just like people, every dog is different and unique. Vinson has many more positive than negative qualities and is a wonderful companion. We're hoping we can work through his little oddities so he can be partnered with a student. Time will tell...

No comments:

Post a Comment