What happens in a character judgement?
As part of a character judgment, a dog’s behavior and its flexibility is recorded by confronting them with different stimuli that may trigger or provoke a particular behavior. A conclusion can be drawn on the dog’s nature based on their behavior throughout the entire assessment, with the aim of checking the dog’s suitability for living with humans in today’s world as objectively as possible.
The dog should not be handled in obedience. Commands must be kept to the very minimum. For this reason, performance examinations (BH, IPO, etc.) that predominantly test learned and conditioned behavior are no substitute for character judgments. Character judgments are split into the following categories:
Impartiality: The dog should allow their handler and an unknown person, e.g. the judge, to touch them at different points on the body.
Social behavior: Interaction with people, individuals, groups
Noise sensitivity: In this section, the dog is subjected to different acoustic stimuli, e.g. rattling, engine noise and blanks being fired as the loudest stimulus.
Certainty of movement: Sensitivity to heights (e.g. assessed by looking at a dog’s movement behavior across tables) as well as a dog’s movement on flat ground.
Play and predatory instinct/behavior under stress: The assessment is based on how the dog plays with their owner (teamwork) and with an unknown person (representative). Furthermore, the intensity towards obstructed prey (willingness to find) and their willingness to play under increased demands (moving table) are also assessed. Only a dog that feels comfortable in its environment and can cope with the situation is able to play.
Basic nature: Behavior in isolation and when meeting an unknown person.