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How to Run the GDBART Puppy Test

Example Video




People Required

  • Handler – Handler should be skilled in dog handling and communicating with dog
  • Videographer/prop person/BCL scorer: turn on vacuum, drop can



Test Layout

  • Testing space is set up as noted in diagram above.
  • Inside the area are: 3 statues (including something with big eyes), 2 underfootings, stairs, tunnel, toys
  • Outside the area are: fan, vacuum cleaner, other statue e.g. barbie doll head or yoda. Videographer,     BCL scorer, Table with mat, can, flirt pole, harness, food. (these items can be on a window ledge if available)
  • No items are switched on and nobody is in the space at the start of the test.


Test Procedure

Click Here to Download this table

Test Component Procedure Problem Solving
1 ½ minutes   Handler enters test space from the front left corner, places puppy into the center, exits space and moves out of pup’s sight. Observe behaviour. 
  Greeting Handler enters the test space at the same entry, takes 3 to 4 steps toward center, facing toward the pup.  Handler crouches down without any comments and waits for the pup to come greet them.  Handler greets pup with soft happy voice and gentle petting. If pup does not come within 5 seconds, call pup. If pup comes greet the pup as previously stated. If pup still does not come, handler walks 3 steps closer to pup, crouches and calls again.  Repeat until you reach the puppy.  Once the pup comes to the handler, or the handler reaches the pup, greet with soft happy voice and petting.
  Taking food treats Handler provides 3 treats slowly while giving verbal praise.  Observe how pup takes food treats.  Also, it helps establish value and beginning of a relationship with the handler.
10 sec Ignore Handler stands quietly without interacting with the puppy for 10 seconds.  Once 10 seconds is up, handler can engage with the puppy Watch for demand barking.
  Follow me

With voice and hand gestures, handler encourages pup to follow in a clockwise direction around the statues and along the fence line  praising pup for following.  

Observe if pup is social, follows, and is excitable with handling.
  Fan Turn on fan to level 2. From out of air flow handler encourages the pup to follow on the left side of handler against the x-pen using hand gestures and praise.  The pup should move along the x-pen at a distance of 12”.  Handler should pause to allow pup to investigate fan if they want to without handler support.  Once the pup has passed the fan, loop back around to walk past the fan a second time. Fan is then turned off. If pup will not walk past fan the first time, handler allows pup up to 5 seconds to investigate then tries walking past again at a greater distance (2 feet further away).  If pup still won’t, handler squats 2’ away from fan and calls pup to come.  If pup does come, handler moves 1’ away from fan, squats and calls pup.  If pup does not come take three steps closer to pup and call. Repeat until you get to the pup.
  Stairs/ramp Handler encourages the pup, with hand gestures and praise, to go up the stairs and down the ramp. If pup does not go up stairs place food on the steps to encourage them. If pup does not come down stairs, tap the ramp or stair to encourage them.  If there is no movement, handler can encourage with food.

Encourage pup to walk through the tunnel by tapping inside the tunnel and using hand gestures or tossing a small soft toy through the tunnel.   

Observe the outlet if the pup tries to run around the tunnel.  If pup does not go through the tunnel, try to encourage a second time by tossing the toy through the tunnel again then move to food to encourage pup to go through.  If the puppy refuses, move on to the next event.
  Under footings   If pup does not walk on UF, handler tries up to 3 passes walking past UF while hand gesturing for pup to walk on it.  Encouragement should be hand gestures and praise or a soft toy to encourage the pup.  On the third try the handler can use food.
Varied time

Vacuum      1 &  2

#1 Handler and pup stand at far right corner   Once handler gives the cue, turn vacuun for 5 seconds. During the 5 sec time the handler is stationary, wait for the vacuum to silence. #2 Handler cues the vacuum on and walks toward the vacuum and stands just to the side of vacuum. Handler crouches and calls to pup immediately (while the vac is on).  If pup comes directly to vacuum it can be turned off.  If the pup does not come to the vacuum, or handler, crouch and call while the vacuum is off.  If pup still does not come, take three steps closer and call.  Repeat until you reach the pup.  If the pup comes, encourage them to follow to the vacuum.  If the puppy has already explored the vacuum do a name response and move to the can drop.
30 seconds Harness Place harness on puppy Handler encourages pup to walk around space. Harness remains on for 30 seconds. Observe for body sensitivity.
  Umbrella 1

The handler opens the umbrella when the pup is looking approx 6’ from puppy. Place on ground with the inside of umbrella facing upward. Allow pup to investigate.  Handler picks up umbrella and closes it then places closed umbrella on floor for pup to investigate.

Repeat this a 2nd time
Observe behaviour.  If pup doesn’t approach, the handler crouches on the opposite side of the umbrella and calls to pup.
  Can drop Start with the puppy where the can will be dropped and handler encourages the pup to follow toward back of space so the pup is facing away from who drops the can. When the pup is 6’away, drop the can from the height of the x-pen (30”)  Observe behaviour. If pup does not come to the can within 10 seconds, then the handler walks behind the can so the can is between the pup and the handler, kneels and calls the pup up to 3x.  If pup does not come then move 3 paces towards pup and call again, repeat until you get to the puppy.
  Can shake 2 times Handler will crouch down and take the can, one foot away from the pup.  Shake the can three times, gently set it on the ground and allow pup to investigate. Repeat 2 times Observe behaviour. If pup does not come to the can within 10 seconds, then the handler walks two steps behind the can so the can is between the pup and the handler, kneels, and calls the pup up to 3x. If pup does not come then move 3 paces towards pup and call again, repeat until you get to the puppy.
  Flirt Pole

Move flirt pole right and left 6 times in a quick motion to immitate a small animal. Keep the flirt close to the ground not over the puppy’s head. After the 6 times allow the puppy to get the flirt and tug, shake or play with it briefly then take it away

Observe pup’s interest in movement.  If pup will not let go of the flirt, trade with food.
About 15 sec Elevated surface/ Heights Place pup on top of the table which is in the front left of testing space.  Handler allows 5 seconds for pup to acclimate to the height and then encourages pup with voice and hand gestures to walk to the edge and look over Watch for evidence the pup is concerned with heights
  Vet Exam Handler performs a mock vet exam.  Gently lift each ear flap and check each eyelid.  Lift the pup’s lips on both sides and then each foot.  Finally, lightly restrain pup and mimic a blood draw.   Watch for body sensitivity/issues with restraint.  If the pup is extremely tense, do the exam on the floor.
  End with positive playtime Handler interaction with puppy can consist of play or petting and praise to provide a release for the pup and end the test with a positive feel. Observe if behaviour changes with handler support, also allows for more positive conclusion of test.


General comments:

  • The handler interacts with the pup using the pup’s name, providing verbal and physical praise and rewards that are appropriate for your program.   Occasional food rewards are acceptable if this is part of your program.  (GEB is avoiding food use for this test unless it is considered necessary).
  • If pup cannot complete a test component within the time or protocol, proceed to the next item. 
  • If the pup is not willing to approach or work with the handler or is running around in an uncontrolled manner for more than 2 minutes despite efforts to connect with the pup, the handler can use an appropriate method to reconnect with the pup.    Attempt to continue the test but if the pup is unable to respond, proceed to the next test item.  
  • If the pup shuts down or it is deemed inhumane to continue the test due to stress reactions, the entire test should be stopped.
  • If at any time the pup is not productive (falls out of the think and learn zone) allow time and, if needed, support to allow the pup to return to a productive state.  The 15 second waiting periods are to provide the pup who is inhibited time to regain their composure and can be used after any event in the test. 
  • If the puppy eliminates, stop the test, clean up, and continue the test where it was left off.