The title of this blog is not what you think! My good friend and training colleague, Shannan, asked me (and 12 other good friends) to help her at the ATTS temperament test in Kennebunk yesterday. I said 'sure' because that's what friends do, not really knowing what I was going to be doing.
I received my volunteer schedule and my job was being the 'weird stranger'. 'OK', I thought..'she knows me, I can do weird'.
I arrive at the event, and start the walk through with the head tester, Bill. Once we get to the 'weird stranger' station, I was given my brief instructions and decided that they should call it 'belligerent' stranger, not weird.
So I spent my afternoon, putting on my best acting chops, waving a horse crop, and yelling (I mean yelling) at Rottweiler's, Dobermans, German Shepherds,Pit Bulls, Bull mastiffs, and the highlight... a 150 lb English Mastiff. They were all leashed and in some cases, double leashed with Bill on the end of one of the lines. I wore a bite sleeve on my arm (you know...just in case), but wish I had brought a box of liver treats ( you know...just in case).
But all the dogs were great..I think I scared a few, but not one dog lunged at me. Notta...nill...zipo. We tested about 20 dogs on my shift, and I was surprised how well the dogs did. Besides listening to my rants about 'lost cans' (you had to be there), the dogs heard gunshots, met a friendly and neutral strangers, had to walk on 2 different types of surfaces and be startled by an opening umbrella. I wish I could have given cookies to all the dogs I yelled at yesterday, but test rules said I couldn't.
I found this test to be most interesting to watch, and wish I could have chatted 'behavior' with Bill, Shannan and Danielle after every dog tested. Being a behavior & training geek, this was really fascinating stuff. for more information on the ATTS, please visit http://www.atts.org/