Puppy Aptitude Testing

What is it and what does it tell us?


Here at Fuller Boerboels we use the Volhard Puppy Aptitude Test. The test was created to help pinpoint puppies that would be cut out for service work. I have included a link below for you to read through the thought process behind it and the test procedure itself. This test is just a partial picture of a puppy. Since it was not created for dominant/protective breeds, we have to take in some considerations.

  • The test is administered by a person that the puppy has never met, in an area where they have never been. We use a ‘stranger’ that has experience with dominant/protective breeds. It is typically our cousin who is an ex K9 police trainer. We have also used fellow breeders and friends with training experience in protective breeds.

  • Boerboels can be aloof with strangers. This is not necessarily a bad characteristic for a protective breed to have. The level of aloofness desired is any particular puppy needs to be decided by the potential owner. Do you want a dog that is friendly and outgoing or one who will not enjoy being pet by everyone they come in contact with?

  • Boerboels are not retrievers. If the Boerboel does not return to the tester with the desired object, it’s ok. Are they interested in the item? Do they mouth it? Pick it up? All need to be considered.

  • Puppies reaction to distraction, sound, visual stimuli are noted, but the focus is on the recovery. If puppy reacts, how do they recover?

  • This test is only a small portion of what we need to take into consideration when matching puppies with families. We have to combine the test with what we experience everyday to get a full picture of each puppy’s personality.

Volhard Puppy Aptitude Test

Puppy Prep

It’s time to prep for your puppy to come home!

Below is a list of what you will need at home, during the trip and what your puppy is sent home with.

What you will need for home:

Crate – I use a 42” for my girls and a 48” for my boys. It should come with a divider so you can make it smaller while puppy grows. Puppy should only be able to stand up, turn around and lie comfortably. If the space is too big, puppy will potty in the crate.

Food – Prepare RAW food for at least one week. Do not buy unfrozen meat off the grocery store shelf and feed immediately. It can carry unhealthy bacteria. Make sure you freeze everything for 2-3 weeks.

Toys – I avoid ropes as the strings can be consumed and wrap around the dog’s intestines. Balls – greater than 4”. As the pup grows, if the entire ball can fit in the mouth, it can get lodged.

Chew Toys – Antlers, Nylabones

Training Treats – I dehydrate my own. Liver, chicken hearts, anything works. Be careful that premade treats do not contain preservatives or starches/grains.

Area Rugs for slippery floor surfaces. Slippery surfaces can cause issues with growing bones/joints.

What you need for the trip home:

Collar/Leash or slip lead. A medium collar should fit well at this point. NO correction collars until at least 6 months old.

Water and Bowl

If driving, small crate or plan for sitting puppy at feet.

A bit of newspaper. Puppies are trained to potty on newspaper. You want to avoid stopping at areas that would have high dog traffic to prevent puppy picking up parasites. If in an airport, avoid the doggie area. Put newspaper down in the bathroom and puppy will potty.

What you will be sent home with:

·        Mercury Free Distemper/Parvo vaccine to be given between 12-16 weeks (if you choose to vaccinate).

·        Essential Oil for detoxing from vaccines

·        Your puppy will have a prepaid microchip

·        Exercise Booklet

·        Cuddle Pal (a small pillow that smells like the litter)

·        A meal or two for travel time if necessary.

·        A month supply of joint supplements

·        A tug toys

Resourcing RAW

Knowing where to look for your RAW foods is probably the most difficult part of RAW feeding. Once you have that down, it becomes a simple part of your household chores.

Many families order their food by the case and pre-package meals one month or one week at a time.

· Here in North Idaho, I order many proteins through the butcher counter at my local grocery store (Super 1). These include:

Chicken: leg quarters, legs, breast, backs, necks, feet, hearts (I do not use chicken livers)

Beef: Kidney, liver, sweet breads (thymus gland)

Pork: tails, cushion meat, liver, kidney, sweet breads, feet, brains

Turkey: wings, necks, feet, gizzards

Fish: whole mackerel, smelt

· You may have access to Asian or Mexican Markets in your area where you can get organs, feet, heads, etc.

· Wild Game butcher or Small, local butcher shops.

Here we have a small butcher shop that caters to farmers and hunters. They do not sell meat to the public, but we can go into their scrap freezer and take anything we want for free. Some of the things I have been able to get are:

Lamb bones with scraps attached

Organs from various animals

Large beef bones that I use for making bone broth and recreational chewing.

· Ranchers. When we lived in Mariposa, we had rancher friends that would call us if they had cattle that they couldn’t take to auction. We gave them a small monetary amount and we would butcher it ourselves or send it to a butcher. We have raised our own hogs as well and love using that meat for ourselves and the dogs.

· Local ads and local social media groups

Put out an announcement about taking peoples freezer clean out, ranchers’ scraps, etc. You’ll be surprised at what you might get!

Think out of the box! Take a chance, ask where you might not otherwise. Feeding your BB is in art and can be tailored to whatever you can get your hands on.


Feeding 2-5 month Olds

10 oz. meals

Guidelines: Remember that balance over time is the best method of feeding. Your BB needs a variety in protein sources but it’s not necessary to give that variety all in one day. Think of the variety over a one week period. Purchase for that week and take an hour of your weekend to prep the meals for that week. Once you get the hang of it and the pup goes to two meals a day, you can prep for a month at a time for ease.

Week 1 you might use beef and chicken, with fish 2 days of the week; Week 2 you might use chicken and pork. You can switch out the chicken for turkey anytime.

Bone sources for the young pup will mostly be Chicken thighs, legs, feet. Duck feet work well too. As the pup matures they will handle larger bone such as pork, lamb, goat ribs, pork feet, chicken leg quarters, small turkey necks, ect.

Wild Game: freeze for 3 weeks before using, but this is a great resource that’s typically free.

I no longer give fish oil, but use whole fish instead. Fish oils can go rancid. I add phytoplankton for Omega 3's a few times a week. 1/4 tsp. for adults.

I still use Joint Health Chewables for all of my dogs!

Sample Menu

5 Days of the week:

Breakfast: Chicken leg, chicken hearts, liver

Lunch: Ground beef, Egg w/shell

Dinner: Chicken thigh or leg, choice of excreting organ

2 Days of the week.

Breakfast: Chicken leg, hearts

Lunch: Beef or Pork, Egg w/shell

Dinner: Whole fish such as sardines, mackerel or smelt, can use any ground meat to fill up the ounces.

Print the chart below and take into your local butcher to see what they can order for you!

Flirt Pole Puppy Play

Flirt poles are a great tool for exercise and training with your Boerboel. The movement can mimic that of small prey, which works up their natural prey drive. It is both mentally stimulating and physically demanding. When using a flirt pole with a Boerboel who is still growing, it is important to be careful of the impact on their bones/joints. Keep the prey on the ground so they are not jumping up and coming down hard. During the tug portion, pull straight out or low, not up, to protect their neck. This is also a great time to get some training in. "Drop it", "Wait", "Watch It" ....all these are easily taught with the flirt pole. As your Boerboel matures and the prey drive increases, you will be able to teach an 'out' which means disengage immediately.