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Studies indicating temperament tests are not reliable or have not been tested for validity or reliability:
"The overall inter-rater reliability of the B.A.R.K. protocol was moderate to strong however the test–retest reliability was relatively weak.
Amongst dogs that initially passed the test and were subsequently rehomed, the predictive validity of the protocol was also quite poor, with ‘fear’ (r = 0.42, n = 67, P < 0.01) and ‘friendliness’ (r = 0.49, n = 67, P < 0.01) being the only measures that proved to be predictive.
The results of the study imply that a standardised behavioural test may be of less value in identifying the suitability of dogs for placement in the community than is currently believed. If so, this has significant implications for how such tests are employed."
Mornement KM, Coleman GJ, Toukhsati S, Bennett PC.
Development of the behavioural assessment for re-homing K9′s (B.A.R.K.) protocol. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 2013; Article in Press.
Abstract states that these tests are only erroneously called "temperament" tests because they actually test behavior.
"Few (behavior tests) have been tested for reliability and validity. Those that have either fared very poorly or are not feasible within the constraints of normal workplace practices.
This clearly presents a significant problem for those wanting to assess canine behaviour. The use of invalid tests may result in dogs being incorrectly classified as safe or unsafe, with potentially devastating consequences. Mornement K, Toukhsati S, Coleman G, et al. Reliability, validity and feasibility of existing tests of canine behavior."
AIAM Annual Conference on Urban Animal Management, Proceedings. 2009;11-18.
"Our results strongly suggest that there are certain types of aggressive tendencies that are not exhibited reliably during temperament testing using the techniques de- scribed above. A significant number of dogs passing this temperament test exhibited aggressive tendencies in situations suggesting motivations such as territorial, predatory, and intra-specific aggression."
Aggressive behavior in adopted dogs that passed a temperament test in a shelter setting
In the study, 55% of the dogs that were deemed to be food aggressive based on the fake hand test were judged to be not food aggressive by the adopting family. Conversely, 22% of the dogs that passed the fake hand test in the shelter and were deemed to be not food aggressive based on the test, were reported to be food aggressive in the adoptive home.
Food-related aggression in shelter dogs: A comparison of behavior identified by a behavior evaluation in the shelter and owner reports after adoption
Caution: what the researcher's results indicate is that the fake hand test for food aggression is not reliable to identify or rule out food aggression.
However the researchers' conclusion is that since it is not reliable, even the dogs that show apparent food aggression can be adopted out!
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