Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Comment: "I would like to make an important point about the American Temperament Test Society (ATTS) test, since it has become an urban legend promoted by the pro-pit lobby. Maybe this could go under "pit myths", or on a sticky.Related articles:
The ATTS was NEVER designed to evaluate dogs to determine their suitability as family pets. It is designed to evaluate dogs for bitework...protection sports like French Ring and Shutzhund. It is commonly used to evaluate dogs that will be ultimately used as police canines. If you look at the number of dogs that take the test each year, German Shepherd Dogs (GSDs) outnumber any other breed listed by a huge margin; this is because they still are the most common breed used in police work.
The ATTS test rewards boldness...they evaluate how the dog reacts to gunshots, a threatening stranger, etc. There is also a tracking portion of the test, where the dog is required to walk across a strange surface, like plastic and wire (think of a police canine chasing a suspect). Timid dogs do not do well on the test, naturally. Also, the test is subjective...aggression is checked against the breed standard; one can assume that a Golden Retriever would be held to a different standard than a Doberman. It is unclear how the ATTS evaluators are experts on the temperament standard for every breed.
An important ommission in the ATTS test is dog/dog aggression; the test does not evaluate the dogs reaction to other dogs. A dog could pass the ATTS with flying colors, even if it was dangerously dog aggressive.
The pro-pit lobby has deliberately confused the public into believing that the ATTS is equivalent to the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test, which is often used to evaluate dogs for therapy work. The ATTS is an excellent tool to evaluate dogs for Search and Rescue (SAR), protection sports, Police canines, hunting trials, etc. But it in no way indicates which breed is "safer" to have as a family pet."
05/01/08: Comment: Pro-Pit Bull People Intimidate Local Politicians
04/23/08: Comment: How Much Do Pit Bulls Cost All of Us?
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| 6/17/2008 11:14 AM |
Looking at the latest statistics, 91 breeds tested equal to or higher than the American Pitbull Terrier including Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Curly-Coated Retrievers, English Cocker Spaniel (gasp), Flat-Coated Retriever, and the Labrador Retriever. The Golden Retriver was a mere tenth of a point behind. And yet I've seen pit bull advocate sites claim pit bulls were rated fourth out of all breeds. There's a big difference between 4th and 91st.
| 6/18/2008 3:06 AM |
Also, an interesting read from Jim Engle, Founding Secretary of AWDF (American Working Dog Federation) and member advocate, Schutzhund USA. http://www.angelplace.net/dog/TT.htm
"The danger is that such tests" [His reference point is ATTS, specifically, not another organization] "could do a great deal of harm by certifying, at least in the minds of the public, very poor dogs as having "good temperament" and failing good dogs because they walk around a plastic sheet or grating on the ground or because an inexperienced person was not able to evaluate a dog's reaction properly. The simple fact is that there is no real evidence for their validity, and a lot of experience to indicate that they very often provide terribly misleading results.”
No doubt, Alfons Ertelt, the originator of the test would be turning in his grave. Today, ATTS exist for one purpose, “Because of breed-specific dog legislation and negative publicity associated with many breeds of dogs...” http://atts.org/temperament.html
This was never the intent. Jim Engle identified the potential for abuse 20 years ago and this is exactly what has happened.
| 12/30/2009 2:05 PM |
What I like to mention to people is the fact that dogs which are known to be aggressive by their owners do not take the ATTS test. Most of the participants in ATTS are dogs which the behavior is unknown, or to confirm that the dog doesn't have underlying aggressiveness.
An owner of a KNOWINGLY aggressive animal is not going to take the test.
| 1/21/2011 3:03 PM |
A previous commenter nailed it. The dogs of any breed brought the ATTS test are not a random sample. Therefore, you cannot use the results to generalize about a breed or compare them. Even if 100% of pit bulls pass, all it would mean is that only owners of well-mannered pit bulls opted to take time on the weekend to have their dogs tested.