Which puppy do I choose The Campbell Test

The selection of what will be our future hunting companion is extremely important and success on our hunting days will largely depend on it. Our trainer offers you in the following article some tips that you can follow to choose the puppy that promises the most in the litter, although this will not prevent us from spending a lot of time on its subsequent training.

We cannot forget the type of preserve where we will develop our hunting days, as it will be decisive when choosing one or the other dog. Thus, if this terrain is rough (mountains, slopes …) or has enough vegetation, we will always try to find the most suitable breed for this environment: dogs that do not lengthen too long, methodical, without fear of getting between slopes, thistles … We mean to those known as “lifters”, although we could also include here some other sample breed, such as the Navarrese pachón.

If, on the contrary, we hunt in open fields, with large areas of cereals, sunflowers, corn … we will need tireless dogs, with great walking and methodical, that move the field well and that have a magnificent nose. Here the continental or British races would enter, which we will analyze in another article.

Once we are clear about the breed of dog that interests us, we will move on to the following decision: which puppy do I choose? For this, we can apply the method known as the “Campbell test”, consisting of a series of tests that are applicable to any dog. Created by the American psychologist William Campbell, specialist in the study of canine behavior, it is one of the most used tools by experts when selecting a puppy. •


To be effective, the method must be carried out under the following conditions:

In principle, a puppy that comes to our call will be more sociable and easier to train in the future.

a) The puppy will have an approximate age of seven weeks.

b) A single person will examine the puppy individually and totally isolated.

c) The place where the test is performed must be completely quiet, without any noise that can distract the puppy’s attention.

d) This type of tests should be carried out without any preparation on the part of the puppy and in totally neutral places, never in familiar places that can cause flawed behavior of the puppy.

Taking these circumstances into account, we must obtain a score table or scale where we will record the results, which will range from 1 to 5. The intermediate values ​​will be classified according to the puppy’s reaction, which is more or less intense.


It will indicate the degree of attention of the puppy towards us and our call.

How it is performed?

a) We will place the puppy in the center of the enclosure where we will carry out the test.

b) We will carefully place it on the ground, facing us.

c) We will move away a few steps and, crouching down, we will call him with a few claps, always trying to get his attention.

Results and conclusions

a) The puppy comes immediately, without hesitation, with joy, or hesitates but finally comes, although it takes a while to do so: in principle we will have fewer problems when training it.

b) Do not go: we are facing an independent and dominant dog, so its training will be very expensive.


It will indicate the degree of dependency of the puppy.

How it is performed?

a) We carefully put the puppy on the ground and move away from him.

b) We will try to circle around you to encourage you and to follow us.

Results and conclusions

a) As soon as it is placed on the ground it follows us or does it after a while: the puppy could have too much dependence on us, which in the future could lead to some problem.

b) It remains still, it does not flinch and tends to move away from us: it could be too independent, which could lead to obedience problems.

In this way, we should look for the puppy with an intermediate behavior.


It will give us some clue of the character that the chosen puppy may have in the future. What we want is to see your reaction to loss of control. His behavior will indicate the degree of temperament and dignity against a social obligation imposed by the owner.

How it is performed?

a) We will place our interlocked hands under the puppy’s chest and lift it without its paws touching the ground.

b) We will keep it between 15 and 20 seconds in this position.

Results and conclusions

a) It struggles vigorously while growling and biting or it debates moderately without biting us: it can become a dog with a strong character, which we must prevent working from the first moment, because in the future we will avoid confronting a dog very dominant and troublesome.

b) He struggles for a short time and quickly calms down and even licks our hands or he does not debate anything and even remains asleep: we are facing balanced and easy to handle dogs.


It will help us to check the degree of submission of the puppy. This test will show us if the puppy is submissive or dominant.

How it is performed?

a) We will place it lying down, face up, on the floor.

b) We will rest our hands on his chest between 15 and 20 seconds.

Results and conclusions

a) He jumps, bites, growls, barks, tries to scratch us or wriggles while he growls at us: we must be careful with the treatment we give him in the future, since he is likely to become aggressive.

b) He wriggles but immediately remains still or tries to suck our hands or even remains asleep, without putting up resistance: we are facing a relatively balanced dog, neither too aggressive nor too submissive.


It will help us to know the degree of sample that our puppies have, something genetic and innate. Therefore, it must be made clear that this test should never be performed in order to fix the sample.

How it is performed?

a) We will use a stick about two meters long.

b) We will place a rope at its end, also about two meters long, and at its tip we will place a feathers or wings.

c) We will release the puppy and place it in front of the end of the rope with the feathers.

d) You should never take them, because catching the feathers could harm you when making the sample.

e) We will move the stick from side to side until the puppy stands and shows.

Results and conclusions

a) As soon as the feathers are placed in front of it, it remains in the sample or chases them, taking a while to sample: the puppy has a sample.

b) When putting the feathers in front of them, he chases them or ignores them, not showing himself at any time: we will be careful when putting him in contact with the game.


With this test we will anticipate possible problems with collection, trying to solve them in advance. In the collection test with balls, rags or other types of contribution, we should not go crazy either, because if what is thrown is a hunting piece, it would probably be collected without problems. Our goal should be to motivate the puppy to show interest.

How it is performed?

a) We will be close to the puppy.

b) When you pay attention to us, we will send you a contribution.

Results and conclusions

a) He takes it as soon as he throws it away or takes a while to take it, but in the end he brings it to us: his instinct to collect is good.

b) We throw it away and it doesn’t pay any attention: we will work the collection much more in the future.


With this test we will know the degree of fear of shots that you may have in the future.

How it is performed?

a) We will place the puppy in the center of the enclosure and try to associate the shot, detonation or patting with something that motivates him. We could start with toys, balls, rags …

b) We will throw some of these objects at him and we will take advantage of the fact that the puppy is distracted by playing with them to clap their hands or pop some balloons around them.

Results and conclusions

a) With the first slaps or detonations of balloons, the puppy does not flinch or get a little scared but continues playing: it is a good symptom, although we will continue working with him, always alert, because he is still a puppy.

b) With the first slaps or detonations of balloons, the puppy stops, is scared and runs towards us: we are facing a very delicate puppy, so we must take great care of this aspect.


The result can be variable, but we will always choose a puppy with a balanced character, neither very aggressive nor very submissive, who obeys us and who treats us well. It is very important to be responsible when choosing a puppy, since it must be taken into account that it will be with us for a long time and that its qualities or defects can cause our hunting days to be more or less satisfactory.

Virtually all of our companions’ attitudes can be changed or corrected by training, but if the puppy shows that it does not have the conditions we want for a hunting dog, it is best to discard it to avoid future disappointments.

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