The biggest obstacle to breeding and raising better dogs is human emotional anthropomorphism.
It is a very hard thing to breed and raise dogs without some profound attachment. We love our dogs, we believe in their unlimited potential. However, the reality is that not every dog is the elite dog with extreme expression of working characteristics. The only way to discern the difference is to assess their performance with a standardized, validated behavioral assessment.
Everyone loves their children and believe that they can do anything, but there are real limitations. There is a 2% – 12% chance (dependent on sport) that a high school athlete will become a college athlete. Of those college athletes there is only a 1% – 10% chance (dependent on sport) they will go on to be professional athletes. Similarly, you must have a realistic view of your dog and your dog’s potential. The good news is there are many jobs for dogs, so we simply need to match the dog’s aptitude to the best job for them.
The TSA/ACS Hunt test evaluates the distinctions and attributes of dogs that develop into working detection dogs. This test allows us to do two separate things. First, it allows us to look at the dogs’ performance and determine if they are developing correctly in their detection behavior. We can use the scores to adjust training to address the dog’s deficiencies or to make decisions to find a better match for the dog’s final disposition. Second, these scores can be used to improve selective breeding. On the Genetics tab of this website, under Comparing Filial Generation Improvement with TSA/ACS Tests, there are some graphics which show the impact that these tests made in improving the TSA canine breeding candidates from one generation to the next.
The only way we can accomplish this is to reject anthropomorphism and evaluate every dog with the same standardized, scientifically validated testing system.