Last month, around the time of Dionne’s first birthday, I received an email telling me it was time again to fill out the Canine Behavioral Assessment & Health Questionnaire (CBARQ). This is an ongoing project of CCI’s, in collaboration with a couple of guide-dog-for-the-blind programs.

The idea is to refine the assessment and quantification of doggy behavioral traits. A professor at U Penn is conducting the research. What we puppy-raisers do is to fill out questionnaires when the pup is 6 months and one year old. I did it for Brando and Darby and, now, Dionne. It’s a little tedious — pages of questions and never any feedback about what the data is showing (unlike the Dognition project that we participated in last summer). But I comply, partly because I’m a reasonably dutiful puppy-raiser, and partly because I hope there’s a scientific pay-off for all of us answering all those pesky questions — somewhere down the road.

A sample of the CBARQ questions

There was one small but immediate benefit of filling out the questionnaire this time: it made me reflect on how much Dionne has changed over the past few months. Her relentless quest for trouble has throttled back — dramatically. She still has her mischievous moments. She still springs up — as if jolted by an electrical current — to participate in anything that’s going on. But if nothing’s going on, this is her new calling in life:

It makes me think: if she continues at this rate to grow calmer and ever more focused, six months from now she’ll be a superstar! And in the meantime, she’s a LOT easier to live with.

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