Dr. Gosling tested dog personalities by interviewing owners about their pets’ personality, then testing whether dogs followed their owners’ predictions. For example, to test for “emotional stability,” the dog version of neuroticism, Dr. Gosling asked owners to leave their dogs and walk off with another one on a leash. So-called emotionally stable dogs tolerated it. Others did not, and Dr. Gosling felt some guilt about the intensity of loathing dogs felt for the rest.
“If I’d known how much this [test] would affect certain dogs, I might have found another way,” Dr. Gosling says in the Times of London story. “Some animals absolutely hated this, and this correlated well with [owners’] predictions.”