The following details provide guidance of the assessment process so you can judge if your dog is suitable. The list is not exclusive, but as a guide. All our assessors are aware that you are probably nervous and anxious, which will also be felt by your dog, who is also excited to see new places and people. They are experienced enough to look past these emotions and reactions as long as they improve as the assessment progresses. The assessment will take place in a public area, where the assessor can initially see you in a quiet 1-1 situation, to check your dog is happy to be touched, then with the general public interaction. It will take about 30-40 minutes and the time will probably fly by with some people saying they didn’t realise the assessment had actually started.
This can damage an older person’s thin skin, or even knock people over. It also shows lack of control of the dog.
This is one of the main reasons a dog is referred and not passed first time.
Giving a paw:
We all have asked our dog to give a paw when offering a treat, however, for this work it is not acceptable. Again, it can catch the thin skin of the person which might not heal quickly.
Pulling on the lead:
If they pull the owner, they could pull them over, especially dangerous when going through doors or down stairs. It also shows lack of control. We also recommend a collar and lead rather than a harness, however, if it is for medical or other acceptable reasons, we will accept. An extending lead is also not advisable as they can malfunction, leading to a possible accident. We DO NOT accept choke chains,
Reluctance or backing away when greeting a person:
It can be hard for the dog to negotiate around zimmer frames and tables as well as the tight spaces between people. If the assessor finds the dog does not want to be fussed by the assessor, then it is a referral to get the dog more used to the intense fuss. If it struggles with the zimmer frames and tables, the owner can ask if it is ok to move them to give more space, then make sure they put them back again after the visit.
Basically this is an inhibited bite, so is unacceptable again due to possible injury to thin skin, or even the possibility of increasing to a bite.
Many charities would say a definite NO to licking, however, we say yes, as long as you carry hand wipes or wash to clean the hands afterwards. For some people it is a comfort to be licked, however, their immune systems are weak and they can become poorly.
Taking food greedily:
The dog must be gentle when taking food from the assessor. If any teeth are felt, then it is a referral so that the owner can train the dog to be gentle. Be aware some people will wave the food around, and might even eat it themselves, so as long as the dog doesn’t snatch, that is fine, it will probably drool with the thought of the food, if so it must be wiped up.
Barking or growling:
This can show the dog is not at ease with the situation. Sometimes, you, the owner and your dog are so wound up and nervous, that although the dog was not comfortable first time around, another time it might be fine.
We do hope the assessment process is not too traumatic for you and your dog, but it is essential for you and your dog to be comfortable with this work. If they are only doing visits to please us, then one day their patience might crack, and they could end up hurting someone or even become physically or emotionally ill with the stress.
We care for people as well as dogs, so need to be sure you and your dog will be happy with us.