The following criteria must be met for both assistance and therapy dogs. Most of it is common sense.
This is an industry standard and applies to all working dogs that are in contact with or may be in contact with the general public. Farm dogs, show dogs, racing greyhounds and others are exempted. Racing greyhounds that are de-programmed to stop chasing rabbits are called greenhounds. We do not deal with seeing eye dogs at all, that is very highly specialised.
- Non aggressive behaviour
- Good social manners. That is can walk amongst people and not cause problems and other matters.
- Friendly disposition, doesn’t get aggressive if a stranger wants to pat them. Remember, not everyone is aware of the fact that a person should ask the owner first, especially children.
- Be able to take food gently and not “snatch”
- When walking, when you stop, the dog stops and sits.
- Not pull on the lead, heels well.
- Walks beside or behind you up and down stairs.
- Will sit and lie down (drop) on command.
- Will sit from the lying down position on command.
- Will sit and lie down and stay for 10 seconds when the handler walks 20 metres away and the dog will not break.
- Walk and stop every few metres, get dog to alternate sit/drop position.
- Do close figure 8’s changing direction – dog to follow well.
- Dog to behave in the street with lots of people around.
- Square walk, every few metres change direction 90 degrees
- If your dog can do some tricks that will be great but not mandatory.
- Pass the cupcake test, that is walk by a chocolate (preferably) cupcake or similar and not attempt to eat it. This is important in supermarkets.
If a dog can do all that then it can be considered well behaved and suitable to be in public.