Therapy Dog Evaluation
POV and masks are required
Dog must be a minimum of one (1) year of age to participate
A clean, tidy appearance is expected from both the handler and dog.
The dog must wear a flat buckle or snap collar or a TPOC Approved Style Harness. The leash must be 4’ or 6’ and made of either leather or nylon. No promise collars, prong collars, haltis or choke chains permitted.
Exercises to be completed:
- Introducing the Team to the Evaluator – Team will introduce themselves to the Evaluator, dog must remain calm. Evaluator will examine the dog looking for a calm, stable attitude, and good grooming.
- Walking as a Therapy Dog – Team will walk a specific “L” course that includes turns and a distraction of a plate of cookies. Dog must walk in a controlled, mannerly fashion while on a loose leash and the handler must maintain control as the dog passes the cookies.
- Milling Crowd – The Team will walk among moving pedestrian traffic with the dog on a short leash Dog should not interfere with the pedestrians but may display interest in the movement.
- Patiently Sitting for Petting – The dog may be in a sit or stand beside the Handler. The Evaluator will ask if they can pet the dog. Evaluator will then pet the dog, exaggerate a hug over the top of the dogs body, then walk around the Team in a tight circle and return to the front. Dog may show no more than mild interest in the movement of the Evaluator.
- Praise/Interaction – The Handler will play with their dog to get them excited using verbal praise, petting, playing with a toy and/or favourite trick. The Evaluator will signal to the Handler to calm the dog. The dog should obey the Handler’s command.
- Reaction to Other Dogs – Teams will greet each other for one on one introductions. Dogs will be on the Handlers left side. Handlers will approach each other for introductions, remaining an arm’s length away from each other. The dogs may sit or stand next to the Handler. Once introductions are completed Handlers will move forward, passing each other. Dogs should remain relaxed, polite and courteous showing slight interest in the other dog.
- Visiting a Stationary Crowd (Part 1) – Exercise will involve brief visiting scenarios arranged in a circle that include walkers, canes, crutches etc. Team will walk the inner circle of volunteers with the dog closest to the volunteers. Handler and dog should interact with volunteers appropriately. Volunteers will touch and stroke/pet the dog if the dog stops to visit.
- Visiting a Stationary Crowd (Part 2) – Visiting an Alzheimer’s Patient – Team will interact with a Volunteer playing the role of an Alzheimer’s patient. Dog may sit or stand and must be comfortable with sounds and movements.
- Visiting a Stationary Crowd (Part 3) – Advancing Crowd – Team will be in the middle of the circle (see Exercise #7). Dog will be in a sit. The crowd will advance to the dog, calling its name and reaching out to greet it in a friendly manner. Handler must remain in control of the dog and the dog must remain calm and respectful.
- Wheelchair Visit and Distractions (Part 1) – Approaching Wheelchair – While seated in a wheelchair, the Evaluator will approach the Team excitedly from behind and ask to pet the dog. The Team will the turn around to face the approaching Evaluator. Small dogs will be placed in the Evaluator’s lap. For large dogs, the Evaluator will place their arm over the withers of the dog in a relaxed manner.
- Wheelchair Visit and Distractions (Part 2) – Treats – The Evaluator will ask the Handler if they may give the dog a pre-determined treat. The dog may refuse the treat however, should the dog take the treat, it must be gentle and at no time use its teeth, snap or lunge for the treat.
- Wheelchair Visit and Distractions (Part 3) – Noise and Excited Child – While Team is visiting with Evaluator, an assistant will drop metal bowls or a bag of cans making a loud noise. Dog may acknowledge the noise and startle but should recover quickly. Upon a signal from the Evaluator, an excited child will run up to the Evaluator and ask to meet the dog. Again, the dog should remain calm and greet the child in a respectful manner.