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Guide Dog and Service Dog Assessment

Andy Krzus, Obedience Unleashed Dog Training
Nancy Letkeman, Ronan Isle Consulting
Kristina Ponce, Ministry of Justice
Josh Huska, Ministry of Justice
Karen Johnson, Justice Institute of British Columbia

The purpose of this assessment is to ensure that the guide dog or service dog demonstrates appropriate public behaviour, proper disposition, and is unobtrusive in public places. The assessment consists of 40 exercises and is modeled after the Assistance Dogs International Public Access Test and the Security Dog Validation Standards from the Justice Institute of British Columbia.

This assessment examines the temperament and disposition of the dog in a general public setting, such as a shopping mall. The dog’s behaviour will be assessed to determine if his or her disposition is calm, stable and reliable in situations commonly encountered by dog/handler teams. The assessment will also ensure that the handler has control over the dog at all times, that the dog is safe to be in public, and that the dog is able to demonstrate the high standard of training expected of guide and service dogs.

The validator will explain the assessment thoroughly to the handler before the testing begins. Once the assessment begins, the validator will follow the dog/handler team in a discreet manner, unless required to interact with the dog/handler team for an assessed task. The assessment will be performed on-leash, with the occasional tight leash being acceptable. A dog is not ready for the assessment if the dog displays behaviour that requires major restraint or a continuously tight leash to perform the tasks (unless required due to mobility issues).

  • The dog’s nerves are steady;
  • The dog’s temperament and disposition are sound;
  • The dog is well-mannered in public, in the presence of crowds, other dogs and traffic; and
  • The dog is attentive to the handler and responds to commands without showing stress or avoidance.

The dog/handler team must pass all of the tasks below in order to pass the assessment. The results of the assessment will then be forwarded to the Security Programs Division for final review.

Task List:

  1. Obedience inside vehicle before unloading
  2. Obedience outside the vehicle after unloading
  3. Heel position when approaching the building or through parking lot
  4. Calmness around traffic
  5. Obedient stop before entering doorway
  6. Obedience before entering doorway
  7. Obedience going through doorway
  8. Obedience after entering doorway
  9. Heeling inside building
  10. No soliciting public attention
  11. Adjusting to speed changes
  12. Adjusting to changes in direction
  13. Obedience through narrow/ tight areas
  14. Obedience through crowds
  15. Six-foot recall on-leash: Command
  16. Six-foot recall on-leash: Control
  17. Six-foot recall on-leash: Distance
  18. Six-foot recall on-leash: Direction
  19. Sit command
  20. Sit command next to plate of food
  21. Sit command while shopping cart passes
  22. Sit command while being petted by stranger
  23. Down command
  24. Down command with food dropped on floor
  25. Down command while child approaches
  26. Noise distraction (drop object on floor behind dog)
  27. Behaviour in restaurant
  28. Ignoring food in restaurant
  29. Off-leash exercise
  30. Human aggression test
  31. Obedience before exiting doorway
  32. Obedience going through doorway during exit of building
  33. Obedience after exiting the building
  34. Calm around traffic after exiting building
  35. Obedient stop after exiting building
  36. Dog aggression test
  37. Public transit test
  38. Obedient load into vehicle
  39. Evident team relationship & knowledge of access rights
  40. Care and well-being of dog