- Camera (only necessary if we don’t already have an adequate picture showing the dog’s purebred status)
- Leash, preferably slip lead, preferably leather
- Pig’s ear or alternate tasty treat that takes a while to eat
- Toy (optional)
- Food bowl
- Food (dry plus canned)
- Assess-a-hand or equivalent (fake hand on a stick, inverted mop, inverted broom, etc.)
- Tote bag
- Same-gender dog
- Helper (optional)
- Notepads/pen (optional)
- Treats (optional)
Remember the following…
- Safety comes first.
- Leave your emotions at home. If you can’t, don’t test.
- If you have questions, ASK.
- If it is possible to shoot video footage of the test or parts of the test, that would be a tremendous help. We realize it is not always possible. Please upload videos via Dropbox to email@example.com or send via Facebook PM if Dropbox isn’t possible.
- If the dog shows any sign of aggression (bite, snap, snarl, growl), STOP testing. (It is important, however, to know the difference between mouthing and biting. Siberians, younger ones in particular, often mouth; i.e.: use their mouth in play, which may hurt but is not fear- or aggression-based. If you have questions about this, please ask!)
- The testing environment is not a training session. Do not give your dog commands during the test.
- Block your face from kisses/licks/hugs/etc. You don’t know this dog. Be cautious around your face.
- Try to have a helper to observe the dog as you handle the dog.
- The location of the test is important. Try to test in a room away from the kennels. Observe in the kennel, take outside for relief, and test inside.
- Most shelter environments cannot accommodate all that we need. Do the best that you can.
- NOTE: If the dog shows no interest in the food, try a different food if possible. If the dog shows no interest in any food, the test is inconclusive, and we likely cannot take the dog.
- PLEASE do not provide opinions. Please provide facts only. For example, don’t say, “The dog is sweet” when the fact is that the dog came right up to you, jumped in your arms, and gave you kisses. State the behavior. Don’t say, “The dog is skittish or scared.” Say, “The dog’s eyes focused on me. She backed up and was stiffened, no open mouth. Her hackles were up” or “As soon as she saw me, she peed on the floor” or “The dog stayed in the back of the kennel and would not come towards me.” Don’t say, “The dog would be best in a home without children.” State the fact. For example, “The dog jumps around a lot, has a lot of energy, ignored me, and mouths.”
- Please do not attempt to test unless you have been trained by Pet Harbor.
The homeless dogs and the adopters who trust our judgment thank you!
Remember: If the dog shows aggression, stop the test immediately. Your safety comes first. There are too many dogs who need to be saved from death row. We do not save dogs we know will hurt people. Remember, though, if it is not blatant, downright aggression and you are evaluating a dog in a shelter environment, which is an environment that can be pretty frightening for fur babies, re-test after the dog has had a few more minutes to become familiar with you.