This is just a sample of what kind of tests can be done to evaluate dogs at shelters and owner surrenders.. its not written in stone so you can add or remove items to your discretion.
Please inform the owner/caretaker that the evaluation will take approximately 1 hour. Please do not "rush through" this very important preliminary test. If at anytime you do not trust the dog, stop the evaluation and do not proceed.
Pound / shelter ________________________________________
Contact person _________________________________________
How did they acquire the dog?
Are there any known bite incidents? ____________________
Dogs inpound # ____________ Intake date _______________
Dogs sex and age ________________________________________
Does dog have a time limit? _____________________________
Does dog require second eval? ( new evaluator, male over 12 months, etc.) __________________________
Is this the first or second eval? _______________________
If dog is removed from kennel upon arrival, walk up, cheerfully greet ACO and shake hands, note dogs reaction.
If dog is in kennel before removing the dog, Stare, open eyes wide and stare at dog. Follow it's eyes with yours. Lean forward slightly. Do not speak. Reaction: Friendly? Fearful? Submissive? Aggressive (offensively comes towards you)? Defensive(aggressively backs away)? If the dog is riled by this, proceed with caution.
Once dog is removed from cage or doorway, stand motionless with dog on lead for two minutes. What is dog's reaction? Does dog initiate contact? What is the dog's response to your responding to contact? Is this contact appropriate (leaning, hand kissing, jumping up, mouthing) for a dog who has just met a total stranger?
Does dog appear to need you? Want you? Like you?
Is this dog people-focused or environment-focused?
Stroke dog from top of head to base of tail firmly, three times. What is dog's reaction? Does dog want more attention?
What is dog's general appearance? (size, conformation) Any physical deformities? (entropion, ectropion?)
What is dog's physical condition (weight, coat, eyes, gait)
Be aware of the dog every second of these tests. Some of these tests may provoke an aggressive reaction from the dog. Pay attention to the dogs eyes (bulgy), if ears are back, or if their body is posturing. Tell the ACO or your helper to be ready to take action! Do not proceed with these tests unless you feel 100% comfortable with the dog.
Does dog sit for you willingly? (OK to use treats)
Does dog down for you willingly?
Does dog come to you willingly and with confidence?
Will dog allow you to pat top of its head?
Will dog allow you to comb him (with your fingers) lightly?
Will dog allow you to hug him? Do not do this unless you feel absolutely safe. Do not let dog near your face. Be ready to act!
Hug dog for 20 seconds, wrap one arm around neck of dog with your face towards his rear, keep one hand on collar incase dog becomes agitated and tries to snap.
Complies/holds: 20 Sec? Happy?
Less than 20 Sec/ Struggled? Growl/snap? Not at all?
Will dog allow you to examine him? (ears, eyes, paws)
Examine mouth and teeth by opening dog's mouth. Does dog refuse to let you examine teeth by pulling and avoiding your hands?
Physical handling: Rate Good, Fair or Poor: Ears, Mouth, Front and Back feet, Torso, Genitals. List details of behavior with each area if noteworthy.
Touch the collar of the dog. Stand the dog using the collar. Attempt to lead the dog by the collar. Walk dog by collar for at least 30 steps, making one left turn and one right turn. Watch for any reactions. Reward good behavior with your voice. Reaction: Dog moves along happily? Dog moves with reservation? Dog refused to be lead by the collar? Aggressive? Shy/fearful/defensive?
Step on dog's toes to appear accidental (as if you were a child). What is dog's reaction? (Aggressive, Painful, Startled, Nothing?) Pinch dog's flank. Reaction?
Does dog appear to have a dominant character? If yes, can s/he be worked with and is s/he willing to relinquish his status easily?
Is dog calm/hyper?
Have a helper drop a large noisy object (i.e. a metal pan) a short distance from the dog. What is the dogs reaction? (you can try slamming the door, raising your voice as if cheering good news, etc.)
Feed dog using bowl, using some dry and wet food mixed. Start with stroking the dogs back, you can talk nicely to them. If dog is riled just by you touching the back, proceed with caution. Next, easily and calmly push dog as if to trying to get them to move from the dish, note reaction. Next, with fake hand, pull dogs dish, about a foot to one side, then move food in bowl around with fake hand. Does dog comply and maintain a happy manner? Does dog stiffen and growl, but never leaves bowl and calms as you talk to him? Does dog stop eating and growl and try snapping? Does dog bite and become totally agitated by you being there?
Give dog a higher valued item (pig's ear, hoof), and hold firmly while dog chews on it. Will dog let you take the item back? What is his reaction to your removing it? Swap a cookie for pigs ear, then give the pigs ear back and see if the dog gives it back willingly without a treat?
Take dog for a walk. Place either another collar on them or a choke, note reaction. Does dog walk well on lead? Does dog go with you willingly?
Is dog is attached to ACO, is the dog controllable without ACO present?
Is dog is attached to ACO, is the dog controllable without ACO present?
Have helper hold dog out of sight on a loose leash or you may put them on a fence with a leash. You run across the dog's path about 10-20 feet in front. Reaction: Disinterested in you? Interested but does not attempt to chase you? Attempts to chase playfully? Attempts to chase aggressively?
If you have children in the area or with you, have the children run around making noise like they normally would in a home setting. What is dog's reaction? Will dog allow children to approach and pat him?
Test dogs arousal and recovery. Move your hands in front of the dogs face, jump up and down, get loud and crazy, flick your hands above the dogs head, tease dog with the leash, you are trying here to get the dog to engage in inappropriate play. Keep charade up for 30 seconds, please tie dog out or have helper hold the lead, incase dog becomes overly aroused. Is dog not aroused by this? Dog becomes mildly aroused, but calms easily? Is dog very aroused and slow to calm? Does dog get scared, growls, or tries to bite you?
Should this dog be placed with children?
Have helper bring a calmer, predictable dog into the presence of the dog being evaluated. What is dog's reaction to new dog? Is there anything about either dog that would warrant a negative reaction?(i.e. dog is in heat, both dogs are intact males) Does dog initiate play, or do the dogs just share the same space?
Dog/Dog Aggression: Have helper hold dog out of sight on a loose leash or you may tie leash to a fence. Run across the dog's path with an on-leash neutral dog. Reaction: Note whether the dog is coming for you or the other dog in any chase attempt.
Prey/Dog Aggression: Have helper hold dog out of sight on a loose leash. Run across the dog's path with a stuffed animal on-leash. Reaction: Note whether the dog is coming for you or the stuffed animal in any chase attempt. Drop stuffed animal, and let dog investigate. How does the dog respond to the toy? (i.e. picks it up and kills it; sniffs it and walks away; acts like it's a toy; carries it around?)
Walk through the small animal area, if possible. What is dog's reaction to them?
Should this dog be placed with other pets?
Take dog for ride, if possible, how does dog like vehicle?
Is this a dog you would like to own? (A canine good citizen?) If no, why not?
What type of home would best suit this dog?
Is this dog trainable? If no, why?
Is this dog placeable? If no, why? Remember that most of the homes that come to us are not experienced, just because you could take this dog home, does not mean most our homes can. Unfortunately, you must use your head here and not your heart.
Would you feel comfortable enough with this dog to physically make the dog roll over and go belly up for you? If not, why? During this eval has the dog rolled over for a belly rub?
Any special considerations for this dog?
Comments (Please be as specific as possible)