Title: May I Help You? Evaluation of Potential Assistance Dogs
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Selection of the ideal dog is the most important factor in predicting the ultimate success or failure of an assistance dog team. Dogs whose temperaments are well suited to the job enjoy a high quality of life- daily adventures in public, the chance to put their natural drives to work. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. Dogs forced into assistance dog work with little attention to temperament may suffer a decreased quality of life and stress from repeatedly facing environments in which they are uncomfortable. The human partner’s quality of life is also greatly affected by dog selection. Model dogs form bonds with people readily and easily accept leadership. When this is not the case, the additional effort of maintaining a healthy relationship with a high maintenance dog can dull the benefit to the disabled partner. In order for a partnership to thrive, both members of the team should be engaged with each other and the training process. We will discuss the temperament traits shared by successful assistance dogs and learn some preliminary assessments that will help us determine which dogs have potential for assistance dog training.
Speaker(s): Becky McClintock