No Veteran Left Behind Program Evaluation To help identify and evaluate the main components of good "working" temperaments— Attention, Strength and attention and drive are definately taken into consideration. Dogs being selected for service dog work must be matched to ensure they will help with each specific disability. One must think of what tasks the dog will need to learn For example: if the dog will be learning mobility support the dog must be both large and strong, enough to support the weight. If you are a new member of Working Dogs For Vets our adoption coordinator Ana will be in touch with you if you are in need of a service dog to help with dog selection process. Another thing that will be taken into consideration is the energy levels of the teams must match. Please do NOT run out and get a puppy!
We recommend Shelter dogs!
Shelters have many lovable dogs all shapes, sizes and ages. Your chances of finding a wonderful match for a disabled veteran in need of a service dog are excellent! About 25% of shelter dogs are purebred. The rest make up the best selection anywhere of unique, one-of-a-kind mixed breeds, which we believe should be our national dog the "all American mut"- many of whom have already lived with families and have the basic social skills they need to become an enjoyable part of a household. But here is another word of Caution: If all dogs on a particular shelter’s website are described the same way (sweet, friendly, loving) then the shelter probably doesn't know the personalities of their dogs very well, or chooses not to be forthcoming with the information. This would be a good shelter to either avoid or if you are experienced in dog selection to check out the dogs first hand to see who we can rescue.
We will have a volunteer help with an evaluation
our evaluations are a 3 part test:
Take out a toy (that you brought with you for this purpose, or one that the shelter provides, if they prefer) and see if he will play some sort of game with you: fetch, tug-o-war, or chase. Play the game for three to four minutes enough to get him excited and aroused. Then abruptly stop the play, and put the toy up, preferably on a shelf where he can see it. Take note of how long it takes him to disengage from playing and return to you to settle and socialize, perhaps sit or lie down next to you. Ideally, he will do this within two minutes. This is a lower energy dog level. If he is still aroused after five minutes, This is the high energy dog level. Noting their energy level helps our veterans to match their energy levels to the dog making it a better match.
Take the dog for a walk on leash, outside if possible. Don’t worry if he pulls, or is very distracted these are behaviors that are normal for shelter dogs who have been cooped up, and they can be retrained. Do watch for aggressive behavior toward other dogs or people while he is on leash. If you see any just know it will be harder to work with the dog and that someone will need to take a longer time to train with this one.
when your walk is done, have a staff person put him back in his kennel, then watch him as other strangers pass by, especially children, big men, and anyone who moves or dresses oddly. Use caution with a dog who barks or lunges at anyone who walks by if possible ask to remove the dog from the kennel again, move to a quieter area, if this behavior continues this may be sign of inadequate socialization. However, remember that certain dogs do not handle isolation very well. If the behavior is acceptable after the dog has been out of the kennel for any period of time then ask the shelter if you were to take this dog and it begins to show signs of aggression if you would be able to return the dog. If the answer is no then these dogs should only be chosen if you are experienced with behavior modification. If a dog will be around children, look for a dog who wants to greet passing children first. A dog who will live with children must worship little humans, not just tolerate them.
some of the dogs with more challenging behaviors may be fostered or trained by experienced owners who are prepared to direct high energy and assertive personalities into appropriate channels.
If you are interested in helping with dog evaluations for our program. Please fill out a volunteer application on our get involved page!
When you find yourself feeling sorry for the poor, one eyed/one legged older dog huddling in the back of her kennel, please take a moment to stop and think about it before you think this dog should be a teammate for a veteran in need of a service dog. You are making a commitment to find a dog a forever home with a veteran who is disabled and needs a dog that can help them. We need to looking for dogs who are going to help not hinder our veterans. We must remember that these dogs are here to help a veteran, most of our veterans have a limited income and need a dog to help them. Most are not physically, mentally, or financially capable of taking care of a special needs animal. if you evaluate and recommend dogs that will most likely not work out you can face the prospect of headache while others manage difficult behaviors and dogs ending up right back where they started in a pound, instead of the Forever home we are trying to provide them with. You decide which is the right thing to do. We feel that every dog deserves a home, however this program is dedicated to finding forever homes for highly intelligent dogs to help a veteran as a service dog through working dogs for vets programs. We are looking for dogs with a high level of intelligence, and sociability both of those traits combined will contribute more to a dog’s success in a home than any other trait. Overall, be looking for a dog that really likes people and wants to be with them, who is affectionate, congenial, and bonds easily and strongly. These are the dogs who are most fun, and the least worry to live with. Ideally, we are looking for dogs that are healthy enough to help someone, Most shelter dogs are spayed or neutered before adoption, so there is not a large cost to pay for the cost of surgery. Almost all shelters give their animals thorough physical exams and provide vaccinations. Some shelters even microchip their animals so that if they get lost, they can find their way home to their new pet parents. We are looking for dogs that have not been abused, and are from approximately 9mo.- 3yrs old. Not too much older than 3 because we want our veterans to have a long life with their service dog. If the dog is 3 yrs old they should already be house broken, and will have already learned most of their basic obedience. Dogs that are younger may have some learning to do, but many have learned basic obedience.
Other tests that could be performed are as follows:
1. Social Attraction - degree of social attraction to people, confidence or dependence.
2. Following - willingness to follow a person.
3. Restraint - degree of dominant or submissive tendency, and ease of handling in difficult situations.
4. Social Dominance - degree of acceptance of social dominance by a person.
5. Elevation - degree of accepting dominance while in a position of no control, such as at the veterinarian or groomer.
6. Retrieving - degree of willingness to do something for you. Together with Social Attraction and Following a key indicator for ease or difficulty in training.
7. Touch Sensitivity - degree of sensitivity to touch and a key indicator to the type of training equipment required.
8. Sound Sensitivity - degree of sensitivity to sound, such as loud noises or thunderstorms.
9. Sight Sensitivity - degree of response to a moving object, such as chasing bicycles, children or squirrels.
10. Stability - degree of startle response to a strange object.
If you choose to do these tests during the testing it is a good idea to make notes, of how it deals with stress, as well as its energy level. dogs come with high, medium or low energy levels. You has to be decided, which suits your life style. Dogs with high energy levels need a great deal of exercise, and will get into mischief if this energy is not channeled into the right direction.
Finally, you may look at the overall health and structure of the dog. Provided the dog is in good adoptable health and you give it the proper diet and environment in which to grow. If you notice something out of the ordinary at this age, it may stay with dog for the rest of its life and must be taken into consideration.