You’ve completed the Pet Partner Handler Workshop, taken some positive training classes with your dog maybe even a therapy dog prep class. You are excited to take your scheduled Evaluation test.
You have waited months to get to this point so what could possibly cause you to postpone it?
- We do not encourage people to take the Evaluation if:
- Handler is not feeling well or recovering from a recent illness
- Animal is not feeling well or recovering from a recent illness
- Animal has just been spayed or neutered within a few weeks
- Animal has been vaccinated within a week
- Animal has stitches or is healing a wound
- Animal is showing any signs of illness that has not been diagnosed yet (limping, diarrhea etc.)
- Handler and/or animal has experienced a recent loss of a family member, friend, pet
- Handler is experiencing depression or other ailment that will affect their demeanor with their animal
- Handler and animal have just moved to a new home, acquired a new pet or experienced any other life changes
It is always better to postpone your Evaluation than show up and have everything go wrong. The animal will feel all the tension down the lead or may be exhibiting clusters of displacement signals such as panting, drooling, licking, backing away, avoidance and a myriad of other signs that he/she just does not want to be there.Wait for the right time to take your Evaluation. The Evaluator will understand, just be sure to let them know so they can cancel their volunteers and the neutral dog and the space they have reserved.
But even if you have to cancel at the very last minute it is preferred than showing up and stressing yourself and your animal.You always want to arrive at the Evaluation confident and secure in your pet’s abilities and working as a solid team. To do that, you have to realize your limitations and understand that your goal is a passing grade.
When Coco the Love Dog was very ill, Kirby stayed by her side every minute. He went to the vet with her and slept with her and looked over her. When at the end of just one week we lost Coco, Kirby was very very sad. This would not have been a time to have him go through his renewal Evaluation, which Pet Partners have to do every two years. We chose to wait and see when Kirby would perk up and be ready to return to work and take his test.Why take the chance that something may happen that results in a Not Acceptable grade, such as your dog growling or showing aggression or the handler behaving inappropriately. There is always another day.