You attended a Pet Partner Handler Workshop and then scheduled your Evaluation with your animal. You practiced all the elements and felt ready to test.
The day arrived for your test and you were so nervous. Your energy traveled down the lead and your dog did not perform as well as you knew he could.
You scored a Not Ready.
Of course you are disappointed but don’t be discouraged.
And never be angry with your animal.
What should you do now?
Discuss the problem area(s) with the Evaluator and understand the element(s) where you needed to do better.
A student would score an overall Not Ready if they:
- Scores a Not Ready on any of the individual exercises of the Pet Partner Skills Test; the Overall Exam, Exuberant and Clumsy Petting; Restraining Hug
- Receives three or more Not Ready on the Aptitude Test
- Behaves in a way that would cause the evaluation to be stopped such as exhibiting clusters of stress behaviors over several exercises
- Needs instruction or additional attempts for more than two PPST exercises due to handler error or lack of skill on the part of the animal
- Animal eliminates during evaluation
- Mouths the evaluator or assistant hand, but only if the animal gently places its mouth on the hand or does so in play. Otherwise, mouthing should be considered an aggressive act by the animal and thus score a Not Appropriate and not be permitted to test again
- Continually vocalizes as part of fear or stress
- Frequently licks the handler, evaluator, assistants throughout the evaluation
- Jumps up on people or equipment more than once
So what do you do if you score an overall Not Ready and the test is stopped?
First don’t panic. It happens.
Don’t give up.
Have a detailed conversation with the Evaluator so you fully understand why this score was given and what you can do to perfect the areas in question.
Take some time to work on those elements and reschedule your evaluation. You can reschedule as soon as you like and as soon as the Evaluator can set up a re-test.
When you retest you will have a different neutral dog and different volunteers to interact with. Everything else will be as the first time around so don’t stress that your original Not Ready score will influence the Evaluator. The Evaluator must approach every test from a neutral, objective stance so just take a deep breath and try again.
Many of the very best, natural therapy animals and handlers do not pass the first time – nerves can get in the way and even the most steady teams need to test again.