Canine—Initial Screening Process
These preliminary tests will determine the need for conducting the entire temperament test.
Evaluate on a scale of 1–3 with 1 = Fail, 2 = Average, and 3 = Excellent.
All candidates must possess the following criteria:
- High food drive.
- Ability to train.
- Physical soundness.
High Food Drive
Goal—Because their reward (motivation) is food, this must be their priority in life. Use a variety of treats.
1. Feed canine treats.
2. Show dog treats and place the treats up high, low, and under something.
3. As you are feeding treats to the canine, have a stranger distract the dog. DO NOT USE DOG’S NAME.
Goal—These dogs will be used at airports and border crossings. They must be comfortable around all ages, races, genders, as well as persons with disabilities.
1. Initial greeting
2. Environment (people, vehicles, and noises)
3. Stranger test—Have stranger act in an unusual manner. Have the dog attached to a fence in an unfamiliar setting with a 4- to 6-foot leash. The stranger will make eye contact with dog from 20 to 30 feet away; when dog makes eye contact, the stranger should begin acting in an unusual manner, i.e., making loud noises, waving arms, moving from side to side, and advancing toward the dog but always maintaining at least a 10-foot distance from the dog. Then the stranger should become friendly with the dog.
Ability to Train
Goal—the canine must be able to comprehend and complete repetitive tasks.
1. Negative conditioning—Bring hand back and make quick hand motion toward the dog’s face.
2. Aptitude for scent work—This should be done in an enclosed yard off-leash but may be done on-leash. NOTE: Make sure the dog is relieved prior to testing. Show dog treats; put treat on ground and tell the dog to “Find it.” Do three repetitions of command. Then cover the dog’s eyes and throw 10 treats into the wind in random fashion in high grass; release the dog and observe tracking techniques.
Goal—The canines must be able to endure several years of detection work. They need to be agile enough to perform while on conveyor belts, on their hind legs, and while climbing and navigating over such obstacles as luggage, boxes, and car seats.
1. Look for overall symmetry. Stand 5 feet away from dog and look at the dog from side to side and front and rear, and ask yourself these questions: Is the dog well balanced? Does the front of the dog look in proportion to the rear of the dog?
2. Examine nails. Are some different lengths than others? Which ones?
3. Examine teeth. This will tell the approximate age of the dog. NOTE: If there is dental tartar halfway down on teeth or on rear molars, chances are the dog is more than 3 years old. When in doubt, have a veterinarian verify age.
4. Look into eyes. Check for excessive tearing, tumors, cataracts, entropion (lids curving inward), and ectropion (droopy lids).
5. Have the dog move away and toward you. Does the dog limp or have a strange gait? Does the dog skip with rear?
* If you answered yes to any of the above questions, please consult the National Detector Dog Training Center (NDDTC) *
Temperament Evaluation Worksheet
|Weight: Overweight Ideal Thin
||Sex: Altered: Yes or No