Bright and Beautiful Requirements

To certify as a therapy dog with Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs, the therapy dog team must:

  • Must be at least one year old ­
  • Must be owned by current owner for at least six months.
  • Dogs that have been aggressively trained (Schutzhund, etc.) or have a “bite history” are excluded.

The evaluation consists of:

Initial Meeting: The dog is seated at the handler’s left side. The elavuator approaches the dog and the handler and stands facing the team from a distance of about 4 feet.

  • The evaluator approaches and enthusiastically greets and touches ( handshake, pat on the arm. etc.)
  • The evaluator asks the dog’s name, loudly repeats the dog’s name, and then circles the dog and handler.
  • The evaluator inspects the dog, petting the dog and touches ears, mouth, paws and tail.
  • The evaluator may hug the dog.

Cane/Awkward Stranger: The dog is seated at the handler’s side, the evaluator approaches with the cane moving erratically with hunched posture, while speaking in an odd voice. The evaluator pats the dog on the head, body and bumps the dog gently with the cane.

Socialization: Groups of people (2-5) stand in a gathering. If possible (1-2) are present with the group of people. Medical equipment (wheelchair, walker, cane and crutches) is present during the test.

  • The dog and handler walk together with a loose lead threading through the group of people.
  • The dog may be on either side of the handler.
  • Groups of people mill around and quietly talk to one another.
  • Creating their own heeling pattern, the dog and handler make right, about & left turns while meandering through the crowd.
  • The dog and handler wander casually through the crowd three times.

Training:

  • The handler positions the dog to the left and faces the evaluator.
  • The test is performed with the use of a 20″ long line.
  • The handler replaces the leash with the long line and drops the long line to the ground.  (The evaluator may step on the leash to keep the dog in place during the stay.)
  1. Sit: The evaluator must ask the handler to sit their dog. The handler may give more than one command and coax the dog into position. The handler must not force the dog down into a sit with their hand.
  2. Down: The evaluator asks the handler to down their dog. The handler gives the dog the command to down. The handler may use more than one command. The handler must not force their dog into a down position with their hand.
  3. Stay: The evaluator asks the handler to tell the dog to stay (from either a sit or a down- handler preference). The handler gives the dog the command to stay, walks to the end of the long line and returns to the dog. The dog should remain in place while the handler returns to the dog at a normal pace. The handler may tell the dog to stay more than once and if necessary, back away from the dog, telling the dog to stay repeatedly. The handler may take a fair period of time, give the dog more than one command to stay and re-position the dog a few times if they break the stay.
  4. Come: The evaluator asks the handler to tell the dog to stay (from either a sit or a down- handler preference), to walk out to the end of the long line and call their dog. The handler gives the dog the command to stay, walks to the end of the long line, turns and calls the dog to come to them. The handler may use more than one command.

Food Distraction: The dog is seated next to the handler facing the evaluator. The evaluator drops a piece of food on the floor. If possible dogs (1-2) are present with the group of people.

  • The evaluator instructs the handler to walk past the food with the dog at the handlers side.
  • The handler and dog then turn and while walking back, pick up the piece of food.

Walker: While the dog is seated at the handlers side, the evaluator approaches noisily with the walker.

  • The evaluator pats the dog on the head, body and bumps the dog gently with the walker.

Canine to Canine Interaction: Two handlers and their dogs approach each other from a distance of about 15 feet, stop and speak to each other, turn and line up facing the same direction and walk forward for about 10 feet.

Crutches: While the dog is seated at the handlers side, the evaluator approaches with the crutches, as if disabled.

  • The evaluator pats the dog roughly on the head, body and bumps the dog gently with a crutch.

Human to Canine Interaction: Groups of people (2-5) stand in a gathering. If possible dogs (1-2) are present with the group of people. Medical equipment is not present during this portion of the test. The handler and dog team walk briskly through the crowd while being exposed to the following diversions:

  • A metal bowl is dropped behind the dog and handler.
  • Pans or bowls are clanged together.
  • People are loudly laughing, talking and slapping each other on the back.
  • One of the evaluators runs.
  • An evaluator shouts loudly at another evaluator simulating an argument.

Working with other Therapy Dogs: 

  • An evaluator/test dog team approaches the handler and dog. The handler and dog are positioned with the dog seated at the handlers side. The evaluator/test dog positions themselves the same way, but facing the handler and dog situated about 5 feet apart. The two teams hold this position for 10 seconds.
  • The handler/dog team holds their position and the evaluator/test dog team swing around so they line up along side the team being tested (as if doing long sits). The teams hold this position for 10 seconds.

Wheelchair: The handler and dog approaches the wheelchair from a distance of about 5 feet. The handler leads the dog up to the wheelchair and encourages the dog to interact with the evaluator. The evaluator gently pets the dog and bumps the dog with the wheelchair.