Individuals wishing to register their dog as an assistance dog with Pawstive Squad must attend assistance dog courses in Nottinghamshire. There are four levels which assistance dogs in training can work through from foundation to gold. At gold level your dog is a fully trained assistance dog. Levels foundation to silver are assessed throughout classes and the gold level is assessed on an individual basis which takes around 3 hours. Each assessment is only valid for 12 months, this is to ensure working partnerships remain at the high standard we expect Pawsitive Squad assistance dogs to work at as well as to ensure all partnerships are well supported.
To register as in training with Pawsitive Squad you must pass your foundation level. At foundation level we are ONLY assessing that your dog is safe to begin training as an assistance dog. Pawsitive Squad foundation level dogs are only permitted to take their dogs into non dog spaces (eg shops, resturants etc) with permission from the company/organisation they're visiting and only for training sessions. This means we expect the focus of visits to those places to be as training trips and not just taking your dog into the shop with you for your general shopping. This is because at this level your dog needs your full focus on training.
To pass their foundation award a dog must demonstrate:
That they're happy being handled by strangers
That they're unlikely to have a toileting accident inside.
That they're not agressive or overly anxious
That they are able to walk safely on a lead
That they are interested in the young person they are going to support
That they are able to briefly focus on their handler
That theyre safe and comfortable with car travel
That they can quickly recover from being startled
To pass their foundation award a dog must continue to demonstrate the foundation criteria and also be able to demonstrate:
A reliable sit
Walking on a loose lead using appopriate redirection and correction as required in low pressure environments
Settling under a table for 5 minutes
No barking (the occassional woof at this stage is acceptable IF their handler is appropriately responding to extinguish this behaviour).
The handler demonstrate ability to read canine body language and respond appropriately
Relaxed behaviour in low pressure working environments including a quiet park, village street, in a local shop.
Able to perform one beneficial task in the low pressure environments
Demonstrate reliable positioning including behind, change sides and close.
Leave low value items
No jumping up
Hold a sit, stay when a food item is dropped nearby onto the floor
Hold a sit stay when a familiar person approaches them
Remain calm while another person holds their leash and their owner moves 20 paces away for 1 minute
Leave another dog passing them (they may look over and wag their tail excitedly at this point but must not lung towards them).
Recall in low distraction environment
To pass their silver level all dogs must continue to meet the foundation and bronze standard reliably, have recieved a minimum of 120 hours of recorded focused training over atleast a 6 month period and also be able to:
Demonstrate down and wait reliably
Demonstrate look back at the handler/check ins while walking on relatively loose lead (with cues if necessary) in a low stimulus environment
Demonstrate walking paralell with a familar dog without engaging
Demonstrate good on lead greeting with a familiar dog
Demonstrate a leave with a high value item
Demonstrate that your dog can perform 3 assistance tasks relevant to their handler*
Demonstrate a sit stay when greeted by a child
Demonstrate a reliable recall
Demonstrate safe play off lead with another dog
Demonstrate calm behaviour in high stimulus/pressure environments (including town centre)
Demonstrate that the handler can drop and retrieve their dogs lead with the dog remaining under control
Demonstrate ability to safely cross a car park showing safe awareness of traffic
To pass the gold level all dogs must continue to meet the previous levels standard reliably, have completed a minimum of 180 hours of recorded focused training over atleast a 9 month period as well as:
Demonstrate that your dog will travel through working environments without sniffing or soliciting attention
Demonstrate the required assistance tasks in real world working environmnets including high pressure/stimulus environments
Demonstrate a reliable loose lead walk with spontanious check ins/ looks back at the handler
Demonstrate heel work next to a trolley** and sit, stay while handler investigates items on shelf
Not display any unruley behaviour or unnecessary vocalisations
Only toiletting on command in a designated area.
Highly reliable sit, down, wait, leave, close, recall, settle on a single command or hand signal
Remain calm and settled when a non familiar dog passes within 1.5m of the dog
Walk in paralell with an unfamiliar dog
Tolerate an unfamiliar dog approaching and interacting with them
Remain focused and on a loose lead walkig around 3 unknown dogs.
Ignore or immediately look then look back when public try to distract them
Demonstrate a 1 minute leave with a plate 1m away of high value product item. Handler may give "leave" command but not use the lead to restrain or correct the dog.
Demonstrate good habituation to a variety of people including the elderly, people in costume, with mobility aid and young children.
To pass the gold assistance dog handlers must also:
Demonstrate an accurate understanding of relevant legislation and what this means in practice.
Demonstrate their ability to appropriately respond to a public access refusal/issue.
Demonstrate good care and home grooming for your dog.
Demonstrate consistently safe and welfare friendly handling
Once an assistance dog partnership passes their gold level they will become a Pawsitive Squad certified partnership, they will be provided with a Pawsitive Squad ID booklet and leash sleeve and be able to purchase a Pawsitive Squad jacket from us.