The therapy dog assessment process starts as soon as you join your first therapy dog training session once you've registered onto our therapy dog training course. Throughout all training sessions we keep a record of what is working well and what needs improving. This is all kept within your therapy dog records and will be fed back to you to enable you to work on the areas which need improving.
On top of the continuous assessments you will also have a short written assessment at the end of the mandatory training modules.
You will also have a face to face/ virtual assessment at the end of each therapy program specific course (the 6 hour UNITE, FLOURISH, PROGRESS, EDUCATE & JOY) to ensure you have correctly understood each activity and are confident at delivering the program. This assessment includes practical demonstration and, where possible, we film the assessment as part of your training evidence.
Finally, once you've completed your initial training you can apply to sit your final assessment. You must have completed the mandatory training and atleast one program training course to apply for your final assessment. The final assessment is split up into 4 groups.
1) Therapy dog main handler assessment within their working environment. This includes demonstrating a couple of the therapy program exercises with a small group of customers (if not appropriate we can use volunteer participants for the assessment, moving around the organisation, settling in their relaxation space.
2) Assessment of the area/site to ensure all appropriate measures have been put in place to ensure everyone's comfort and safety including a dedicated relaxation space for the therapy dog, a toileting area which is an area young people don't access, hand washing signs reminding young people are to wash their hands after any contact with the dog, therapy dog signs stating where in the school the dog will be.
3) Paperwork - A lot of paperwork goes into having a therapy dog working within your organisation including risk assessments, permission & consent forms, insurance document, emergency plans and health, care & training records for your dog. This sounds like a lot but we are able to support you with the paperwork and will provide you with some template forms to get you started for you to tailor to your organisation.
4) Assessment of additional handlers - If you're working within an organisation with more than 5 members of staff/ volunteers on site at any one time atleast 2 additional handlers must undertake the basic handling training and be assessed as additional handlers. Their role, at its most basic is to be emergency handlers in case the owner is unable to handle the dog at any point. If the additional handlers and owner wish they may be trained up to provide the full therapy dog program within the organisation as well.
Our assessments are extensive but that is a very good thing. We ensure that we are confident that the dog, their handler and organisation are ready for therapy dog work. Once you've completed the final assessment your dog will become a full Pawsitive Squad therapy dog. They will recieve a lead sleeve & will be able to hire a therapy dog jacket from us should they wish (for a £50 deposit, returnable when the jacket is returned to us in a suitable condition). Once registered as a therapy dog with us we will reassess the dog on a 6 monthly basis. The reassessments are not full assessments and are instead to ensure that no standards have slipped. The reassessment involves a miminum of 1 hour assessment within the organisation.