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All 4 Paws Training LLC
Public Access Test

This test is NOT the end of the line with me. This test is far to basic in my opinion to be considered the "end" of training. I use this test as a gauge for dogs that are ready to begin training on their tasks and to continue their obedience in a more public setting outside of my class. My final test requires more precision and demonstrations of on cue tasks.

Disqualifying behaviors: Any dog that demonstrates boisterous behavior, hackles-up, growling, showing teeth, lunging, biting, or inappropriate elimination is not ready for public access work.

Equipment and commands: Any necessary equipment may be used on the service dog (eg vest, harness, training collar). Commands may be verbal, hand signals or a combination of the two. Treats may not be using during the test.

1. Car travel:
Dog tested unloading from handler's vehicle. Dog should not exit vehicle until handler gives appropriate command to do so. Once outside the vehicle the dog must remain within 4 feet of the vehicle (instead of wandering away) and out of any obvious danger.

As soon as the SD has exited the vehicle, a second team should walk by within 6 feet of the first team. The SD on the first team should not approach or in any way lunge towards the second team as it strolls past.

Team should then navigate the parking lot towards the building. Handler should be watchful for all vehicles in motion, pedestrians, and vehicles preparing to back out of parking space. Handler and SD should maintain a safe distance from all hazards.

  • Dog did not attempt to exit until given the appropriate command
  • Dog was under control while exiting car and immediately thereafter

2. Approaching a building:
In the absence of any physical disability in the handler, the dog should walk alongside its handler on a loose leash. Said dog should not pull on its leash, stop to sniff objects, greet other people, or pee while in transit, unless specifically cued to do so, by its handler.

When a handler is mobility-impaired, she/he may use a harness instead of a leash, in which case a 'loose leash' requirement is moot. In some cases, handlers with mobility issues use a leash and have trained their dog to pull them forward. Obviously, a 'loose leash' requirement in this instance is also unnecessary.

  • Dog did not interfere with, or become distracted by, a passing dog team
  • Dog was calm around moving cars
  • Dog did not attempt to eliminate unless specifically cued to do so
  • Handler used good judgment when moving with dog through traffic area
  • Dog remained in a heel position on a loose leash
  • When handler stopped the dog also stopped

3. Entering a building:
In the absence of any physical disability in the handler, the dog should enter the building via a door that its handler must open manually. This should be repeated using a door that opens automatically. While entering the building, the dog should continue to be on a loose lead without pulling. The dog should not rush ahead of the handler as the team enters the building, nor should the dog startle when entry is through an automatic door. When a handler is mobility impaired, she/he may choose to forgo entry into the building using a manual door and instead use a designated 'disability entrance' and an electronic 'button' for opening the door automatically.

Handler is to ensure that the dog passes through the doorway fully and safely.

  • Dog entered the building in a controlled manner using a manual door
  • Dog entered the building in a controlled manner using an automatic door
  • Dog exited the building in a controlled manner using a manual door
  • Dog exited the building in a controlled manner using an automatic door

4. Moving through a store with distractions:
The team should enter a busy store. The dog should be on loose lead in the heel position (save for those situations described above whereby handler is physically disabled and requires an alternate format). As the team moves through the store, the dog should turn corners synchronously with the handler. Dog should stop when handler stops. Dog should not brush-up against merchandise or topple items. Dog should not startle or appear frightened by shopping carts, baby strollers, and small children. Dog should not attempt to greet other people. Rather, the dog should be aware of his surroundings, while at the same time remaining focused on its handler.

Handler is to prevent putting the SD in to a situation where the dog may topple items. In narrow passes the handler may have the dog walk ahead or behind handler until space allows for the team to resume the heel position. This must be done safely and smoothly without the SD showing anxiety.

  • Dog did not attempt to greet or sniff others
  • Dog remained in heel position on a loose leash
  • Dog was focused on handler
  • Dog transitioned locations in narrow spaces smoothly
  • Dog did not brush-up against or topple any merchandise
  • Dog was unfettered by shopping carts and other distractions

5. Grocery Store:
Team should enter a grocery store, and the handler should push a shopping cart, while the dog keeps pace alongside its handler on a loose lead. (For handlers with physical disabilities, a shopping cart may be replaced by a scooter or wheelchair, and the individual may require use of a harness or taught leash). As the team moves through the store, the dog should not sniff any food products or people while transiting the aisles. Handlers should be especially attentive when the team is near meat and cheese sections of the grocery store. While in the grocery store, the handler may wish to challenge the dog's training by placing it in a sit-stay in an area where shopping carts and people are whizzing by. The dog should not break the sit-stay, nor be fearful of the shopping carts and people, as they move about. The dog should remain focused on its handler, until cued, otherwise.

  • Dog was calm and kept pace alongside handler pushing shopping cart
  • Dog did not sniff any food products or people

6. High distraction behaviors:

a) Handler puts dog in a down-stay in a busy public space. An assistant will step over the dog, and observe the dog's reaction. The dog should not react other than to note the individual's behavior. Dog should not startle, vocalize, or break the down-stay.

The tail & hind legs should be tucked in at all times. Ideally the dog will curl up as much as possible so as to not become a trip hazard or draw attention to itself.

  • Dog did not break down-stay, startle or vocalize during Step Over
  • Dog successfully tucked its tail & legs

b) Handler puts dog in a down-stay in a busy public space. An assistant will recruit a child to come and pet the dog. The dog should not startle, vocalize, or appear threatened by contact from the child. The dog should remain impassive, tolerate the petting from the child, but not engage with the child further. Indeed, the dog may be trained (reinforced) that under these circumstances, it should remain focused on its handler, rather than the child. Finally, the dog should persist in the down-stay until cued by its handler to do otherwise.

The tail & hind legs should be tucked in at all times. Ideally the dog will curl up as much as possible so as to not become a trip hazard or draw attention to itself.

  • Dog tolerated contact from the child
  • Dog did not break down-stay with carts and people moving by
  • Dog was largely focused on handler

7. Mass transit:
If public transportation is available in the handler's geographic area, then the team should practice boarding and riding as many forms of public transportation that are available to them. The dog should remain calm throughout the trip and disinterested in other persons present. The handler may choose to put the dog in a sit-stay or down-stay, as conditions permit. Generally speaking, a SD should ride on the floorboards of a subway, bus, trolley, para-transit vehicle, taxicab or airplane, rather than the seat. On rare occasions, a service dog may be placed on a seat, when doing so is absolutely necessary, in order for the dog to provide its handler a disability-related service, or when instructed by airline personnel on board a small aircraft where the dog may not otherwise be stowed safely. Tiny Service Dogs may need to be protected from other passengers' feet by riding in a front carrier, shoulder bag, scooter basket, or in the lap of its handler.

The handler is to make an appropriate decision as to where the SD is to be while in transit. SD should be out of the way, and safe from being stepped on having items dropped on the dog. Dog should never be kept in walkways or isles.

  • Dog boarded and exited public transportation calmly on a loose lead
  • Dog remained in a sit or down position without disturbing others
  • Handler chose an appropriate place for the SD to ride.
  • Handler loaded and unload dog from transit appropriately
  • Dog did not solicit for attention

8. Restaurants:
The team should enter a restaurant and take a table, or wait for the hostess to seat them. While transiting the restaurant, the dog should not lunge at any food or crumbs that may be on the floor or carpet. The dog should be placed into a down-stay under the table, if physically possible, and remain there silently for the duration of the meal. Peeking-out from under the table, sniffing around, or begging for food is not permitted. If the setting will not allow the dog to remain under the table, then it may be placed in a down-stay next to, or under, the handler's chair and out of the way of other patrons and waitpersons.

  • Dog successfully ignored food or crumbs on restaurant floor
  • Dog remained in a down-stay out of the way of others
  • Dog did not beg, sniff, or create a disturbance in the restaurant
  • Handler placed SD in an appropriate location under or near table

Mid-way through the meal, an assistant may challenge the dog's training by dropping a small piece of food near the dog. A well-trained Service Dog will not break its down-stay, nor will it attempt to sniff or otherwise consume the dropped food item. When a dog behaves appropriately under these circumstances, be sure to offer it praise and a scratch on the head, as a positive reinforcement for good behavior.

  • Dog did not break its down-stay during this challenge
  • Dog did not sniff the food item
  • Dog did not try to consume the dropped food item

9. Bathrooms:
The team should enter a public restroom. The dog should follow its handler into the bathroom stall, if physically possible. The dog should not squirm or attempt to escape the bathroom stall, nor should it peek into adjacent stalls or whine to get out. When the handler exits the bathroom stall, the dog should move synchronously and effortlessly with its handler. When the handler washes his/her hands and/or is unable hold the leash, the dog may be placed out of the way, either in a sit-stay or a down-stay, until cued by the handler to exit the bathroom.

  • Dog entered the bathroom without obvious fear
  • Dog remained in position while handle washed his/her hands
  • Dog did not whine or peek into adjacent stalls

10. Elevators:
The team should enter and exit a building elevator in a controlled fashion. The dog should experience, both riding up and down, on the elevator. The dog should not startle or cower in the corner out of fear. The dog should be at ease, confident, and attentive to its handler throughout the ride. The dog may, or may not, be trained to operate elevator buttons, depending upon the handler's disability-related needs.

  • Dog entered, rode the elevator without fear, and exited appropriately
  • Handler loaded and unload dog from elevator appropriately

11. Stairs:
If physically possible, the handler and dog should master stairways (ascending and descending). The dog should not run up the stairs, nor should it be fearful of them. A team should be climbing stairs together in a controlled manner.

  • Dog climbed stairs with handler in a controlled manner

12. Long-Leash Recall with distraction:
Dog should 'come' when called by the handler at a distance no less than 30 feet and in the presence of high distraction. Relevant distractions may include a locus of people moving or standing around, and/or children playing, and/or the presence of another dog or multiple dogs. Dog's recall should be rapid, deliberate and focused. Dog should not amble along, sniff, or otherwise become distracted by extraneous stimuli.

  • Dog came immediately to the handler without hesitation or distraction

13. Blind Long-Leash Recall with distraction:
Dog should 'come' when called by the handler at a distance no less than 30 feet and in the presence of high distraction and with the handler being around a corner or just out of sight. Relevant distractions may include a locus of people moving or standing around, and/or children playing, and/or the presence of another dog or multiple dogs. Dog's recall should be rapid, deliberate and focused. Dog should not amble along, sniff, or otherwise become distracted by extraneous stimuli.

  • Dog came immediately to the handler without hesitation or distraction (blind recall)

14. Dropped-Leash:
Dog should continue walking with the handler when the leash is dropped accidently. After 20 feet the handler is to regain control of the leash or the dog is to give the leash back to the handler in the presence of distractions. Relevant distractions may include people moving or standing around and/or the presence of another dog or multiple dogs. Dog should be focused on handler. Dog should not amble along, sniff, or otherwise become distracted by extraneous stimuli.

  • Handler was able to maintain control the dog and regain the leash.

15. Greetings:
Dog should remain calm and unreactive as another service dog team passes by then stops to visit. The evaluator will have an "over excited" volunteer approach and make funny sounds or viggeriously pet the service dog and he/she walks by; again dog is to remain calm and unreactive. Finally the handler give the leash to the evaluator and walks out of sight for 3 minutes of seperation; dog should remain calm.

  • Dog accepted the friendly stranger on leash - owner walk away (3min)
  • Dog ignored overly friendly or annoying stranger.
  • Dog ignored the other service dog.

16. Surfaces:
Your Service Dog will likely encounter a variety of surfaces in the course of its travels. It could be asphalt, gravel, linoleum, cobblestones, or a metal grating of some kind. It may be glass blocks over an urban commercial kitchen, a propped-open manhole cover, or a piece of iron sheeting in a construction zone. It's always a good idea to expose your dog to as many different surfaces as early in its life, as possible. This builds confidence in your dog, and that's a good thing!

  • Dog walked confidently on a variety of surfaces

17. Basic commands:

  • Leave It    Dog did not take food from stranger
  • Heel    Dog returned to heel position on command
  • Sit    Dog sat on command
  • Down    Dog laid down on command
  • Stay    Dog stayed until released
  • Wait/Come    Dog stayed until released then went directly to handler

18. Team relationship:

  • Handler positively reinforced dog when commands were followed correctly
  • Dog was confidant, relaxed and friendly
  • Dog was under the handler's control


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