Everyone is always nervous before they have their Delta Pet Partner Evaluation. It’s natural to be anxious because you want it so badly. But your nerves will travel straight down the leash to your dog so the first step in p-preparing for your Evaluation is to RELAX!
Easier said than done I know. But you can relax by remembering how well you and your dog have done in training. Remember how much you enjoyed the Handler Workshop. Remember that this is something you want to do and something you know your dog wants to do. Remember that your emotional state of mind is more critical to your dog’s success than anything else. Remember that the Evaluator is paying as much attention to you as your animal.
So here are some tips for acing your Evaluation:
• Firstly make sure your dog is healthy and feeling well before test day. If you have any concerns at all (dog threw up, dog just not acting right) ask the Evaluator to postpone your test
• The same goes for you as the Handler. Do not test if you are not feeling well.
• Pack your bag with everything you will need such as the proper brush and extra leash and Place Blanket.
• Make sure your Registration Packet is complete and in the right order and you have the necessary health forms
• Give your dog a bath within 24 hours of your test time and make sure his nails are smooth, and he is spanking clean!
• Prepare what you will wear as you should dress as you would on assignment (closed shoes, etc.)
• Get your dog in a learning frame of mind by taking a nice leisurely walk and working your dog (sit, stay, down, follow me, etc.) rather than going for a five mile run
• Run through some of the elements you may feel challenged by so you are in a calm mood
• Do not overly excite your dog before the test – we want to see calm, reliable, steady dogs not ones who are coming down from high energy.
• Don’t feed your dog right before the test – you want to make sure he will not have to eliminate at an inappropriate time.
• Arrive at the test space at least fifteen minutes early, perhaps even half an hour so yo9u can let your dog walk around and smell and eliminate and become comfortable.
• Tell yourself this is just a test and you can always take it again.
• Remember this is a Team Evaluation so celebrate your relationship with your dog and show the close bond you have by easy confident handling
• Remember you can ask the Evaluator for a break when your dog needs to go out or you observe some stress signals in your dog or you are feeling stressed
• Speak in a conversational tone with your dog or use hand signals and remain calm and positive throughout the test
• Don’t panic if your dog refuses a command or does something you did not expect. Unless it is a cause to stop the test and give the team a Not Acceptable, just accept it and move on.
• Remember the Evaluator is looking for you to role play with the volunteers and not just go through the motions. This is not an obedience trial but a chance to see how you would work with your dog when volunteering
The most important tip is to HAVE FUN! You have prepared for this day and are looking forward to becoming Pet Partner / Love Dogs so take a deep breath and remember you can do this.