The TDI Test is divided into two phases and has 13
individual testing exercises.
The Test is designed to simulate visitations at a facility
with a therapy dog.
This test reflects realistic situations and should be
helpful in evaluating the potential therapy dog.
with testing of all of the applicants in a group, excluding
the part where the dog will be handled by a stranger out of
sight of the handler.
will be tested on an individual basis.
must wear either a flat buckle or snap-in collar (non
corrective) or a harness (non-corrective). All testing must
be on a 6 ft. leash.*
*If the dog is on a longer
leash, a knot must be made in the leash to mark 6 ft. The
handler must drop the excessive leash.
TDI Entry Table (
Simulated as a Hospital Reception Desk)
Test #1: The
dog/handler teams are lined up to be checked in (simulating
evaluator ("volunteer coordinator") will go down the line of
registrants and greet each new arrival including each dog.
At the same time the collars must be checked, as well as nails,
ears and grooming.
This is to
simulate the arrival at a facility where the coordinator
first greets the visiting dog team and instructs the handler
on proper grooming before a therapy dog visit.
dogs must permit the evaluator to check the collar, all 4
paws, ears and tail which must be lifted if applicable
must be friendly and outgoing upon meeting the evaluator,
willing to visit without being invasive and show impeccable
Pulling, lunging, jumping up (unruliness), shyness,
aggressiveness, or resisting examination is an automatic
Check-in and out
of sight (between 2-3 minutes)
Test #2: The
handler is asked to complete the paperwork and check in. At
that time a helper will ask the handler if he/she can help
by holding the dog. If the handler prefers he/she can go
with the helper and places the dog with a stay command. The
dog will be out of sight of the handler. Another
helper will take charge of the dog. The helper can talk to
and pet the dog. The dog can sit, lie down, stand or walk
around within the confine of the leash.
Whining, barking, pulling away from the helper is an
Test #3: As
the dog/handler team walks toward the patients' rooms, there
should be various people standing around. Some of the people
will try visiting with the dog. The
dog/handler team must demonstrate that the dog can withstand
the approach of several people at the same time and is
willing to visit and to walk around a group of people.
around and through a group of people should be done
on the leash, jumping up, shyness, not wanting to visit,
showing aggressiveness, not walking on a loose leash are an
Test #4: The
evaluator will ask all the participants to line up with
their dogs in a heel position (w/dog on left), with 8 ft.
between each team. Now the handlers will put their dogs in a
sit/stay position. The Evaluator will tell the handlers to
leave their dogs. Handlers step out to the end of their 6
ft. leash and wait for the evaluator’s command to return to
Test #5: Same
as test number 4, except dogs will now be in a down/stay.
must stay in place as ordered.
exercises will show how well the dog responds when other
dogs are present.
staying in place, trying to visit with another dog are
reasons for automatic
Recall on a 20 ft.
Test #6: All
handlers will be seated. Three dogs at a time will be fitted
with a long line. One
handler at a time will take the dog to a designated area and
downs the dog. Upon the command from the evaluator the
handler will tell the dog to stay. The
handler will walk to the end of the 20 ft. line, turn around
and upon a command from the evaluator will recall the dog.
practical purposes the recall is one of the most important
obedience exercises for the dog to master. If
a dog does not come when called the dog is not obedient and
cannot be trusted in public.
staying in place and coming when called is reason for
Visiting with a
Test #7: The
dog should show willingness to visit a person and demonstrate
that it can be made readily accessible for petting (i.e.
small dogs can be placed on a person's lap or can be held;
medium and larger dogs can sit on a chair or stand close to
the patient to be easily reached).
part of the test a wheelchair or bed can be used. The
evaluator will supply a rubber bathmat and a towel.
Shyness, aggressiveness, jumping up, not wanting to visit
are reasons for automatic failure.
reactions to unusual situations
Test #8: The
dog handler team must be walking in a straight line. The
dog can be on either side, or slightly behind the handler,
the leash must not be tight. The evaluator will ask the
handler to have the dog sit (the handler may say sit). Next
the evaluator will ask the handler to down the dog.
Continuing in a straight line, the handler will be asked to
make a right, left and an about turn at the evaluator's
following distractions will be added to the heel on a loose
team will be passing a person on crutches.
The dog must visit with the person on crutches.
running by calling "excuse me, excuse me" waving
hands (this person is running up from behind
the dog. It could also be a person on a bicycle or on roller
The dog cannot be startled, can be curious, but not
aggressive or shy.
person should be walking by and drop something making a loud
startling noise (a tin can filled with pebbles, or a
clipboard). At an indoor test one could use a running vacuum
cleaner (realistic in a facility).
The dog cannot be startled, it can be curious, but not
aggressive or shy.
that, the team should be requested to make a left turn.
To make it more realistic the left turn should
be around some people.
The people should be shuffling, moaning,
coughing and also talking loudly.
Various health care devices should be used by
the people (wheelchairs, crutches,
a right turn.
To make it more realistic the right turn should be around
Same scenario as (d)
the right turn an about-turn, going back in a straight line.
- f" show
us how a dog will react under various circumstances which
are day to day occurrences when the dog is out in public or
while visiting at a facility.
following scenarios can be staged as such:
As the dog
handler team walks in a straight line, a person in a
wheelchair, with a walker or crutches should be encountered
by the dog handler team. Each
time the dog is required to visit.
exercises give the Evaluator a good opportunity to observe
the dog in various situations. Do
not pass the dog if the dog does not behave well in public.
Leave it; phase
Test #9 :
The dog handler/team meets a person using a walker, the dog
should approach the person and visit. The person with the
walker will offer the dog a treat.
handler must instruct the dog to leave it.
must ignore the food. The handler should explain to the
patient why the dog cannot eat a treat while visiting (i.e.
dog has food allergies).
Leave it; phase
#10: The dog handler will resume walking in a straight line
with the dog at heel. There
will be a piece of food in the path of the dog. The
dog must leave it.
handler spots the food, a command of leave it can be given
and the dog is not permitted to pick up the food. If the
handler does not see the food and consequently does not give
a command, he/she is not scouting adequately. Regardless
the dog is not permitted to pick up the food.
Leave it exercise is a very important part of the TDI test. A
dog who is food oriented will pick up food from the floor,
the food might be potentially harmful to the dog (pills
a patient feed a dog can also cause a potential problem. Some
dogs are very grabby and might injure the patient.
Test #11: A
volunteer with a demo dog will walk past the dog
handler/team, turn around and ask the handler a question.
After a brief conversation, the two handlers part.
should not show any kind of negative reaction. The handler
should not allow the dog to visit with the demo dog.
Entering through a
door to visit at the facility
Test #12: The
dog handler team is ready to enter a door to the facility.
The handler first has to put the dog in a sit, stand or down
stay, whichever is appropriate for the dog. If there is no
door available, an area simulating an entrance should be
person should be able to go through the entrance before the
test will show us that the handler has control over the dog
reinforcing that a responsible handler will yield to others.
#13 must be given last and only if the dog/handler team has
passed all other segments of the TDI test.
Test #13: The
last phase of the test shows us if the dog will be able to
work well around children.
The dog's behavior around children must be evaluated
during testing. It
is important that during the testing the
potential Therapy Dog and the children are not in direct
means the dog can only be observed for a reaction toward
children running, or being present at the testing site. The
evaluator must designate an area at least 10 feet away from
the dog and handler. The
dog may be walked, or put in a sit or down position. The
children will be instructed to run and yell and do what
children usually do while playing.
negative reaction by the dog will result in automatic
means a dog showing signs of disobedience,