Thursday 17 June 2021

Introducing Henry! The Public Access Test!

We are certified!!!! The third day of our placement week began like every other day and when Patricia arrived at our place, she surprised us with the news that she thought we were ready to do our Public Access Test a day early. We passed with flying colours.

Every service dog, regardless of if they are a Guide Dog, Autism Assistance, seizure alert, diabetes dog and so on, must pass the public access test to be able to operate without a trainer present.
The test is mostly about how the dog behaves in public, but also about the handler being able to control the dog - how does the dog react walking past other dogs, being approached by strangers, how is the dog around children it doesn't know, walking past food on the ground and ignoring said food, can the handler give the dog directions while the dog is not being held on lead, does the dog follow those directions and many other elements.

If a potential assistance dog does not pass even one element of the public access test, then it must continue in training mode until the trainer and handler feel confident.

So our team, Team Henry, is now certified and able to operate on our own. This also means that Henry is able to go everywhere with us. The only places that Henry (and other assistance dogs) can't go is into a commercial kitchen and into sterile places like operating theatres.
One of our "strangers" to approach us during our public access test, was a colleague from my work and his client. While L wasn't keen to sit and talk, he started entering into sensory overload, Henry was amazing and did exactly what he's trained to do - a lap lay to calm L ❤❤

While on his under (laying under the table in the food court,) Henry fell asleep and didn't miss a beat when a toddler spotted him and started squealing in excitement, and then almost sat on him when she ran over to pat Henry.

The next step is to keep practicing all of Henry's skills and to train Daddy Superhero so that he too can be certified as a handler.

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