Public Access Test Checklist

Introduction – Basic Skills

This short test can be self-administered and will help you determine if your service dog and you are prepared for public locations. Place a check-mark in the empty boxes on the left if true:

1. My dog:
  • Is house trained;
  • Is friendly with other people;
  • Is friendly with other dogs;
  • Easily accepts reinforcement in new environments;
  • Easily responds to me in new environments.
2. My dog performs well the behavior listed below in at least two outdoor locations and the parking lot in the company of other people that are within a radius of 10 feet (~3 meters) of me:
  • Easily responds to my commands;
  • Eats treats delivered on the ground;
  • Moves to targets pointed by hand;
  • Recognizes their name;
  • Walks beside me in a calm fashion;
  • Accept treats and maintains calm behavior.
3. I am confident in my ability to:
  • Manage my dog’s interaction with other people;
  • Switch between walking, running, and stopping abruptly;
  • Help my dog when he/she is scared;
  • Reinforce wanted behavior;
  • Accepts treats and maintain calm behavior;
  • Read the body language of my dog and respond to stress cues;
  • Socialize my dog with people and other animals.

Are You Ready to Visit Local Businesses?

This part of the test is meant to be conducted during or after a visit to local business that you do not visit frequently. This short test will help you find out if your paw partner and you are ready for locations that typically allow only service dogs and dogs who are in training for assistance work.

Please put a check-mark next to “Yes” or “No” for the “yes/no” questions.

1. About the dog:
My dog is house trained. Yes No
My dog is friendly with people. Yes No
My dog is friendly with other dogs. Yes No
My dog is well-groomed. Yes No
My dog has passed training with a personal trainer / I conducted the training under the guidance of a professional trainer. Yes No
2. About the service dog handler:
I feel confident in my ability to reinforce wanted behavior. Yes No
I follow training plans for safe public access. Yes No
I can quickly switch between walking, running and stopping abruptly with my dog. Yes No
I understand my dog’s limitations, abilities and I adapt so we can have uninterrupted access to public spaces. Yes No
I understand the role of reinforcement tools like food and praises. Yes No
I can move the focus of my dog to me when necessary. Yes No
3. Final assessment:
My dog focused on me in the parking lot. Yes No
My dog responded to commands in the parking lot quickly. Yes No
My dog walked in a calm fashion in the parking lot while surrounded by people within 6 feet (~1.8 meters). Yes No
My dog walked in a calm fashion in the parking lot in the vicinity of other dogs (radius of 10 feet / ~3.5 meters) Yes No
Please put a check-mark next to the labels that have been explained below:

Always (my dog performs the behavior 99% of the time)

Mostly (my dog performs the behavior 75-99% of the time)

Sometimes (my dog performs the behavior 45-70% of the time)

Never (my dog performs the behavior rarely or never, less then 45% of the time during the training)

My dog remains in heel position during our travel. Always Mostly Sometimes Never
My dog responds to the “sit” command quickly. Always Mostly Sometimes Never
My dog responds positively to praise and rewards. Always Mostly Sometimes Never
My dog ignores other people. Always Mostly Sometimes Never
My dog displays calm, friendly and happy body language. Always Mostly Sometimes Never
My dog is attentive to my commands, and body language. Always Mostly Sometimes Never
My dog moves through a store ignoring merchandise. Always Mostly Sometimes Never

You need to mark “Yes”, “Always”, and “Mostly” if your dog shows excellent obedience and public manners. You need to have 80% of the questions listed above marked in blue and green. Please make sure to practice as much as needed to master public access manners. Do not rush your dog and practice your skills at familiar locations before moving to a new one for the best results and peace of mind. You are allowed to repeat the test as many times as needed.