To be advised...
How can I become a TOP Dogs handler and dog team?
1. Own a well behaved, people/animal friendly dog (handling an existing assessed TOP Dog is sometimes an option if you don’t own a suitable dog, but an evaluation as a handler is still necessary)
2. Book a place on the next TOP Dogs evaluation
3. Complete a questionnaire
4. Attend three visits as an observer
After the Evaluation - What next?
5. Complete the three unaccompanied visits, if not already done so.
6. The dog must be seen by a Veterinarian to check for good health, and the absence of internal and external parasites (including a negative faecal flotation test). The appropriate form to be completed by the Vet.
7. Vaccinations, internal and external parasite treatments, must be current.
8. The Procedures and Disciplines, and membership forms to be completed, signed and returned, along with the payment of the relevant fees, which includes Public Liability Insurance in the name of TOP Dogs.
9. Obtain a TOP Dogs temporary certificate and probationary visit form, from your team leader.
10. The dog is then ready to start his/her 6 probationary visits, which have to be completed successfully. (Should the dog be found to be unsuitable, for any reason, the membership fee is non-refundable, but the handler will remain a ‘Friend’ of TOP Dogs for the remainder of the year).
11. Some visits are not suitable for dogs on probation - your team leader will advise.
12. On successful completion of the 6 probationary visits the dog will be issued with a TOP Dogs certificate for the current year, and his/her uniform can be obtained.
13. The handler will also be expected to obtain a uniform and badge.
You are now ready to become a fully fledged member of the team, and ‘Spread Smiles for Miles’ in the name of TOP Dogs.
Who owns the dog?
They are usually owned by the person handling the dog, occasionally they’re owed by one of the other handlers, but they are always family pets.
Are dogs clean enough to visit hospitals etc?
TOP Dogs have to adhere to a strict health and hygiene code. They:
• Undergo a health check along with their vaccinations annually
• Have internal parasite eradication - 3 monthly
• Have external parasite eradication - monthly
• Are bathed groomed, teeth cleaned, nails files and sprayed with anti-bacterial spray prior to a visit.
• They are also covered by Public Liability Insurance in the name of TOP Dogs
Will they bite?
TOP Dogs are chosen for their friendly nature towards animals as well as people. They then undergo a rigorous evaluation, to make sure they’re suitable and finally they complete a probationary period.
Do they have to be pedigree dogs?
No we have all shapes, sizes and types of dogs, but a sound temperament is of paramount importance.
If my dog fails the evaluation is that the end of him being a Therapy Dog?
Not necessarily. Our evaluator is an Accredited Animal Behaviourist, and can often help with issues your dog may have. Once these issues are resolved he can be re-tested.
If I don’t have a suitable dog, but still want to be a handler, is there anything I can do?
It could be possible for you to handle one of our already assessed dogs, but you’d still have to pass an evaluation as a handler.
What if I’m not interested in being a handler, can I still be a member of TOP Dogs?
YES, of course. You’d be most welcome as a ‘Friend’ of TOP Dogs.
There are many ways you can be involved with the organising, running and fundraising for TOP Dogs.
- To book email email@example.com
- For a copy of the Evaluation Programme please click here
- Handlers to please complete a Handlers Application form - please click here