The field test organized by the association is meant for any practitioner and their dog wishing to become a certified Handler-Dog Team.
The purpose of the field test is to show the special benefit a dog can provide to the customer. The benefit has to be clearly visible in both the written plan and the actual field test.
What Happens During the Test?
The field test is primarily done in the practitioner’s own working environment. The judges will come observe a working situation which the practitioner has planned beforehand. The practitioner must obtain the necessary permits for conducting the field test in their workplace. The practitioner must always follow the code of conduct of their own organization.
There are at least two (2) judges present in the field test, one assessing the dog and the other assessing the handler. The field test lasts approximately 1-2 hours. The parameters of the test are agreed on beforehand with the Aptitude Test Administrator. It is important to take care of the necessary arrangements in good time: what will the working situation in the field test be like, who will the customers be and what is the time that suits the practitioner, their workplace, the customers and the judges.
Before the Field Test: The practitioner contacts the Aptitude Test Administrator who will send a written form to be filled in. The practitioner fills in their plan and sends it back to be approved by the Aptitude Test Administrator. After approval, the Aptitude Test Administrator sends further instructions on how to take the test, settles the time for the test and sends a health check form to be filled by the vet. A Handler-Dog Team can only be certified after the dog has gone through a health check.
The Finnish Association for Dog Assisted Intervention field test can only be taken by a member of the association who has passed the aptitude test and has participated in the in service training on AAI (10 study credits) organized in cooperation with JAMK University of Applied Sciences (previously in cooperation with Livia College). The field test should be taken within two years of passing the aptitude test.
The field test is made up of three parts: coordination between the handler and the dog in the workplace, the dog’s obedience, ie how well the handler can instruct their dog, and lastly a health check by the vet. The dog owner is responsible for the arrangements and costs of the health check. To be certified, the Handler-Dog Team must pass all three parts.
There are three different ways to take the field test: it can take place at the practitioner’s workplace, the test can be videoed or it can be done at the same time with the aptitude test.
Field Test at the Handler-Dog Team’s workplace
Two judges come observe the Handler-Dog Team’s work at their workplace. One of the judges will observe the dog while it is working and will pay attention to eg how well it performs in the tasks given to it and whether the dog seems to enjoy the work. The other judge observes the handler and their contact not only to the dog but also to the customer. Further instructions will be sent to the handler before the test.
The field test costs €250 and the Handler-Dog Team will receive a certificate and a work harness for the dog after passing the test.
Field Test on video
The field test can also be videoed. This form of taking the test must be discussed with the Aptitude Test Administrator beforehand. The judges have the right to disqualify video material and ask to observe the Handler-Dog Team at the workplace.
If the practitioner is granted the permission to video the field test, they should video two (2) working situations with customers from the moment the situation starts to the end. Each situation must be videoed as one, uncut and unedited piece. The videos must be at least 30 minutes each.
The video must portray the dog’s facial expressions as well as the cooperation between the handler, the dog and the customer. The video must also showcase what added value the dog brings to the practitioner’s work. Mere presence of the dog is not enough for the Handler-Dog Team to pass the field test.
After videoing the situation, the practitioner must write a self-assessment on the field test and how well they did in it.
The judges have two (2) months to assess the videoed field test. The videos are always assessed by at least two (2) judges. The practitioner will receive further instructions on how to video the field test by the Aptitude Test Administrator.
If the practitioner videos the field test, the obedience part will be taken separately eg at one of the aptitude tests organized by the association. This part is required to be certified.
field test on video costs €150.
Field Test at the Aptitude Test
If a practitioner works in a field where confidentiality obligation prohibits the judges from observing the situation at the workplace or the practitioner from videoing the customer, the practitioner may take the field test at one of the aptitude tests organized by the association. In such case, the practitioner plans a similar working situation for volunteer test subjects.
Taking the field test at an aptitude test must always be agreed on with the Aptitude Test Administrator no less than one month prior to the test.
The field test at an aptitude test costs €150.
The Obedience Part:
The second part of the field test is obedience in which the judges assess how well the handler instructs their dog and how well the dog responds to the handler’s instructions at the workplace. This part mainly assesses the contact and cooperation between the handler and the dog, how well the dog follows the general canine etiquette as well as safety matters. In some cases some of the obedience part can be replaced with an existing certificate for Service Dog training or Obedience Trial. The necessary documents must be shown at the field tests. The judges must be notified of the documents before signing up for the field test. The dog mustn’t, however, take part in Protection Training (IPO) or any other training in which the dog is trained to attack a human. This is against the association’s values and regulations.
How much does it cost?
These prices include the field test and the obedience:
field test at the practitioner’s workplace €250
field test on video €150 (NB: The judges have the right to disqualify video material and ask to observe the Handler-Dog Team at the workplace.)
field test at the aptitude test €150.
The practitioner will be sent a form for the written plan and veterinary health check before the field test.
NB! The veterinary health check is not included in the aforementioned prices.
Assessment and Retake of the Field Test
- Should a Handler-Dog Team fail the field test, the first retake is included in the price. The way the retake is done is determined on a case to case basis.
- The practitioner must make a new plan for the part the Handler-Dog Team didn’t pass in the field test.
- The judges must give at least spoken feedback on the field test. Should a Handler-Dog Team fail the test, the judges must give feedback on the part where the Handler-Dog Team has room for improvement to pass the test. The way this improvement is done is determined on a case to case basis.
What Happens After the Field Test?
After passing the field test, the Handler-Dog Team is a certified Team who has the right to wear the official work harness of The Finnish Association for Dog Assisted Intervention. The Handler-Dog Team will also receive a certificate on passing the field test.
It is recommended that the Handler-Dog Team acquire the association’s photo ID card which can be ordered at the association’s webshop.
How Do We Keep Track of the Work?
The judges may ask for video updates from certified Handler-Dog Teams to make sure their work at their respective workplaces is safe. These video requests are random and free of charge. The practitioner should note, however, that they are certified to work only in the field in which they did the field test. If the practitioner’s customer base changes for some reason, eg from children to the elderly, they must update their field test by sending a video. This update is free of charge.
Who are the Judges?
Our judges in the field test are professionals in the fields of education and healthcare as well as experts of animal behavior. There are at least two (2) judges present in the field test, one assessing the dog and the other assessing the handler. A unanimous decision is required for passing the aptitude test. Should there be a disagreement, the judges will consult the association’s board of judges.
The judge for The Finnish Association for Dog Assisted Intervention are Katriina Tiira (Ph.D, Researcher of Canine Behavior), Leena Rajala (Early Childhood Educator, Service Dog Trainer),Paula Leppänen (Physiotherapist), Päivi Latvala-Sillman (Special Needs Teacher), Miia Malmberg (Physiotherapist), Christina Borgström (Bachelor of Social Services, Vocational Educator, Agronomist), Reetta Räsänen (Service Dog Trainer, Agronomist) and Teija Viljanmaa (Animal Trainer, Vocational Educator) Maria Sihvola (Special Class Teacher)
Where can I sign up for the Field Test?
Sign up for the field test with the Nepton membership platform which you can find at https://www.jasentieto.fi/public/Login.aspx?sid=3305 . Sign up in the Nepton membership platform only after you have talked to the Aptitude Test Administrator.
If you are not planning to take the obedience part of the field test, you should sign up for it separately.
Further information: Should you have any further questions, you can contact our Aptitude Test Administrator Päivi Latvala-Sillman at koirakoevastaava@kasvatus-kuntoutuskoirat
Should you have problems using the Nepton membership platform, please contact the Treasurer
Eeva Kahilaniemi at firstname.lastname@example.org or +358 40 7378 028.