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28 September 2009


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While I'm glad the marines are taking steps to base these very important decisions on more than just breed or type, I have to say I'm not a fan of the SAFER test. Specifically the part where a fake hand is used to assess resource aggression.

I'm absolutely certain that dogs know the difference between a real hand and a fake one - and many of them are more willing to bite a rubber hand than a real one.

IMO there are better ways to test for resource and touch-related aggression safely.


A hearty "HUAAHHH" for the USMC. Let this be contagious through out the DoD!



certainly the original version of that test was mainly used (or so it seemed) to decide what dogs to kill (OMG!!! food aggression in a hungry stray!!!!) , as opposed to assessing what training a dog needed. But I think the ASPCA guidelines are a little more humane.


Comment by EmilyS — September 29, 2009 @ 1:41 pm

The ASPCA does use the test as a guide, not a device to thin out the shelter population. I volunteered in the Behav dept a few yrs back and at the same time, at the city shelter. Talk about a night and day comparison as to how the test was used back then.


Here's an article I found outlining some of the various "temperament tests" being used by shelters and discussing the inherent quandaries in the overall topic:


Erich Riesenberg

What about this group? http://www.atts.org/testdesc.html

This is confusing. I would probably go with the tests used on the Vick dogs, that turned out well, didn't it?


First, can I have the pup in the pic?!

Second, what's with the 2012 date?

3rd, SO glad folks are starting to take individual dogs into consideration instead of "mass assumption".


Liz, what do you mean by "nothing is working"?

Liz Palika

Our dog training group, Kindred Spirits, is working with the Marines on Camp Pendleton. Unfortunately, this whole 'dog screening/testing thing' was put into place too quickly without enough research. They are using the SAFER program on Perris Island but are using the CGC elsewhere.

And nothing so far is working well! They need to step back and rethink this because right now the local shelters are over flowing!

Liz Palika

There is very poor communication between the powers that be and the Marines living in base housing, and the Marines are afraid they will lose that housing. So far too many dogs are being given up far too soon. The local shelters and rescue groups are over whelmed.

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