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Safe dog photo #1What is the Safe Dog Program
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The Safe Dog Program is comprised of two levels. Basic Level I is a test of a dogs socialization and basic obedience training along with certification of the dog owners knowledge of basic canine psychology and the elements of responsible canine ownership. Advanced Level II consists of the first two elements stated above plus a temperament evaluation by a canine behaviorist or trainer. After successful completion of the testing, a dog can apply to the American Dog Breeders Association for the award of Safe Dog Certified Basic Level I (SDC) or Safe Dog Certified Advanced Level II. (SDC II)

What dogs are qualified to be tested in the Safe Dog Program?

An owner or trainer can enter any purebred or mixed breed dog one year of age or older.   No bitches in heat on the day of the exam will be admitted for testing.

What equipment must I provide for my dog to be tested?

  1. A choke collar, flat buckle collar or secure harness can be used for the obedience portion of the exam.
  2. Both a choke collar and flat buckle collar are recommended for the temperament evaluation.
  3. The dog owner should come equipped with a six foot leash. No retractable or quick release buckles allowed.
  4. Dog Brush

What can I do to prepare my dog for testing?

1.      Early socialization of your puppy to your household, neighborhood and friendly strangers in a positive and nurturing manner.
2.      Proficiency of basic obedience skills of sit, down, come and stay
3.      Owner must demonstrate that they can be in control of the dog in situations with friendly strangers, grooming and distractions.

What is the entry fee?

1.      $20.00 payable to the ADBA Safe Dog Program tester for the Basic Level I test or
2.      $25.00 payable to the ADBA Safe Dog Program tester for the Advanced Level II test.
3.      If a dog has already passed the SDP Basic Level I test at an earlier time and wishes to complete the Temperament testing as part of the SDP Advanced Level II test the fee will be $10.00.

4.      If the Safe Dog Program is held by an ADBA sanctioned club or dog group, a surcharge may be assessed to cover expenses of the venue, advertising etc. and will be advertised prior to the test date.

Locate a Safe Dog Tester

Prepare for the Safe Dog Program

Become a Safe Dog Tester

As APBT fanciers who assume the duty to safeguard and protect the breed and encourage responsible ownership and breeding of all breeds, we recommend every dog placed by a breeder should be provided with information about the Safe Dog Program and the importance of early socialization and training. The expectation should be made that by the time that the dog is 18 months of age, that dog should obtain certification in the Safe Dog Program Level I. This not only certifies that the dog has received adequate socialization and basic obedience training but also the owner has received education regarding dog psychology and responsible ownership.

We also encourage all potential brood stock to obtain certification in the Safe Dog Program Level II. It is never advisable to use a dog with an unsound temperament in a breeding program, as temperament can be genetically passed to a dog’s offspring.

Safe Dog Program Level #1

Part A: Behavior and Training Test

The Behavior and training test will consist of nine subsets or exercises to evaluate the dog’s behavior, showing respect for his handler as pack leader, steadiness and the handler’s ability to control his dog.

Sub-test #1 thru #3 deals with the dog’s tolerance of interaction with a neutral and friendly         stranger (handler present).

Sub-test #4 thru #6 tests for simple obedience training

Sub-test #7 thru #9 tests for a handler’s ability to control the dog experiencing distractions within the test area

The handler may use mild corrections, praise or encouragement during the test, but no treats or props may be used. Sub-tests are scored pass/fail. Dogs must pass all sub-tests to pass this part of the test. If a dog fails any sub-test of Part #1, the handler can elect to have his dog retested completing the entire Behavior and Training test again.

Part B: Responsible Ownership

The owners and or handlers of the dogs participating in the Safe Dog Program will be given a short presentation or the opportunity to view a short video on Basic Canine Psychology and Responsible Ownership. A written outline will accompany this instruction. After review and time to answer any questions, a true/false, multiple choice exam will be given to participants. We trust that everyone will be achieving a 100% score on this exam after participating in this section of the Safe Dog Program.

Safe Dog Program Level #2

Part A: Temperament Evaluation

The temperament portion of the test will be conducted by an ADBA certified tester/trainer that has the energy, knowledge and experience as a canine behaviorist/trainer. The dog’s responses to the energy of the tester will enable an assessment of the dog’s character, aggression level, intensity, stress level, socialization, recovery time and temperament as being sound or unsound. This portion of the test will be done in an isolated area without the owner of the dog present, so as to be able to determine the inborn temperament of the animal. The temperament evaluation is not done as a means of training or socialization. The tester is attempting to determine the dogs hard wiring of his brain and nervous system, by watching his response as the tester moves through the dog’s no threat zone, to his threat zone, then to his dominating zone with suspicious then threatening energy. The instant the dog backs down, (evident by backing up, lying down or trying to flee); the tester will change his energy from threatening to NO threat. The response of the dog with a sound temperament will be a change in its behavior to approach or accept the tester within a short period of time. This is known as recovery time. It is this recovery time that helps the tester evaluate the dog’s character, stress level (the level of stress that the dog can tolerate before the dog breaks down) and socialization. A dog that fails to recover, or has a prolonged recovery time would be determined to be unsound in temperament.

The temperament evaluation enables the tester to determine the dog’s ability to evaluate energy in his environment and respond appropriately. As one breeder coined it, “a dog with a good temperament has the natural intelligence to know friend from foe.”

If a dog’s temperament is determined to be unsound by the tester at this evaluation, the dog should wait five months before retesting. It would be advisable to contact a canine behaviorist/trainer to structure a program to assist the dog and owner in possible rehabilitation or progression. It is important to understand that a dog is born with its temperament. It is not possible to change temperament. In some instances management of an unsound dog is possible with the right circumstances and willingness of the owner. It is never advisable to use a dog with an unsound temperament in a breeding program, as temperament can be genetically passed to a dog’s offspring.

Part B: Behavior and Training Test

The Behavior and training test will consist of nine subsets or exercises to evaluate the dog’s behavior, showing respect for his handler as pack leader, steadiness and the handler’s ability to control his dog.

Sub-test #1 thru #3 deals with the dog’s tolerance of interaction with a neutral and friendly stranger (handler present).

Sub-test #4 thru #6 tests for simple obedience training.

Sub-test #7 thru #9 tests for a handler’s ability to control the dog experiencing distractions            within the test area.

The handler may provide calm corrections during the test, but no treats or props may be used. Sub-tests are scored pass/fail. Dogs must pass all sub-tests to pass this part of the test. If a dog fails more than one sub-test of Part B, the handler can elect to have his dog retested, at a later time after more training and socialization. The $20.00 registration fee will have to be paid again and the dog must complete all nine sub-tests of the Behavior and Training test. For a dog that fails to complete only one sub-test, the tester, at his discretion and if time permits, may choose to allow the dog to retake the one sub-test that he did not pass at the end of the day’s testing. It will not be required to complete the temperament evaluation if the dog successfully passed it the first time.

Part C: Responsible Ownership

The owners and or handlers of the dogs participating in the Safe Dog Program will be given a short presentation or the opportunity to view a short video on Basic Canine Psychology and Responsible Ownership. A written outline will accompany this instruction. After review and time to answer any questions, a true/false, multiple choice exam, will be given. We trust that after participation in this section of the Safe Dog Program all participants will achieve a 100% score on this exam. The responsible ownership portion of the program can be presented to participants by a club officer or member while the trainer is conducting the Level II Part A, Temperament evaluation.

Recognized Safe Dogs

The first Safe Dog Program was held in SLC , UT by Ian Alldredge Animal behaviorist/SD tester/trainer .   SDCII was completed by “Ch”A/AI Arson Wheeler” owner: Scotty Wheeler , Greenwood’s “Ch” Tom Boy” owner: Hank Greenwood , Devora/Caragan’s “Hitman”   owner : Cheryl Carrigan & Devora Antisdel and Cowboy’s “Ch Like A Diamond owner: Kent Bennion

Ian Alldredge Safe Dog Tester/Trainer of UT held a Safe Dog Program at the Salt Lake Terrier Assoc. show in Utah on September 22, 2013. The Safe Dog Level II Certification was completed by (Pictured Left to Right) Wickham’s “CH” Someday Punch” with Jodie Hanger owned by Brad Wickham, Against The Wind’s “U Gotta B Jokin” and Joy’s “Ch”Ace” Dancing With Danger” with Joy Johnston of Against The Wind Kennels and  Greenwood’s “York” owned by Andrew Greenwood.  Raw Power’s “Dom” an ADBA Registered American Bulldog with Ron Wolfe of Raw Power Kennels and Jensen’s “Super Sugar Bear” with owner Darren Jensen both passed the Temperament Test only.

Lisa Berry / SD tester of NM held a Safe Dog Program at the Heart of Texas/ Texas Black Gold show April 2, 2011. SDC I was completed by Jackson’s “Akasha” owner Aaron JacksonMatrix’ “Digital Rain” owner: Matrix Knl , “Troy Vaughan” owner Billy Vaughan,   Laughter’s “Outlaw Jesse James” owner: Chad Laughter“Boo Vaughan” owner: Billy Vaughan .

Joe Burford  / SD tester of UT held a Safe Dog Program at the Snake River Bulldog Show in Idaho May 18, 2012, the Safe Dog Certification was completed by; Joy’s “Ch”Ace” Miss Dolly” owned by Against The Wind Kennels, Against The Wind’s “U Gotta B Jokin” owned by Against The Wind Kennels, Joy’s “Tiny Twister” owned by Against The Wind Kennels and Joy’s “Ch”Ace” Dancing With Danger” owned by Against The Wind Kennels.

Valentina Foster Safe Dog Tester/Trainer, held a Safe Dog Program at the Golden State/Southen California show on November 30, 2013.
The Safe Dog Level I Certification was completed by Berry’s “Venom” Owned by Lisa Berry, “Makinen Sasaki Gushi” Owned by Kassandra Sasaki, Snyder’s “Ko Wes Of Truong” Owned by Hai Truong and Leri Hanson, and Waters’ “Barbie” Owned by Jeoffrey Lim, Munoz’ “Maya” Owned by Gabriel Sicairos-Lopez,  Johnson’s “Lovely Lucy Far” Owned by Andrea Johnson,  The Safe Dog Level II Certification was completed by Berry’s “Sparticus” Owned by Doug Heiser.

Okye Laster / SD tester of VA Held a Safe Dog Program at the Tri State NJ show April 16 & 17, SDC I was completed by J.D.’s “Envious Red Phenom” owner: Jerelle DouglasT’s “Patch O Built M2B Invincibl” owner: Therese Weiner.

Joanie Winchester / SD tester of FL Held a Safe Dog Program at the Mid-Florida/Sunshine State show Nov 26th, the SDC I was completed by Hutches’ “Ch” Maverick” Owned By Lisa Hutches, Malott’s “Lucy Loo” Owned By Debra A. Malott, Jackson’s “Medwin Jaeger Von Deuce” Owned By Carla Ann Thomas, Thomas’ “Mak’n You Green With Envy” Owned By Carla Ann Thomas.

Leri Hanson/ SD tester of CA Held a Safe Dog Program at the Golden State and Southern California show November 26th, the SDC I was completed by Wickham’s “Ch” Someday Punch” Owned By Brad Wickham, Brandi’s “Blue Dually” Owned By Brandi Hoffman, Caragan Steel’s “Buck Wild” Owned By Thomas Mallet, Norrod’s “Iron Otis” Owned By Graham Mc Namee, Caragan’s “Ch” Beretta” Owned By Yvonne Chohan

Lisa Berry Safe Dog Tester/Trainer, held a Safe Dog Program at the Beaver State APBTC Oregon show on September 13, 2014.  The Safe Dog Level I Certification was completed by (Pictured Left to right) Caragan Steel’s “CH” Dyno” Owned by Caragan Steel APBT’S. Caragan Steel’s “Princess” With Audree Waters Owned by Tony Waters and Caragan Steel’s “Magic” Owned by Augustine Gonzales.

Khalvin Kuczynski Safe Dog Tester/Trainer of Georgia Tested Montgomery’s “Louie”  on June 23, 2014. Louie passed the Safe Dog Level 1 Certification.

On April 27 2014 Gabe Reinlieb Safe Dog Tester of Georgia tested Miller’s “Riddick” Owned by Jeremiah Adriano. Riddick completed the Safe Dog Level I Certification.

Leri Hanson Safe Dog Tester of CA Held a Safe dog program at the Golden State/Southern Cal APBTC (CA) Show on November 26 2016. The SDC I was completed by C.’S “Smalltown Hbic” and C.M.’S “Smalltown Ladies Love” Owned by Crystal Muller. The SDC I was also completed by X Dreams “CH” King” owned by X Dream Kennels

This is a Great program that really helps dog owners to understand basic canine psychology. Once you understand this, it makes training your dog and establishing the proper leadership for your dog that much easier. I recommend it for every dog owner.” …..Renee Greenwood