Scientific-based bahavioral test for AAI dogs

We are happy to introduce an effective animal-assisted intervention (AAI) dog testing system based on scientific research. The system allowes the selection of dogs based on the appropriateness of its psyche, physical condition and whether the dog is safe to work with.


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Personality Assessment for Dogs in Animal Assisted Intervention is a scientific-based method to asses dogs’ mentality. Tests and trials that are used were chosen to show personality traits that we seek in AAI working dogs: (lack of) fearfulness, sociability, responsiveness to training, (lack of) aggression, boldness and activity.

Before PADA, every  organization used different tests because there was no specific scientific research on all aspects of the behaviour related to AAI or guidelines produced by experts. From Animals for People Association (Poland), the International Center of Anthrozoology (Norway),  and Eötvös Loránd University(Hungary) in partnership created a standard. The listed organizations are among the most recognizable leaders in the field of therapeutic work and the knowledge of dog behaviour and cognition.

The test for dogs was published in 2020. Now the partnership is working also on PADA for cats, that will be published in 2023. 

About PADA team

Our research group standardized an evaluation protocol that looks at the individual dog’s personality and ability to be trained to work in AAI. Our research group members have various field experiences, which benefits the product’s quality. The collaboration was led by the Polish organization – Animals for People Association. Together with the Eötvös Loránd University team from Hungary and Dyrebar Omsorg from Norway, the partnership developed and validated the PADA protocol.

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How does the PADA work?

How does the PADA work?

During the behavioural test, the dog is introduced to different situations that allow measuring the suitability of their psyche, physical condition and safety of working with them. All phases measure different aspects of these details in situations relevant to a therapeutic context. 

Some previous studies on dog personality have similarities regarding the aim of these phases (e.g. measuring fearfulness). Considering the lack of such investigations in AAI context and the specificity of an AAI situation, these can serve as a guide but only as a guide to develop more relevant testing situations (so as in case of the evaluation/scoring of such observations). For instance, our protocol is similar in several items to the “dog mentality assessment” (DMA) procedure of Svartberg et al. (2002). The purpose of this study was to identify and investigate possible narrow and broad personality traits in dogs. The DMA test was developed by the Swedish Working Dog Association (SWDA; Falt, 1997) mainly as a tool for dog breeding of working dogs. The test is now used for other dogs as well, and in many breed clubs in Swedeni it is used as a general behavioural test to reveal dogs’ reactions to different stimuli. 

Both our test and the DMA exposes dogs to a number of different situations included meetings with strangers (social contact, greeting, handling), play tests, and several potential fear- and aggression evoking stimuli. At the same time, our procedure is specific for situations and circumstances that are relevant to therapeutic dogs.

Why Choose Us


Many countries use the same test!


It is working! We have tested the method.


You can support future research.


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