BARK is mainly a reading dog program but we can visit nursing homes, hospitals, colleges, and other facilities.
Dogs must be a minimum of 1-1/2 years of age and have a stable, friendly temperament. Each dog must have lived with the handler for at least six months. Handlers must be at least 18 years of age. A dog can be certified with more than one handler, but each handler must evaluate with each dog as a team.
BARK dogs must really enjoy people, especially kids, and love being touched by many kids at once - sometimes not so gently. Handlers must be in control of their dogs at all times: no pulling or jumping.
All dogs must be tested with a buckle or quick release flat collar - no training, choke, pinch, harness, martingale, or nose collars (halti/gentle leader). Children can be apprehensive upon first meeting a dog and any equipment other than a flat collar can cause concern on the child's/parents' part. We need to have control of our dogs with a regular flat collar.
For a BARK application, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or Josie at (562) 235-8835.
Meet the evaluator without jumping or barking
Sit politely for petting
Ears and feet touched/fur brushed
Walking by your side with a slack leash - not pulling
Walking through a crowd
Sit, stay, down, come
Stay at end of 20' leash
Come with handler 10' away
Greet another dog team without the dogs meeting - dogs need to stay at handler's side
Reaction to distraction (keys in metal bowl); dog can be interested, but not stressed
Reaction to medical equipment (wheelchair, walker, crutches)
Reaction to children running by; dog can be interested, but not lunge or try to chase
Leave it (walk within 2' of toy or treat) without excessive interest
Crowd hovering over dog with touching and high-pitched voices
Settle within two minutes
Stay with another handler for three minutes without concern
Additional tests may be added.
Paperwork must be submitted within six weeks. Each BARK team must complete three supervised library/community events within the first three months after their paperwork is submitted. BARK will provide all supplies and try to find a school, library, community location for each team. Each BARK team must visit a location/event at least once every other month.