The SAFER® Assessment requires that the assessment teams performing canine assessments possess certain dog-savvy skills. These skills are necessary for the safety of dogs and humans and for reliably predictive assessments of future aggression.
Requirements for Assessment Teams
A SAFER assessment team consists of one assessor, who performs the assessment items with the dog, and one observer who observes, records notes, and assists the assessor (among other tasks). Learn more about the role of the observer. These individuals need to have the following skills:
Consistency Among Assessments
It is important that both members of the assessment team learn to remain objective and to accurately report the behavior they observe during the assessment. Dogs should respond the same way when an assessment is repeated even if a different trained assessor conducts the second assessment or if the second assessment occurs in a different environment (such as after a transfer to another shelter).
The learning experience of participating in a workshop or working through the SAFER guide and the 60-minute instructional DVD can assist in skill development for conducting assessments and scoring. In addition, obtaining SAFER certification ensures that you are conducting and scoring assessment items correctly. This in turn helps ensure that you are using SAFER scores appropriately to make sound decisions about the dogs you assess.
Print out these body posture posters (.pdf) and hang them in your assessment room to help boost consistency among assessors. Some shelters have enlarged and laminated the posters.
Equipment and Assessment Space
The equipment and facility space required for SAFER are not substantial or very expensive. However, they are required for valid and safe assessments. Download this list of equipment and facility requirements (.pdf).
The following brief video provides more information about the SAFER skill set and what is needed to set up and maintain an assessment room.