Passing the Green Collar Assessment
Jan 27, 2023
As I write this, I am patting my newest pet, Mr Pancake, and admiring his fancy new green collar – he passed his assessment earlier today, and we adopted him on the spot as planned. He passed with flying colours, and I am oh so proud of my big boy! It occurred to me that not everyone will know exactly what goes on at an assessment, so I thought I would break it down for you.
When you first arrive at the assessment, you will be asked a few informal questions about what your foster has been exposed to – both at home and out in the world. They will ask what kind of animals he has encountered if he has met kids, and what environments he has visited (such as parks, the beach, and cafes). They will ask you if you have noticed any worrying behaviours, any fears, and if there is anything he particularly likes or dislikes. This allows the assessor to get to know the dog they are about to assess, and if you do not plan to adopt after the foster period, helps them fill out the paperwork for their adoption profile. Don’t stress too much about your answers, just be open and honest, as these details give a great indication to the assessor about what they are like in and around the home environment.
Your greyhound will be offered an unbelievably delicious bowl of food – something like nice-smelling meatballs, or a fritz, which is irresistible. The test here is that the hound is happy for you and the assessor to take that delicious thing away before he or she is finished. They will also try to pat your hound around the face and put their hand in the bowl while he eats. The assessor will look for any growling or defensiveness - this is called resource guarding. If your hound is happy (if frustratedly!) to let the food be taken, and does not mind being touched, he’s in the clear. If he is more like my fawn girl Bean, and is too nervous to eat in public, but shows no aggression, then that is also fine. Do not worry – your clever hound will get to eat those meatballs once he has proven himself!
Small Dog Test
GAP collaborates with several small dogs, owned by friends of the program. They volunteer their time on assessment days, bringing their friendly small dog in for your hound to interact with. The small dog will walk in on lead and approach the greyhound calmly. They will have plenty of opportunities to sniff each other and share space. The assessor is looking for any signs of aggression or excitement towards the small friends and they are checking to make sure they are safe if they meet small dogs on walks. If your greyhound has zero interest in the small dog or ignores them, this is also fine. A friendly hello or indifference is the best-case scenario!
The Rub Down
The final part of the Green Collar assessment is a good cuddle! The assessor will touch your hound all over ensuring that they are comfortable being handled. They will also lift him slightly and pat him firmly. The purpose of this is multifaceted – they are checking that your hound will be fine at the vet, getting touched in strange places for health, or movement of an animal in an emergency. Although greyhounds are always very friendly, sometimes they do not always want to interact with every person they meet, just as we do not as people. This just ensures that they can tolerate handling if required.
The Green Collar
That is, it, you did it! If the greyhound has happily passed all the above tests, then he has now qualified for his green collar. The assessor will have it there for you, and they will change the collar over right on the spot. You also get a green lead! Each green collar has a unique number on it, and you must keep this collar as it is evidence of their clearance. You will also get a paper form saying they have passed; the green collar is the indicator when in public that they are allowed to be unmuzzled – so make sure they have it on if out in public and unmuzzled. The green-collar assessment might seem daunting, but it is not that intense. If you do not happen to pass on your first attempt, that is okay! GAP will happily schedule a re-sit down the line, giving you some time to work on whatever the issue was with your greyhound at home. Good luck!
Author: Charlie Jayde
Greyhound Owner for 4 years / GAP Volunteer
Experienced Dog Trainer