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Pre-Evaluation Safety S.C.A.N.

Sue Sternberg

Pre-Evaluation Safety S.C.A.N.

Evaluating the temperament of shelter dogs is a necessary but dangerous process. Hopefully, the dogs that are ready to be behaviorally evaluated will have been sheltered for at least two days, so that they have had some time to adjust to the environment and will have been handled for a physical exam and vaccinations.

Before beginning the temperament evaluating process, do a “Safety S.C.A.N.” Dogs with any S.C.A.N. behaviors should be handled with extreme caution, not tested until they have been sheltered longer with more time to adjust to their surroundings, and never evaluated without another tester present. These dogs should NOT yet be up for adoption.

S.C.A.N. stands for:

S -sexually mature
Dogs who are sexually mature (1.5 years or older,and the older the more potentially dangerous) are more capable of intense or sever aggression, and more likely to have bitten in the past and to be quite good at biting.In tact and sexually mature dogs need to be handled with more caution than juvenile and/or neutered dogs.

C =Cautious
Dogs who remain uncomfortable with either the tester or their environment, even after a few minutes of initial contact, observation in the kennels or while leashed, should not be tested at this time. The dog should be able to form some bond,start to show some trust in the tester, even after a few minutes.

A =Aroused
Dogs who are in a constant state of agitation,arousal or who appear “hyper”, unfocused, reactive should be handled with extreme caution. Be especially mindful of not confronting these dogs in any way, not “correcting” or punishing them, as this may trigger aggression. Signs of stress may or may not be evident: dilated pupils, wide open mouth panting, veins prominent on face, etc.

N =No Signs of Friendliness
Dog lacks overt signs of friendliness. Observe the dog and ask what normal, friendly dog behaviors is the dog NOT showing? The behaviors a dog is missing is often as significant as the behaviors he is exhibiting.

Courtesy of

Rondout Valley Kennels, Inc.

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