PADA general information


Scientific based, international protocol to assess dogs mentality for AAI purpose. 

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What is it ?

We are happy to introduce an effective animal-assisted intervention (AAI) dog testing system based on scientific research. The system allows the selection of dogs based on the appropriateness of its psyche, physical condition and whether the dog is safe to work with. PADA was developed by a group of international experts from Norway, Poland and Hungary. 

Dogs personality

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.

Finding the answers…

The problem of selecting dogs for work is raised multiple times at conferences and workshops in the AAI milieu. International guidelines contain only general statements about “suitable psyche”, “good physical condition”, and “attitude towards contact with people”. If and how these traits should be checked, is up to the specific organizations to decide. 

PADA as a firs step

PADA measures whether dogs are suitable, regarding their personality, to become therapy dogs; however, this is only a pre-selection test, meaning that dogs passing PADA need more training to learn skills needed in AAI. PADA is the first, necessary step for every dog before it start working. After thorough training, the AAI-team must also pass a practical exam related to which clients the team shall work with. 

PADA team

Meet our team of experts who were involved in the research in the PADA project. With the huge, varied experience and different scientific backgrounds, our team developed a useful, efficient tool to test dogs’ personality for AAI.

Director of the Family Dog Project, Eötvös Loránd University. Head of Ethology, Eötvös Loránd University. Dr. Miklósi founded the Family Dog Research Project in 1994. As the first research group to study the behavioral and cognitive aspects of the dog-human relationship, the Family Dog Project is one of the largest dog research groups in the world with over 75 published papers in peer-reviewed journals, and it is widely viewed as the formative research center for dog cognition. Dr. Miklósi’s research interests span behavioral lateralization, animal learning and communication, and genetic determinants of behavior.

Ádám Miklósi
President of Animals for People Association. Graduate of Warsaw University, specialization in social policy and pedagogy care and upbringing with educational therapy. Educationist, sensory integration therapist, Animal Assisted Therapy instructor since 2005. Since 2017 licensed evaluator of Human-Dog teams in Pet Partners Organization (USA). Experienced therapist and educator in AAI with children. Since 2016 co-author of the dog-assisted therapy program for Alzheimer patients. Trainer in AAI courses for proffesionals. Co-author of international AAI handbooks.
Magdalena Nawarecka – Piątek
Magdalena Nawarecka
Andrea is an assistant research fellow at the Department of Ethology at the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary. She has a degree in biology from the University of Pécs, my PhD is in progress at the Department of Ethology. In her PhD research she was focusing on the effects of the positive-human animal interaction. Took part in the PADA project and in the Genius Word Learning Dog Project.

Andrea Temesi
Co-funder of International Center of Anthrozoology, dr Christine Olsen has a master degree in ethology, higher education in special needs education and rehabilitation, and a PhD in public health focusing on animal-assisted interventions. Her research is frequently cited and is rated in the top 10% of all research outputs ever tracked by Almetric. Dr. Olsen is also a dog behaviorist and dog trainer, and screens dogs personality around the Europe. She travels with her lectures about AAI, dog mental test and animal welfare as a speaker on international conferences.
Christine Olsen
Christine Olsen
Line Sandstedt is managing director of the Norwegian Centre of Anthrozoology. She is a lector in science and a postgraduate in special needs education and coaching. Sandstedt is also a dog behaviourist and dog trainer, and screen dogs personality for AAI. Sandstedt gives courses in dog training both nationally and internationally. She is responsible for all of the education given by Dyrebar Omsorg, both dog training and training of human-animal teams. Line has worked for the organization since 2006.
Line Sandstedt
Line Sandstedt
Judit Abdai has a PhD in ethology and is currently a research fellow at the MTA-ELTE Comparative Ethology Research Group in Hungary. Her main research area is animal-robot interaction, and I mostly work with dogs and lately cats. Within animal-robot interaction, she investigates different phenomena, including the perception of inanimate objects as animate, problem solving and jealous behaviour.

Judit Abdai

Learn more about PADA!

Use our free materials to learn more about the method and protocol. 

Listen to experts

Watch the recording of the online PADA conference!