The Guide Dog Behavioral Response Assessment Test (GDBART)
The GDBART is a short (10-15 minute) test that is completed in a room. The room is set up in a particular way so that the dog will have exposure to various stimuli such as a vacuum cleaner, fan, loud noises and novel objects such as animated soft toys. Following a set protocol the dog being tested is allowed a time to explore the room freely and then guided through exposure to these stimuli in a set order and time schedule. By doing this each dog is tested in exactly the same manner. As many schools apply this test in exactly the same way and by using the BCL definitions carefully, the data gathered can form the basis for comparing colonies and individuals within colonies in a meaningful way.
How the GDBART helps:
- Common testing protocols provides data that can be shared between schools and breeding programs.
- Reduces the influence that changing weather or environmental conditions could have when testing a dog in a dynamic environment.
- Provides a fixed environment for all dogs being tested wherever that may be in the world.
When to use the GDBART:
- The GDBART is best used at the point an adult dog enters training.
- Under most circumstances the test should only be completed once. Repeating the test allows the dog to become more familiar with the test environment and will alter the results.
How to use the GDBART:
- Obtain the materials listed in the equipment list.
- Set out the room according to the diagram and pictures.
- Rehearse the timing of the test following the test protocols.
- Follow the test protocol as precisely as you can.
- Determine who will complete the BCL. In general it is best to have fewer people scoring. Each scorer should have completed training and demonstrated that their scores are consistent with other scorers both within your school and outside.