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PADA Camp 2024


PADA Camp 2024


PADA is a personality assessment developed by Dyrebar Omsorg and ICofA, in collaboration with researchers in Hungary, including Ádám Miklósi, one of the leading experts in dog research.


PADA evaluates the innate personality of dogs. PADA is used by veterinarians, breeders, behavior consultants, rescue centers, and as a tool to assess suitability as a service dog.

Having an internationally quality-assured model for personality assessment of dogs is important to ensure animal welfare and expertise in tests across cultures and borders.


Christine Olsen puts it nicely:

"

Having an international network, a common agreement, a method, and a range of good people with knowledge and background in behavior, that's gold.

"




PADA Camp 2024

PADA camp in Greece in the summer of 2024 turned out to be very exciting, says ethologist Christine Olsen from Dyrebar Omsorg.


We had a chat with Christine to hear more!

  • This is the first time such a PADA camp is being held in Greece.

It was in the Netherlands last fall, and it was so successful that we wanted to have it once a year, says Olsen.

Kostas Kilias, who is part of the international therapy dog community and also runs a shelter, suggested that we could have it in Greece.

The choice fell on Loutraki, and it was Kostas Kilias who arranged all the practicalities: a place to stay with private apartments and space for the dogs. The camp lasted four days, from Monday to Thursday.

  • We met already the evening before. On Monday, we started with morning gatherings and training and testing of the dogs, explains Christine.

Kostas, who runs a shelter, was able to provide several dogs for suitability assessments.

Olsen is clear that it is necessary to have the background, knowledge, and education to see the behavior of the dogs and to be able to interpret it.



PADA Camp 2024


PADA Camp 2024

The PADA system used is objective and descriptive.


One looks for body language that can be subtle, but which can be assessed with the help of PADA. Is the dog social? Is it comfortable with people? Does it guard resources? How does the dog react after encountering an unfamiliar object or person?


These are things that are desirable to uncover during a test.

And it works, explains Olsen.


  • We tested a dog that showed signs of insecurity. Unfortunately, the dog bit someone at a later point. The signs that it might do so, we saw during the test, explains Christine.


One might think it matters if the dog has settled into a new home or formed a bond with the current owner before such a test. Christine says that is not the case.

  • One would think so, but we do not test the dog's relationship with the owner or how comfortable it has become. We test inherent traits, which are relatively stable throughout the life of an adult dog, the ethologist explains.


The goal of the PADA gathering was, of course, to get more certified teams.

It has been successful. Over time, the PADA method for testing potential therapy animals has spread to several countries.

  • We have received interest all the way from Brazil, says Christine, mentioning that 14 countries are now represented.

Regarding working across borders, she says:

  • People are so positive, so it is just fun to work with PADA.


It is a good tool for mapping dogs of different backgrounds and various breeds, as we had the opportunity to do in Greece. Much thanks to Kostas and the dogs he had access to.

Having an international network, a common agreement, a method, and a range of good people with knowledge and background in behavior, that is gold, says the ethologist.



PADA Camp 2024

Lars Kvanum PADA camp

Labrador owner Lars Kvanum also participated in the camp in Greece.

He had a great experience and learned a lot. It's always good to gain more experience with dogs!


- After completing the PADA training, we were invited to the camp in Greece. This was an exciting experience I couldn't say no to, even though I neither like the heat nor leaving my dogs.

The camp itself was held about an hour north of Athens, and our Greek companions had done an excellent job of providing us with good facilities, with a short distance to the beach for those who wanted after the testing sessions.


It was very exciting to meet PADA teams from other parts of Europe and also to experience the differences in dog behavior in another country. Many of the dogs we tested were rescues, meaning adopted dogs that had lived on the streets. Overall, it was a very exciting and educational camp, despite long, sweaty days of testing – and on top of that, a sore throat I was blessed with on day 2.

It made it much more interesting to try to explain to the handlers what they should do!


The impression that remains is of many great lectures, valuable practical experience, friendly people from all over Europe (even Ukraine!), and generally an exciting, pleasant, and educational experience.


It was so great to have Lars at the PADA camp. He is engaged, learns quickly, and absorbs new experiences wherever he can.



Suzan Vlaming clinidogs

I am Suzan Vlaming – Kikkert. Born in 1981 on a farm on the island of Texel in the Netherlands. At home we had all kinds of animals, but no dogs. To learn more about dogs, I decided in 2003 to start training as a Dog Behavior Therapist.  Soon I discovered that the dog's owner plays a major role in the dog's training. To learn more about this, I followed the training to become a HBO Psychologist( for humans). Since 2005 I have founded my own company Clinidogs. I provide regular dog training in small groups and often private sessions.


Yearly I follow (inter)national  courses to get more in-depth knowledge in working with animals in care and welfare. I have been involved in various training courses on therapy dogs in the Netherlands. The emphasis in my dogwork is on training emotional support dogs for people with, for example, PTSD, autism or an anxiety disorder.


Sometimes dogs live with us for a certain period of time (for example 9 months) (internal training) where I lay the foundation for their future 'job' as an emotional support dog.

I have been an Equine Assisted therapist since 2023. After a three-year training in coaching with horses, I can call myself a body-oriented therapist with horses. I also use this form of coaching and therapy with dogs.

I am a passionate and driven person. I love traveling and discovering the world with my husband and our two miniature american shepherds.

In 2021 I went to Poland with my college to get acquainted with PADA. I have been an evaluator in the Netherlands since 2022 and there are now several teams and evaluators in the Netherlands. Because I think you are never finished learning, I went to the PADA camp (2024) in Greece. It is great fun to be with these dog people. Because we are all there, wanting the same thing. More well-being in the AAS dog world. Observing the dogs in Greece, conducting the tests with various international people and then discussing what we have seen. That's what I like about the PADA camp. You always learn something. Colleagues you spend days with become friends. Help each other with the test, ask critical questions. And after 5 p.m. relax and enjoy a Greek drink in the evening. Whether you are a technician, leader or evaluator, you continue to learn.


I have great admiration for the Greek PADA team, Kostas, Kostantina and Asamina, who always ensured that everything was well organised. Every day they took care of new dogs, driving hours to pick them up in the area. I enjoyed Kostas's stories of experience and shed a tear myself, when he talks about how the dog is a wonderful catalyst for abused children who have to tell their story in court. And with the help of the dog, being able to regulate and give answers to important questions. Kostantina shows videos of her work with various children. And this is incredibly inspiring. And I hope that she will write a book or give a live lecture with her creative ideas for various groups.


Read more about PADA


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