Dog Behavior Assessment Checklist

While we don’t usually use the BARC (Behavior and Reactivity Checklist) because we use our own version of the dog behavior assessment checklist.

People sometimes ask about the Behavior and Reactivity Checklist, so here is a simplified version (not in a PDF, and not an online test). For the non-simplified version, go here.

BARC checklist

Kennel Approach

  • Approach kennel.
  • Wait and observe.
  • Open the gate.
  • Turn sideways and crouch.
  • Talk to the dog in a calm voice.
  • Observe the dog’s behaviors.

Friendly, fearful, or aggressive? ________


  • Use a toy or ball with a rope attached to one end.
  • Once the dog is engaged, attempt to remove the toy by use of the rope.
  • Offer the dog a treat in exchange for the toy.

Friendly, fearful, or aggressive? ________

Touch / Handling

  • Gently touch head & body.
  • Touch backside & underneath dog – front and back.
  • Apply slight pressure to the shoulders, back & hips.
  • Stroke tail and hold for a brief moment.
  • Rub ears & cover one eye.
  • Approach the dog from the rear.

Friendly, fearful, or aggressive? ________


  • Offer the dog a treat (3-­6” jerky strip), and allow the dog to take it.
  • Offer another treat, as the dog begins to bite, gently remove/pull back the treat.
  • Drop a treat on the ground, when the dog sees it cover it with your foot.
  • When the dog is eating the treat, begin some mild general handling.

Friendly, fearful, or aggressive? ________


  • Walk dog near other people and distractions.
  • Let the dog sniff or become interested in something for a few
  • Then give a slight tug on the leash and a verbal re-­‐direction. (This is not a correction for doing anything wrong. We are only looking for the dog's reaction to the pressure on the leash.)

Friendly, fearful, or aggressive? ________


  • Push down on a dog’s shoulders using hands and/or forearm.
  • Maintain pressure for a moment.

Friendly, fearful, or aggressive? ________

Dog to Dog Intro

  • Start test through a fence or at a distance.
  • Walk dog being tested by a neutral dog a few times (giving
    praise/reward for good behavior).
  • Then allow the dog to go and greet the other dog. Keep the leash loose.
  • Allow sniffing for 3-­‐4 seconds.
  • Then separate and re-­‐introduce.

Friendly, fearful, or aggressive? ________

Dog to Dog Food Issues

  • Introduce another dog into the immediate (but not reachable) vicinity of the test dog.
  • Offer the other dog a treat while ignoring the test dog.
  • Bring the dogs close together.
  • Drop treats for one dog and some for the other dog.

Friendly, fearful, or aggressive? ________

Overall Behavior

  • General overall observations.
  • This is a general picture of your experience with the dog during your entire interaction with them

Friendly, fearful, or aggressive? ________