There is a demand for the professional therapists and educators supported by dogs services on the European market and it is still increasing. Because there is a lack of uniform standards for AAI in partner countries, potential employers have a problem with the verification of candidates and often employ unqualified persons. In addition, there are significant differences in standards between countries. Standards in the field of animal-assisted therapy meanwhile, are crucial for the effectiveness and safety of activities. It is in the interests of people with disabilities and other groups of clients that use this type of service are to standardize certification and to set minimum standards that every human-dog team should fulfil. The aim of our partnership is to increase the level of quality of the AAI sector in affiliate countries.
Law in European countries doesn’t support the needs of AAI market – there are no regulations that make this field predictable, and the procedures safe and plain. In western countries, there is more “labour culture” that forces handlers to certify themselves and their dogs, but in Poland and Estonia, there is still a lack of this kind of good practices. Even in Norway and the Netherlands, there are teams that are working without certification and any control of dogs and handlers education and predispositions.
Recommended, and common for countries, the path of certification for teams would be a great convenience not only for facilities and clients but also for handlers. In today’s mess, it is very complicated to find a valuable course. There are plenty of certifying organisations, and the handler needs to decide by himself which one is worth trusting and paying money. International standard, that organizations can follow would be a great advantage. It will help handlers to choose good quality course and clients to employ well educated AAI team.