ASPCA’s Safety Assessment for Evaluating Rehoming (SAFER®) is a six-step aggression assessment test utilized by Animal Humane to evaluate the behavioral health of dogs entering our campus. All dogs six-months and older receive this basic testing. It is one tool, along with relinquishment surveys, veterinary examinations, and observations from our team and volunteers that helps to determine adoptability.

SAFER® was developed by Dr. Emily Weiss originally for the Kansas Humane Society of Wichita. Dr. Weiss’ research focused specifically on developing a set of assessment items that would better predict service dog potential in dogs selected from shelters. The SAFER® assessment identifies dogs’ comfort level with restraint and touch, reaction to new experiences including movement and sound stimuli, bite inhibition, behavior around food and toys and arousal level toward other dogs.

Shelters that employ SAFER® or other research-based behavior assessments report fewer aggression complaints, more adoptions and better interactions with the public.