Cognitive dysfunction? Help for older dogs
February 21, 2017
Do I believe in clickers?
February 21, 2017

Could you recognize your dog’s CARAT graphical profile?

CARAT is a behavior assessment tool Suzanne Clothier developed back in 2008. Put to work on behalf of one of the world’s largest guide schools, Guiding Eyes for the Blind, CARAT and the Clothier puppy & adult tests developed to be scored with CARAT quickly proved their value in a number of ways:

  • Finely grained assessment of individual dogs
  • Identification of ideal profiles for guide work
  • Identification of profiles best suited to non-guide work
  • Predictive assessment of potential guides (unpublished data shows the Clothier Adult/IFT test to be 87.4% predictive of success as a guide; the Clothier Puppy Test longitudinal data showed a CARAT profile at 8 weeks of age to be 75% predictive of success as a guide by 2 years of age)
  • Indication that phenotype may reflect genotype
  • Some CARAT traits have strong inherit-ability and should actively be selected for

CARAT is now being used by Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation in CT, as well as numerous service dog organizations and professional trainers/behaviorists in the US, Canada, Italy, Holland and Belgium.

As CARAT grows, we continue to develop the program. In progress is our online CARAT training course. We have also developed a CARAT graphical profile tool. For those who know CARAT, these graphic representations of an individual dog are instantly informative. Here are four sample CARAT profile graphics. One is a proven Search & Rescue dog, one is a very successful guide dog stud, one is a pet with some serious behavior issues (has bitten), and one is a competitive agility dog who has confidence and sound sensitivity issues. Can you tell which one is which?

DOG #1

DOG #2

DOG #3

DOG #4

CARAT is a powerful tool that will change forever how you see dogs. And how you see a dog automatically changes what you will do for and with that dog.


  • understand the specifics of each individual in your breeding program
  • learn how the profile matches (or doesn’t) your breeding goals
  • select appropriate animals and/or breeding for your program

Service dog organization

  • identify the best candidates for the task
  • save resources by career changing unsuitable dogs as soon as possible
  • improve outcomes through knowledgeable selection of breeding stock and breedings
  • tailor training to suit the individual dog for greatest success


  • know the profile that suits your goals & needs
  • avoid selecting the wrong puppy or dog for you
  • make appropriate choices for your individual dog in training, lifestyle & handling


  • understand each dog as an individual
  • identify specific training/handling needs to maximize success & minimize stress for each dog
  • make the best placements possible

Trainers/behavior counselors

  • understand the individual dog and how his unique blend of traits informs his behavior, responses and potential
  • select training approaches and equipment best suited to that individual dog
  • create effective training programs tailored to the individual dog
  • help owners understand their dog as an individual
  • assess handler/dog dynamics and how they contribute to behavior, training & performance

In the words of many CARAT students, “CARAT changes everything!” This is a deeply holistic approach to understanding the “Ethology of the Individual”(tm). CARAT is not for everyone. It requires effort and practice and more practice. But for serious students of the dog, CARAT is an important addition to your understanding of dogs (and other species – CARAT can be used on multiple species!)

Upcoming CARAT 1.1 seminars are great for learning more about this amazing tool. Whether you choose to go on with the CARAT certification path, this 3 day introduction to CARAT will give you a new way of thinking about and assessing behavior. Come join us and get on the cutting edge of behavior assessment.

So, which dog is which?
Dog#1 is a successful guide dog stud.
Dog #2 is a much beloved pet who is very fearful, sound sensitive, physically sensitive and who has bitten multiple times.
Dog #3 is a successful Search & Rescue dog (wilderness, tracking, cadaver, water).
Dog #4 is a competiive agility dog with sound sensitivity and confidence issues which have affected her quality of life & training/performance.

For more information, please see the CARAT page with links to more detailed information.

By choosing to use this article you agree to our article usage terms

“Could you recognize your dog’s CARAT graphical profile?” by Suzanne Clothier