CARAT Certification

C.A.R.A.T. ™ (Clothier Animal Response Assessment Tool)

The Clothier Animal Response Assessment Tool (CARAT) was developed in 2007 by Suzanne Clothier as an assessment system that categorizes behavior in multiple components that are intuitive and practical. CARAT takes a detailed view of the individual dog as a unique combination of many factors working together to influence, exacerbate, mitigate and enhance each other. Taken as a whole, the CARAT profile offers a richly detailed view of an individual dog in terms of functional behavior and adaptability.

Currently in use at Guiding Eyes for the Blind (GEB), one of the world's largest guide dog schools, CARAT is used to evaluate the GEB puppies (between 400-500 yearly), breeding stock candidates and all dogs coming in to the GEB Training School for guide training. CARAT is proving its value as a strongly predictive assessment tool.

CARAT provides a common language to describe and understand temperament at Guiding Eyes for the Blind and with other organizations. We are delighted that the analysis of CARAT scores done on adult dogs entering our training program has identified multiple traits that were predictive and heritable. These temperament measures can be used in our selective breeding program to improve the genetic quality of our dogs’ temperament. It was exciting to be in on the ground floor of the development of this tool.

Jane Russenberger
Senior Director, Canine Development Center & Genetics
Guiding Eyes for the Blind

CARAT will continue to prove its value for temperament and behavior assessment for trainers, veterinarians, behaviorists, animal shelter and rescue personnel, caretakers and breeders.

Darcy With Fraser

Besides love and sympathy, animals exhibit other qualities connected with the social instincts which in us would be called moral.

― Charles Darwin

Why Become A Certified CARAT Assessor?
For the serious animal professional, pursuing CARAT certification offers several advantages:
  • Development of exceptional observation skills
  • Cutting edge approach to behavior assessment
  • An understanding of “the ethology of the individual” More humane and effective training
  • Skill in developing behavior modification & training plans tailored to the individual
  • Improvement in matching individual dogs to the best possible home
  • Ability to define and focus on appropriate selection of desired traits for specific jobs and/or within a breeding program
Mission of CARAT Certification Program

The mission of the CARAT Certification Program is three fold:

  1. Promote deeper understanding of animal behavior as a whole
  2. Promote deeper understanding of & respect for individual animals as complex and dynamic beings
  3. Promote humane, effective training and quality of life appropriate to the individual animal’s abilities and needs
Objective of CARAT Certification Program
The goal of the CARAT Certification Program is the development of assessors highly skilled in the use of CARAT in a wide variety of applications and fields: dog training, animal shelters and rescue organizations, veterinary applications, service dog organizations, breeding programs. At all times, applications of CARAT will be used to deepen understanding of the individual animal. Specifically, CARAT will assist in identifying an animal’s unique abilities, limits and needs, and the specific placement regarding lifestyle, task(s), and/or handler to insure best possible quality of life for that animal. CARAT assessors should be notable for their compassionate and detailed approach to the individual animal.
Why Become Certified?
Certification is aimed at promoting a high level of expertise in assessing dogs using CARAT. Mastering CARAT requires considerable dedication and practice. Certification serves to recognize the study and effort put forth by the certified assessor in developing their skills and to ensure that the individual demonstrates proficiency in both the theoretical and practical applications of CARAT.
What Are the Benefits of Certification?
All certified CARAT assessors will be provided with continued support by Suzanne Clothier and other certified CARAT educators. This support will be in the form of a dedicated online forum, webinars, videos, research projects, events and other materials available only to certified CARAT assessors. They will have the right to market themselves as certified CARAT assessors and be listed on Suzanne Clothier’s website as long as their certification remains valid.
There will be requirements for regular re-certification at the highest level achieved. This will help insure that all certified CARAT assessors are up-to-date on CARAT research, current practices, and that the assessor’s skills remain strong. Certification will be valid for 2 years. Prior to the end of that 2 year term, you will need to re-certify to keep your certification valid. We anticipate that re-certification will be done in person with a designated CARAT professional.
CARAT Development

Please be aware that CARAT is a program in development, and changes and improvements in this program are inevitable. We anticipate on-going refinements and improvements, and possible changes to the information provided here.