Saturday, September 5, 2009

Polly Profile Doll

Profiling the new greyhounds is one of my volunteer jobs for Southeastern Greyhound Adoption. One of the questions we strive to answer is "will this greyhound do well with small children?"

Recently, the other profile volunteers and I attended a Sue Sternberg seminar. Sue has developed a series of tests for evaluating the temperament of shelter dogs. We have modified the evaluation to suit our environment and use it to profile SEGA greyhounds.

One of Sue's tests include introducing the dog to a doll that cries and makes noises while sitting on an adult's lap. In most cases, you receive no feedback, but occasionally a dog does give you feedback worth noting. Positive feedback would consist of the greyhound getting close and showing curiosity, but is gentle. Negative feedback would be a greyhound that responds with prey drive. Scary, but a possibility. Definitely something you would like to find out ahead of time with a doll. Some would say that a dog responding with prey drive thinks the doll is a toy. Well, that is not what has been seen. Even the most toy motivated dogs are responding to a doll with curiosity and interest, but not with their mouths. I will let you know how it goes with the greyhounds.

Initially, we recruited Polly Profile Doll from a local school. Polly's prior employment was to deter high school students from getting pregnant..... I can tell you it works for 33 year olds as well. Polly came with her own manual, keys, and memory. If Polly was mistreated in anyway, she stored the information so she could tell the teachers later. It was imperative that she not be dropped, that her head was supported, and she was regularly breast fed. Yikes! Thank goodness she was came with a pseudo nipple. If there was a maternal bone in my body, it was now broken.

Used as greyhound bait was probably not included in Polly's programing, but I am sure she would have been displeased and would have tattled to someone. Authorities would be knocking on my door. I honestly did not have the needed experience to take care of Polly Profile. I have only held 2 babies my entire life. The first one puked on my shoulder (he graduated college recently) and the second time I was tricked into it (thanks, Paul).

In the end, I decided that Polly was just too sophisticated for profiling greyhounds and I returned her. I almost lied saying that we got new carpet and she was not potty trained, but I decided to tell the truth and admit she was just too complicated for our purposes.