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A Scottish university is using dogs to sniff out the best candidates for a place on an oversubscribed veterinary course. Students who are applying to Edinburgh Napier University are judged on how they interact with the dog. Dr. Mary Fraser, who is a lecturer and owner of Belle (one of the pooches that vets potential nurses), finds that the dog relaxes nervous interviewees and provides an invaluable insight into their affinity with animals.

Fraser tells Metro about the doggy detection interview process that is proving a hit with both students and lecturers.


How do dogs sniff out the best candidates in an interview?

We’re just looking to see potential candidates’ reactions to the dog. Most will rush over to cuddle and play with the puppy, whereas the odd one or two tend to stay seated.

That’s when you know that they have no empathy with animals. How does the ideal candidate respond to the dog?

I’m happy if they’re paying the dog more attention than me. It’s great when a student sits on the floor and gets covered in hair. To me that’s great. Although, it’s a difficult one because they’re often in their best dress, so I can imagine their parents aren’t too pleased when they come home caked in hair.

Do any of the students try a charm offensive with the dogs by bringing in treats?

I don’t think so. We give out treats, so some of them take advantage of that and stick around after the interview to play around with the puppy.

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