I realise Dozer is not ready to be a therapy dog yet and that he has a long way to go, but what is the best way to get him into a therapy dog program? What's the best program to do? We have a lot of seniors homes in this area and I think he'd be a great way (when he's ready) to brighten someone's day.
The Canine Good Neighbour Programme is a good start - if Dozer can pass all of those exercises, he's well on his way. In addition , therapy dogs will need to be able to handle strange people that might be rude or loud or move in unusual ways, unexpected loud noises, slippery floors, elevators, and so on. Socialise him to the nines, make sure he won't jump on people, and teach him a cute trick or two...
Are you from a reasonably large city? Try a google search for your city and therapy dogs. ORRR try st-johns ambulance, they often have programs as well.
I am in Ottawa and have been doing therapy visits with Rocky for 2 years now. I went straight to a local group here called Ottawa Therapy Dogs. They have hteir own program to certify dogs and help you find a placement (and train you so it isn't just you going willy nilly on your own to a facility, they guide you with other team members, in fact, I have trained quite a few thru stage 1!).
If you are on your own (and I know in many communities people are!) then look at the test done by most programs (even OTD) is the TDI test. IT is available online so you can start getting ready for it (or just to give you a guideline on what to work on). But basically it is the CGC (or CGN) with a few extra steps so you can go that way as well (though I never did the CGC or CGN!).
Here is the TDI test http://www.tdi-dog.org/HowToJoin.asp...g+Requirements
(click on Requirement Brochure).
A few things to work on in general: getting the dog used ot different people (hat, not hat, big, small, WHEELCHAIRS, CRUTCHES, WALKERS) as well as sudden sounds (ex: pan falling). As well as your dog being happy to meet new poeple (but able to be gentle) - you would be surprised, alot of dogs are shy/scared of new people (I have seen dogs fail because of this).
I have to work alot of "leave it" because Rocky likes to stick his nose in all the garbage cans during our visit, and likes to try to get reallll close to the food tray. Not to mention all the bits of food and stuff on the ground he likes to lick...ick
Last edited by Tanya; 10-16-2009 at 07:07 PM.
Charlie (foster) and Rocky
We're certified with both TD-I and St John's Ambulance and work with different organizations both here in Windsor and in Michigan
'Don't grow up too quickly, lest you forget how much you love the beach.'
~ Michelle Held
Rhys, Ruby and Nola
I think St. John's Ambulance is the way to go in our area, they run all sorts of good therapy programs.
Baloo - 5 year old black lab
Peanut - 7 year old minpin
Monster - 3-ish year old frenchie/jack, rescue
Another thought besides the Canine Good Citizen program via AKC and TDI is to become a registered pet partner team through the Delta Society.
We work with Hand-In-Paw here in Alabama and previously worked with Gabriel's Angels in Arizona. Both organizations required us to be evaluated and registered through The Delta Society -- www.deltasociety.org
The evaluation is similar to what others have described. We had to perform commands like sit, down, stay (walking away and leaving her), exposure to wheelchairs, medical equipment, a stranger touching her, how she reacts to other dogs, how she reacts to distractions and taking food from a stranger.
You can find all the info on the above Delta website -- and I believe they have referrals to local organizations for volunteering or they can help you get started in your area.
Now after I've typed all this -- I'm not sure they are available in Canada! But it is worth a shot...
Our local group also has the following two groups in their "links" section:
Delta Society®, the Human-Animal Connection’s mission is to improve human health through service and therapy animals. The Society's goals are to expand awareness of the positive effect animals can have on human health and development; remove barriers that prevent involvement of animals in everyday life; and expand the therapeutic and service role of animals in human health, service, and education.
Other Therapy Dog Organizations: Canada
Caring Canine: Dog Therapy Volunteering in Toronto
Caring Canine is a non-profit organization providing free dog-therapy service to communities in Toronto. All members at Caring Canine are pure volunteers who bring their therapy dogs (Dr. Dogs) to visit elders, patients, and people with disabilities at various healthcare facilities. Many volunteers are bilingual, which allows Caring Canine to serve elders who are not fluent in English as well as dementia patients who have forgotten all languages except for their native tongue.
Charlie (foster) and Rocky