I am thinking that Chief might enjoy being a Therapy dog and going to visit hospitals or nursing homes.
With his previous working Service Dog title, I think that transitioning to something like this might be smooth and beneficial for him.
If any of you have done this with your dogs I would love to hear about your experiences with this!
My prior dog, Wesley, was a therapy dog. And I'm hoping to move my current pup, Parker, into therapy work. It is an excellent way of building a further bond with your dog and helping others at the same time.
If your dog has a Service designation, he/she should have no issues getting tested and approved for therapy work. It's all just basic manners: No jumping up. No fear/aggression toward equipment like walkers/canes/wheelchairs. A good grasp on LEAVE IT (especially in hospitals, where dangerous meds may accidentally find their way to the floor).
Wes and I didn't do the hospital/nursing-home route. We were involved in a program called Reading Education Assistance Dogs (READ) where we helped kids who were having trouble reading. The program had them read to a dog -- a non-threatening, non-judgmental situation -- as a way of boosting skills. It was great for both me and Wes. =)
Kelrobin Cleveland Street Denizen, CGC, RN [Parker]
"Dear George: Remember, no man is a failure who has friends. Thanks for the wings. Love, Clarence" -- IAWL Screenplay (1946)
I'm going to a meeting December 1st to find out more about our local animal therapy association. It's something that I think Dio would enjoy doing and it would benefit me as well!
Dio (Best Bud since July 18th, 2009)
Kaity (Sweetheart since April 29th, 2012)
I had forgotten about that READ program. That may be a better fit for Chief.
dweck- one would think that the Service Dog working years would make things easier but I do have concerns about Chief's excitability in certain situations. He also seems to have difficulty listening and obeying sometimes. I do think those are things which just may be slightly problematic because he's not been forced to work so much since he came to live with us.
I found a list of ITD evaluators in my state and may start e-mailing with them. On the list I found, none of the people listed were especially close to me but perhaps i will find something closer today.
I've been a proud participant in the TDI program since 1999. Indy, my first and beloved was the best. Now, Jobe and Annie carry on the tradition, but I find that Jobe likes the Tail Waggin Tutor program the best because he gets close contact with kids. Annie would rather do the nursing homes because she is a busy body who has to inspect everyone.
Mom to Indy 6/12/98 to 11/16/11 (always in my heart), and Jobe 8-14-2000 to 6/24/2013 (Working TDI) English Labs, and Annie our Golden Retriever (TDI), and Kodiak (who will one day hopefully be a TDI dog if he doesn't kill me first).