Therapy Dog Training
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Thread: Therapy Dog Training

  1. #1
    Furthuron's Avatar
    Furthuron is offline Junior Member
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    DefaultTherapy Dog Training

    I'm interested in learning more about training my pup to be a therapy dog when she's a bit older, but I'd like to start the training now. She could probably pass all parts of the tests except the one where she meets another dog (she goes crazy when a stranger dog is remotely near) and separation (she will whimper and pace until she is back with me).

    For those of you who have therapy dogs, would you say these two issues are fixable? She's been through basic training and passed with flying colors, and she's super intelligent, but she can definitely have her ADD moments and is VERY interested in other dogs (barks, hackles are up, strains at leash). She's not aggressive toward them, but she wants to play all the time. The separation anxiety is getting better over time, and I'm working with leaving her with other people so she can learn to be away from me and still be social.

    She's seven months old now, and she's (we think) a lab/bull terrier mix.

    Thanks!
    Elphaba - Rescued 5/17/12, and forever a pint-sized lab

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  3. #2
    Tanya is offline Senior Member
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    training training training. Keep working hard on basic training. it is the base of everything, including therapy dogs.

    Rocky is a therapy dog. Look at the test here - it is the one used by most groups for therapy dogs.
    http://www.tdi-dog.org/images/TestingBrochure.pdf

    The group I am with generally doesn't take in dogs under 2 (for obvious reasons).

    Work on socialization - to different types of people (think canes, walkers, wheelchairs) and places like elevators, different buildings, etc. Different smells (think hospital or retire home).

    You will need to get a handle on the reaction to other dogs but you have time to work on that.

    Most importantly the dog has to want to be with different people and get affection. not all dogs like this.
    Charlie (foster) and Rocky

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    Not all dogs have the temperament for therapy work.

    I would continue to work on the dog issues and expose him to other animals. I visit a nursing home with my dogs and they have several small animals that live at the facility. 2 cats, a rabbit and birds. One of my dogs is so prey driven I just couldn't take him there. The clients also have family members that bring in their dogs for a visit, so in this facility the therapy dogs need to be solid with obedience and not be bothered at all by other animals. I would not do therapy with an animal that isn't human focused. It just wouldn't be fun.

    "Every boy should have two things: a dog, and a mother willing to let him have one"
    - Anonymous

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    She's very human-focused and absolutely loves people, and she's good with kids too. She can get a little mouthy, but we're working on it. As far as exposing her to different situations, can I get her a vest that says she's in training and just bring her places, or does it need to be official? I would like to get started soon so she's ready when she's 2 (as you suggested, Tanya).

    Elphaba - Rescued 5/17/12, and forever a pint-sized lab

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    Tanya is offline Senior Member
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    Where did you want to bring her? Start small, pet stores, stores where they allow dogs, friend's homes. Therapy dogs don't have any of the rights that the real working dogs do and they don't go thru that training. You generally just talk to the those in charge at a facility and get permission to bring your dog (you don't just bring them). I am with a group (Ottawa Therapy Dogs) that does the logistics (finding placements for us) so I just show up and introduce myself to the coordinators of the facility who give me the gist of what they want. Even better if they introduce me to patients (I am quite shy). They give up all the guidelines (always ask if they want to see the dog, ask fi they want the dog near them as some want to see the dog but not have it near them, have them lock the wheelchair, etc. etc. etc.). In canada people also go thru St-John's ambulance. Maybe see if there is something in your neck of the woods.

    I've never used a vest even when he is working. he does have a bandana but I always forget it.

    But no I wouldn't just bring her into places that are not open to general public dogs.

    ETA: maybe a group in this list is near you?
    List of U.S. Therapy Dog Organizations
    Charlie (foster) and Rocky

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