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I live in Dallas, Tx. My lab, Jazz, is 5 months old and has the most wonderful tempermant...very calm and best friends with every dog/person she meets. I am interested in getting Jazz and myself involved in some volunteer work like visiting people in the hospital. I've been blessed with such a sweet girl and want to share her with people that could use a little break from the daily hospital routine and let them play with, pet, or see a dog. Jazz is still a puppy and we probably need to wait a little while until the mouthing stage is over with (we are working very hard on getting this habit nipped...she gets corrected every time she does it), but was wondering where to get started. Does the dog need special training or cerification? I plan to contact the nearby hospital but was wondering if anyone has had experience with this? Thanks!!
 

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I'd look into your local dog clubs and see who does therapy dog testing. go to Delta Dog's website an TDI's website. In either case, your dog needs to be over a year in order to be certified.
 

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Yes, the dog needs certification. He will have to pass an obedience/temperament test of 12 items. Spud passed his easily, but there were some dogs that were not doing so well. Several failed that day.

The test is actually the CGC test plus two additional items.

I believe there are two therapy dog organizations. Spud got certified through and is a member of Therapy Dogs International. Just go to their website and check it all out. You can find a local chapter near you and places where they are testing. It also tells you all about the testing requirements, including the age which I believe is at least a year old.

Good luck. Spud loves doing therapy work. He's a natural.

Therapy Dogs International
 

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never too young to start teh training. get her to as many different environments (where she is allowed, ask around, there are often stores and events that allow dogs) as you can. Get her used to different types of people and things (tall, short, canes, wheelchairs, crutches)...and work on basic obedience of course :)

most groups will want you to pass the TDI or equivalent. see the site: http://www.tdi-dog.org/
the test is on there to give you an idea. The first part is like teh Canine good citizen (CGC) with a few extras steps at the end.

Do a search in your area for local groups that organize vists, or ask the st-johns ambulance (do they have that there?) as they sometimes have teams as well.
 

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Hi, one of my 3 labs is a PAT dog here in the UK.

Like your girl, I knew from a young age that he was a gentle soul, I contacted PAT (pets as therapy) and they said that he had to be 9 months minimum before taking their entrance exam, but in the meantime to take him to obedience classes. We did this and he passed the CGC. The only part of the PAT test I worried about was taking food "gently" from the hand, despite lots of practice Jed was still a little snatchy, but thankfully he passed.

He now comes into the special school where I work once a week to play with children with autism and severe learning difficulties, he does a great job and they love him, he even has his own notice board with his photo's on and copies of all his certificates.

Good luck with your girl, keep us updated with her progress~:)

 

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Just seen this... and the TDI link given and everything (sorry I didnt respond sooner long weekend)...I've had 3 TDI dogs, one is working now and I have one in training....I'm so proud to be a part of this organization and would love to get more teams together in my area because so many places need smiles ...

Thanks for being interested and thank you other teams that do the visits...you make a difference!!!!:p
 
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