Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Ontario, Canada
My first dog was a TD. I agree with Lucia on what they look for with testing. They really want those bomb proof easygoing dogs that won't look twice at other animals or react to strange things - some dogs naturally have it while others may take a while. You're blessed to have time on your side - don't rush her if she hesitates at something.
I'll add that you want to acclimatize her to "odd" things often, physical objects, smells, and noises - hospitals or nursing homes are full of things you don't find elsewhere, not to mention odd behaviours from the patients that might spook dogs including flailing and yelling. Alex was as bomb proof as they come literally but I never pushed him if I thought he might be close to having enough.
Two things that I personally was very careful on were not allowing Alex to 'shake hands' if they were very elderly, nails even when well-trimmed can cause tears in fragile skin. Also, I never allowed Alex to lick - you never know what type of medication, lotion, or food might be on their hands and I didn't want him getting ill.
Most places will have restrictions or rules; one place actually was requiring us to carry hand sanitizer with us to sanitize residentís hands after touching the dogs. I ended up sending that back to our director and they agreed it wasn't our responsibility but always ensure you read up on each location beforehand to follow any rules they may have in place.
Most of all - have fun and relax! Fun tricks like "play dead" or "high fives" or the like are always great ice breakers for residents who may be more hesitant It also can keep your dog from getting bored if they start to fidget Take lots of treats and water, I also made sure to have baby wipes on hand to keep up any messes that may happen or pass on to residents if needed.
Jasmine - Female Miniature Poodle - born Aug 15, 2010
Loker Delgado Von Stalworth - Male GSD - born Jan 26, 2012
Koda & Zazu - 7 year old male cats
Alex - Male Cocker Spaniel (rescue) - RIP Cuddlebug 2007-2010
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