I am going to school for Occupational Therapy and will graduate with my masters to be an OT/R in May of 2014. I would love to be able to use my puppy in therapy somehow when I graduate. She is currently 3 months old and in a basic puppy class - our trainer has commented on how focused she is on us during class and has said she has great potential.
Does anyone have any experience using/seeing dogs used in occupational therapy or know what trainings/certifications she will need? I plan on taking her through a basic training course (beginner, intermediate, advanced) and then possibly work towards the AKC Canine Good Citizenship test. Any information would be appreciated!
Location: North Central FLorida, east of Gainesville
what trainings/certifications she will need?
If you are going to use your dog in your treatment with patients then you will need to check with the facility where you work. Also make sure that you verify the size of the policy and who pays for insurance.
At this time I would suggest staying with obedience training and lots of socialization. You may also want to go through the AKC STAR program with your pup and then later the AKC CGC classes. This will serve two purposes - training and documentation.
You can also go through any therapy dog classes available in your area just be aware that any national therapy dog organizations are only for volunteers and once you use your dog on a professional level you will loose any benefits being registered through them such as insurance. The good thing is that the training and experience will remain.
I would also recommend getting a temperament test through an organization such as ATTS when your pup is old enought (18 months min.)
Please also remember that not all dogs are cut out for the work and it is possible that you may have to drop the idea of using your dog as a working partner. But in the meantime, enjoy and know that any training and time spent with your pup is a great experience.
I don't know if there are any national organizations that do this, but I have volunteered with a local therapy dog group in my area that does have some programs that work with occupational therapy as well as physical therapy. I can't find a lot of info available on their website but here's the link in case it may be helpful: Canine Therapy Corps - Animal Assisted Therapy
If you contact them they may know some other resources that have more information on this.
Another good place to look for information on animal assisted therapy is this website: Therapy Dogs Index
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Jubal/Tesla (Beauceron) 3/14/14
Bianca HIC CGC TT (GSD) 4/24/04-10/23/12