Therapy Dog? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-29-2009, 03:28 PM Thread Starter
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Therapy Dog?

Our local animal group is starting their training for therapy dogs but I couldn't make it the the inital meeting so I called with a couple questions. Age of the dog was not addressed in the newpaper article. Turns out they need to be 1 year old. Well, I guess there's next year. I thought it would be a rewarding thing to do.

How many of you have certified therapy dogs? Do you like it? Do the dogs like it? I'm sure this can vary alot but do you commit to a couple hours every week or how does that work? Sorry for so many questions. This is something I didn't consider before and it would give Panzer puppy a job.

Thanks

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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-29-2009, 04:21 PM
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Re: Therapy Dog?

Both of my girls are tested and registered with Therapy Dogs International (www.tdi-dog.org).

I like Therapy Dog work a lot - love going to visit with people. When we lived in northern Virginia, we visited an old folks' home that had a special program for the memory impaired with Abby. We met a lot of very interesting people there and Abby enjoyed being around the old ladies, who would pat and scratch her and talk to her.

When we lived in southern Virginia, we visited with the Warrior Transition Unit and some of the other units in base, and that was great, too. It was much more relaxed than the old folks' home because we were visiting young soldiers, so it was always pretty fun.

Now that we're in northern NY, we're trying to set up an official therapy dog program on base, at the hospital and the WTU, but it's been slow going because they've never had such a program and are not really sure what requirements the hospital has for the dogs, and all that. Hopefully we will be able to get everyone together and talk about that.

Anyway.

Different dogs will like or dislike the work differently. My Abby likes visiting and likes being petted, but she does not have the same "pet me pet me pet me I love you" vibe that Ronja, my Malinois has. Ronja will hear a person say the word "DOG" and she will turn around and snuggle into their lap and stick her head into their chest for scritching. If Ronja had her way, she would crawl INTO your lap. Anyone's lap. As long as they pay her attention. And she also has a lot more endurance for visits than Abby does, who needs frequent breaks and really can't go longer than an hour. Ronja would visit ALL DAY if she could.

As far as hours and commitments go, it really depends on your group. If you're visiting as part of a group, you will have set times, days, and places to go. If you're registered through TDI, or Delta, or any of the other big organizations, you can approach hospitals and old folks' homes on your own and schedule your visits through them, usually through the activities or volunteer coordinator.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-29-2009, 04:33 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Therapy Dog?

Thanks. I do remember something on the website about visiting places we seek out on our own. And I think they visit classrooms as well. Right now I've been trying to take Panzer with me when I pick up my granddaughter from school. Of all the people yesterday, a male adult about 27-32 years old was asking if he bites and was quite on edge. (hadn't seen him before) My first reaction was he was guilty about something? I hate to profile people, but he sure looked like he was that type, if you know what I mean.

Panzer was in a mouthy mood yesterday, too. Most of the kids love him. Alot assume he's a police dog. (like maybe that guy?)

Well, I guess I have to wait until next year. I think they do temperment testing before the training and that will tell us more.

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Panzer Vom Valkyre (dob 5/21/09)
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-29-2009, 05:15 PM
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Re: Therapy Dog?

Do the dogs have to be a year old to do the training in your local group, or just to take the therapy dog test? Maybe you can take the training class and then wait until he is old enough for the test?


Quote:
Originally Posted By: 5150
How many of you have certified therapy dogs? Do you like it? Do the dogs like it? I'm sure this can vary alot but do you commit to a couple hours every week or how does that work?
Bianca is not a therapy dog yet but my last dog Ginger did animal assisted therapy for about 8+ years with multiple organizations. I enjoyed it and Ginger was pretty much born to be a therapy dog so she loved it. It depends on the group how things work. We belonged to several groups because the first group we joined took a break each year from about May to mid-September. So I joined a second group we could volunteer with during the summer months. The first group was more involved, they have different programs though so it depends which type you volunteer with. The type I did was a program which worked with physical therapists at hospitals, and developed programs for patients' physical rehab which utilized the dogs. We volunteered for one hour per week, and each week every dog/owner team was paired with a patient and told what they were working on as far as physical therapy. We then involved the dogs in things which worked on their goals. Some of the programs that organization had worked with people in substance rehab. or mental rehab. institutions and those programs were different-- you had to commit to 8 weeks for those, you were paired up with a patient and the program was set up like an agility or training class, a single patient took the dog through the "class" for 1 hour a week for 8 weeks with the dog's owner assisting.
The second program we joined was a reading literacy program for children in disadvantaged schools or areas. These programs also required a 6-8 week commitment and different ones were at different days/times about an hour long, usually at a school, community center or a group home. The dogs in the program were used to help with the reading skills, each child had a chance to read a book to one of the dogs and while waiting for their turn they worked with a non-dog-owning volunteer on writing and discussing the book being read.


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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-29-2009, 06:18 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Therapy Dog?

Yes, the dogs have to be a year old before we start anything. That's OK. There's lots of other things we can do in the meantime.

aka 5150

Panzer Vom Valkyre (dob 5/21/09)
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Felines: Mulder, Scully, Stinkweed, Rosie and Rascal

At the Bridge:
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cats: Whiskey & Mickie ...and more
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-30-2009, 10:59 AM
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Re: Therapy Dog?

Duncan is a therapy dog...and he loves it! It is very rewarding. Right now our group visits local nursing/assisted living homes in the area. There is also a dog-reading program for local schools, but our schedule doesn't allow us to get involved in it.

We actually begin our visiting schedule for this year this Saturday. Our group is very diverse, some dogs do tricks, some are little lap dogs and then there are the calm "I can sit here for hours and be petted" dogs like Duncan.

Somehow, he knows exactly who to go to...he'll walk right by rooms there are no people in or if people are sleeping in (not even looking) but will want to go in rooms that have people that want to see him.

I would love for Anna to get involved, but she's still too puppy-hyper, maybe next year after some more OB training and classes. Right now she cares more about the other dogs than anything else.


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