When to start. Therapy - German Shepherd Dog Forums
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-03-2011, 12:39 AM Thread Starter
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Jackson, MS
Posts: 77
When to start. Therapy

Lux is just shy of 6 months old and our puppy class begins in september for therapy and obedience... Should I start bringing her around to nursing homes now or do I need to wait till training is over with in 9 weeks?? I work at a hospital and plan on having lux come and volunteer with me at the childrens hospital and nursing homes around the community.... She's my first dog and I'm new to all this but she loves people so I figured what could be better than volunteering with my baby.
Luxie is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-03-2011, 02:55 AM
New Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 24
I believe the usual standard for a therapy dog is that they need to have passed their Canine Good Citizen test before they begin work. I think that usually involves successful completion of advanced (not basic or puppy) obedience class, then taking and passing the CGC test.

Loving people is a good start, but it is important to get the training completed and testing done. Basically, the training teaches the dog to channel their love into ways that will most benefit the patients - and will let them know what is expected of them, so the dog will be confident and can avoid accidents caused by over-enthusiasm. The patients may, for example, have delicate skin which is easily damaged by toenails or the dog bumping them from excitement. As another example, an IV can easily be disrupted or dislodged by a dog who simply is hurrying to greet a patient.

There are also some tasks that may be helpful for therapy dogs. For example, they are often trained to sit/stay in order to be petted, the best position to remain in when being lifted up onto a hospital bed, and to lift paws up/stay on the lap of a wheelchair-bound patient, etc. I am more familiar with service dog tasks than with those for therapy dogs, but many places have therapy dog groups, and if you can locate one in your area they would be the best people to advise you.
PhoenixFiresky is offline  
post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-03-2011, 05:41 AM
Moderator
 
ILGHAUS's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: North Central FLorida, east of Gainesville
Posts: 9,026
Are you doing this on your own or are you with a therapy group? If there is a group in your area check with them. Try to go through an organization that has a good liability policy as accidents do happen.

TJ aka Theresa A. Jennings
Pyro vom Wildhaus aka Kaleb ~S.T.A.R.~
Family Companion, Non-Profit Mascot, In-Home Service Dog


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


Member of Assistance Dog Advocacy Project (ADAP),
Humane Animal Education & Services (HAES),
ILGHAUS is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-03-2011, 07:59 AM
Member
 
High5's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Cambridge Ontario Canada
Posts: 176
Up here in Canada they have to be 1 before they can Get their therapy dog certification.

Tim

Katie DOB-12.3.2010
High5 is offline  
post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-03-2011, 11:11 AM Thread Starter
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Jackson, MS
Posts: 77
Yea I'm registered for puppy therapy 1 class in sep. I'm just trying to get a head start before classes begin
Luxie is offline  
post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-03-2011, 12:19 PM
Crowned Member
 
AbbyK9's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: North Country, NY
Posts: 12,442
Luxie - therapy work can be very stressful and emotionally draining to a dog, just like working with the sick and elderly can be very stressful on human caregivers. That's why it's recommended that the dog is able to mature before doing this type of work. Most registering and certifying therapy dog organizations require that the dogs are at least one year old before they begin visits, and that their visits are never longer than an hour at a time, so that they are mentally mature enough to handle the work and are able to recover between visits.

Your six months old puppy does not have the maturity to do this work yet at her age. Of course she loves people - she's a PUPPY. But loving people is not all that a therapy dog needs to do. They also need to patiently sit still for petting. Not mouth or put their paws on peoples' skin (very important with the elderly - it's so easy to break the skin with a happy excited puppy pawing at them). And so on.

I would look forward to taking the class and learning about the work, but not actively visit with her until she is older.

You may also want to think about joining a local therapy dog group that visits as a team, or at least a national registering organization (such as TDInc. or TDI or Delta) if you are going to start doing regular visits. The reason you'll want to join a group is that they will cover you and the dog under their liability insurance while you are volunteering - so if anything ever happens, you will be covered. Yes, many places will let you visit if you do not belong to an organization, BUT it's better to have that insurance and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

A lot of places prefer that you go ahead and do all of your basic and advanced obedience, then earn your CGC. That will give you a good idea what to expect when testing to become a therapy dog (and handler) team and what you'd specifically need to work on in order to pass the Therapy Dog test. The test for TDI (and also, I believe, TDInc.) are very similar to the CGC with additional tasks and requirements added on to the test.

Another thing to think about is how you will be bringing her with you to volunteer. You mentioned that you work at the hospital - you should know that some of those national organizations will NOT cover the dog under their liability insurance if you bring her to your place of business. Only if you volunteer with her in your spare time. I know that's confusing but it's another thing to think about.

Malinois Ronja - fastest K-9 in VT
=^^= Finn, Ratchet & Ollie

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
-
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
-
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
AbbyK9 is offline  
post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-03-2011, 01:10 PM
Elite Member
 
W.Oliver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Farmington Hills, Michigan
Posts: 1,469
Quote:
Originally Posted by Luxie View Post
......She's my first dog and I'm new to all this but she loves people so I figured what could be better than volunteering with my baby.
Couple of thoughts....Your excitement is contagious!, and you've received some excellent information from the folks that have posted.

I would encourage you to study socialization techniques and how to develop a dog in that regard as well as basic obedience before you take your GSD to a hospital or nursing home....a happy, people loving dog can do unintended harm in an institutional setting.

I found the most challenging/unnerving aspect of therapy dog certification to be the elevator. Riding the elevator with four or five dog/handler teams and maintaining the calm demeanor of a therapy dog is not something every dog can accomplish.

Socialization & Obedience

Best of luck....


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
BH RN CGC TT HD/ED a1 Normal
Dayna von Royale BH FO CGC Therapy Dogs, Inc.
W.Oliver is offline  
post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-03-2011, 04:40 PM
Crowned Member
 
Chicagocanine's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 6,510
I've never seen any dogs have a problem with the elevator when we were volunteering, even going up with a number of other dogs at once as we often did. I guess it depends on the dog though. All my dogs were already used to elevators because they've been to hotels and places like that with elevators.


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
Chicagocanine is offline  
post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-03-2011, 05:13 PM
Master Member
 
suzzyq01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Dracut, MA
Posts: 634
Onyx isn't a fan of the elevators, but he will get in them and sit next to me and look at me like "are we gunna die!" then once we are off all is well.

Practice makes perfect though, the first time in one was when he was 4 years old and he was scared. Now he just looks at me for reassurance and sits.

There is no age limit for the AKC CGC and some states only require this to do visits. In other states you must have your TDI and the dog (US) needs to be at least 12 months old to obtain this certification. In some states you can not work as a therapy dog unless you have obtained your TDI and work through an organization with insurance.

You can however start taking your pup to various places to get him used to strange sights and sounds. A couple great places to go are Petco and Petsmart (obvuiously), Home Depot and Lowes (lots of loud noises, strange smells and big carts), also I understand that Bass Pro Shop allows dogs.

You can also check with your local mall and ask if you can walk your pup up and down the mall, use the elevators, etc for therapy training. You can get a bandanna or vest that says "Therapy Dog in Training." Most places are open to allowing dogs in training to do their thing as long as there is no food (grocery stores, restaurants, etc) out to contaminate. There are some restaurants that do allow dogs, I know a T-Bones here just opened their back deck to allowing dogs and even created a menu for them.

Good luck, if the dog enjoys it then do it. If your dog doesn't seem to enjoy it find something else they do enjoy. Therapy work is NOT for every dog.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Gobles Sonar vom Shipwreck, CGC
Dark Sable 100% DDR German Shepherd (4/1/2010)


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Frosty Onyx Glacier, CGC
Grey/White Siberian Husky (8/29/2005)
suzzyq01 is offline  
post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-04-2011, 12:49 PM
Elite Member
 
W.Oliver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Farmington Hills, Michigan
Posts: 1,469
...with all due respect, the elevator isn't really the point. It is simply the venue by which several dogs/handlers are held in a small confined space. That elevator duration in such close proximity to other dogs is the challenge I was speaking of......


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
BH RN CGC TT HD/ED a1 Normal
Dayna von Royale BH FO CGC Therapy Dogs, Inc.
W.Oliver is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the German Shepherd Dog Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome