Pursuing therapy with Dakota? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-09-2012, 05:27 PM Thread Starter
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Pursuing therapy with Dakota?

Please see my original thread for background (sorry I smooshed so much together initially!):

https://www.germanshepherds.com/forum...s-methods.html

The lady I'm considering using as a trainer loooooves Dakota and suggested doing therapy work with her. Once upon a time I considered getting her CGC, but that fell to the wayside. Not because she couldn't do it (because I think we could test at any point and pass) but because I didn't think she was cut out for therapy because she isn't a snuggly dog. At any rate, please check out my original ramble (lol)...What recommendations do you have for someone who has never pursued therapy work before? What should I expect? Anything I'm forgetting to ask?

Thanks!

Kaiser ~ Jan 25, 2012 (GSD)
Dakota ~ Oct 2005 (GSD/Collie)
Mya ~ Dec 2013 (GSD)
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-09-2012, 08:57 PM
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dogs dont have to be snuggly to be therapy dogs, they have to be confident, calm, not be afraid of noises/hospital equipment/other dogs..

therapy dogs can be calm(most places prefer a calm dog over a hyper one) i did therapy work with my pitx for 5 1/2 years, we did hospitals , nursing homes, assisted living, and 2 elementary schools where children with reading disabilities read books to him. his calmness really helped patients , seniors and children, and the teachers and staff all loved him as he was so calm..

tor those interested in obtaining your therapy dog title these are the 4 major Therapy Dog Groups

Delta Society http://www.deltasociety.org/VolunteerAboutAbout.htm

Therapy Dogs International Therapy Dogs International

Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs http://www.golden-dogs.org

Therapy Dogs Inc Therapy Dogs Inc.

Maryellen
Rufus CGC,ATTS,TherapyDog
Sadie ATTS
Honey

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-09-2012, 09:01 PM
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what to expect:

your dog excelling at therapy work and making a difference to patients and children.. therapy work is sometimes stressful depending on where you go.. most visits are kept to an hour, some shorter, some longer. find what works for you and your dog and do that. libraries have reading programs now, you can get involved in that as well..

you have to be able to talk to children and patients, or be quiet if they dont want to talk, basically you are there for moral support, for them, their families, and it will become very easy to do it once you get started...


here is a video of my rufus doing therapy work at an assisted living facility to give you an idea of what we did, the other dogs there are also therapy dogs :

Rufus the Therapy Pit Bull | Wallace the Pit Bull on Blip

Maryellen
Rufus CGC,ATTS,TherapyDog
Sadie ATTS
Honey

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-11-2012, 12:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaiser2012 View Post
Please see my original thread for background (sorry I smooshed so much together initially!):

https://www.germanshepherds.com/forum...s-methods.html

The lady I'm considering using as a trainer loooooves Dakota and suggested doing therapy work with her. Once upon a time I considered getting her CGC, but that fell to the wayside. Not because she couldn't do it (because I think we could test at any point and pass) but because I didn't think she was cut out for therapy because she isn't a snuggly dog. At any rate, please check out my original ramble (lol)...What recommendations do you have for someone who has never pursued therapy work before? What should I expect? Anything I'm forgetting to ask?

Thanks!
If she likes being around people, is good with other dogs (oh hey, yeah, that giant dog that doesn't like other dogs visiting the nursing home while my dog is...yeah, that doesn't make me happy!) and can tolerate weird noises, weird touches, etc, she might like it.

Try to match your dog with the environment. Likes busy, likes kids, likes quieter, likes slower people, whatever. Dogs seem to have preferences, my therapy dogs did. My one said that her preference was me, so that ended that (she would tolerate all the other people, but really only cared what I was doing and I would end up doing all the therapy!) and my other loved very ill or disabled children, disabled adults, and was able to detect things like pain...so I had to protect him from that level of sensitivity.

I took 2 really good classes - one to prepare for the test and that whole time you are prepping for visits and one with scenarios to prepare for visits. Like the one, the "child" instructor asked if she could see my dogs' treat - so I gave her one and she put it in her mouth. DOH! And another was an elevator scenario and people getting in and the right answer was to wait for the next elevator.

There are things you won't be expecting - noises and visuals that make people jump - so your reaction really is important. I spent a lot of time talking to my dogs - we went into one room where the odor was just...wow...and when you wow a dog on a bad smell...that's bad!

It is interesting work and very rewarding, but that hour (limit - over that is too much) can be tiring!





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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-11-2012, 03:11 PM Thread Starter
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This is very exciting! Dakota isn't immune to getting a little unsure in some scenarios, but she has always shown a stable personality and when stressed will look to me for reassurance. If I continue to ask her to do something, even though she is unsure, she will still try and do it.

Do you have any recommendations of places to go/sights/sounds to prepare her for? She has been socialized a LOT, though not in any hospitals (or with the associated smells).

She tolerates kids throwing their arms around her neck and petting her side, tail, and legs. She is great in "slower" situations but with reassurance can handle busier scenarios too. She has seen babies and kids (will lay "flat" if I ask her to, usually) and sometimes will perform her tricks under pressure. She has also seen adults and older individuals, as well as those with disabilities (though we haven't seen a wheelchair yet).

Any particular types of classes to look for? (I haven't been to the 4 websites listed above yet to check).

As far as me personally...I can talk to anyone, but I have no qualms about sitting and listening, or in silence, if need be.

LOVE the video of Rufus. Dakota will get up on a couch and lay down like that if I ask her to, but generally she won't stay "snuggled" like that. She does love rubs though...standing belly rubs, chest and butt scritches. She is definitely calm as opposed to hyper.

Kaiser ~ Jan 25, 2012 (GSD)
Dakota ~ Oct 2005 (GSD/Collie)
Mya ~ Dec 2013 (GSD)
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-11-2012, 09:31 PM
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Quote:
Any particular types of classes to look for? (I haven't been to the 4 websites listed above yet to check).
Many of your questions can be answered by going to the organization websites. Also we have various threads you can read in this section. Both of these sources will give you a lot of info and also other members personal experience.


Quote:
when stressed will look to me for reassurance. If I continue to ask her to do something, even though she is unsure, she will still try and do it.
If/when your dog shows any type of stress while doing therapy work you should be leaving and not trying to work them through it. It is possible that a dog can be stressed during a visit because they are having an off day (not feeling well) or they are just not cut out for the work. It is up to the handler to see to both the dog's emotional well-being and to the safety of the patient.

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


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Last edited by ILGHAUS; 04-11-2012 at 09:35 PM.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-13-2012, 09:47 PM
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Some trainers offer therapy dog classes, I'd check around in your area.


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