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