German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
199 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Jackson will be 6 months next week. He goes to puppy obedience every Sunday, and is doing very well. We are looking into possibly having him be a therapy dog-can anyone tell us where to begin? Some sort of advice? What to do?
We have a medically challenged daughter, and she has been hospitalized couple hundred times, and the therapy dogs always made our days. So, we would love to give back, and we think Jackson has the personality to do it..

Any advice would be great... TIA
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,442 Posts
Hi Kimi,

If you go to the main forum and scroll further down, you will see that there's a whole sub-forum that covers all aspects of Therapy Dogs and Service Dogs. That would be a super place to start and post questions specifically about Therapy Dog work.

A really good place to start would be by working on basic obedience and taking the AKC Canine Good Citizen test. A lot of Therapy Dog tests are based on or similar to the CGC, so taking that would give you a pretty good idea on whether there are any specific things you will need to work on in regards to Therapy Dog testing.

Then the next place to go is taking a Therapy Dog test. There are national organizations, such as Therapy Dogs International (TDI), Therapy Dogs Inc. and the Delta Society, but there are also smaller, local groups. Which you want to go with really depends on you and what your plans for Therapy Dog work are.

A local group can be a better choice if they have an established program at a local hospital or old folks' home so you wouldn't find yourself trying to get started on your own, you'd be able to get started with group visits. Since Therapy Dog work is as much about the handler (it's the handler who introduces the dog, starts conversation, stops interaction when it becomes too rough, etc.) having experienced dog/handler teams with you to help you get started can be a great help.

Most Therapy Dog organizations require that your dog is at least 1 year of age before you can certify and get started. (I would love to see many of them make that 2 years, so the dog has some time to mature, personally.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,427 Posts
keep up the training, wait til your pup is a year old, although older is better, has to be able to ignore other dogs, no lunging, barking etc, not be shy of strangers and the many different hospital situations, also remember Jackson will have to find his "nitch" in therapy work
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
16,941 Posts
Teaching the dog tricks to entertain is always a crowd favorite! But for now, I would concentrate on socializing Jackson out the wazoo!!! Really think of all the different places you can take him and new experiences he be exposed to.

Also, when I was doing Therapy work with a previous dog, he had to be not only good with other dogs, but also other animals like cats, rabbits, birds, etc, because in some retirement home residents may have pets, or there could be other pet therapy teams of therapy cats, bunnies, birds visiting at the same time we were, and who would want a pet therapy stand-off in a hospital?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
199 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thank you for the info-that is what I was looking for. Just some guidance on where to go.. I know he is young-but trying to meet people to talk to so we can make sure we are on the right track. Our local club doesn't do GKC classes until March 2011. He won't even be a year by then, so it will work out timewise great for us. He has plenty of time to train in regular obedience and we have plenty of time to learn more and teach.. Yeah.. Thank you all...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,442 Posts
Just FYI, you do not need to take a "CGC Class" in order to prepare for or test for the Canine Good Citizen. You just need to practice the kinds of things that come up in the test - you can read exactly what they are on the AKC website - and then find a test. It is all VERY basic obedience - if your dog is trained in basic obedience, you should have no trouble passing it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,870 Posts
My girlfriend and I started out with nursing homes many did not require the CGC (so while you are working toward it and therpy dog) we did this. As long as the dog was well mannered and had their shots they were fine with us bring in our dogs. My girlfriend started her dog at 6 months a lab and the resident loved it...the dog was going through basic obedience at that time. I started our foster service dog at 6 months also. He was very well mannered, did not jump on anyone and was fine with other animals, it was a great experience for him especially since it gave him more socialization while we puppy raised him. The one thing you want to watch for is licking, sniffing the ground, eating anything and licking wheelchair wheels you have to keep an eye on your dog. This was our experience, we are recently fostering another service dog that is an 8 month old GSD and she has also done the nursing home and the residents adore her.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,460 Posts
Hi there :welcome: aboard!
You'll want to find a class that will offer you basic, intermediate & advanced obedience - this type of training is usually followed by testing for AKC Canine Good Citizenship (CGC). It might be helpful to know that this training can run for 10 to 12 weeks.

You might just want to go right to the web site of one of the Therapy Dog groups. Our girls are TDI (Therapy Dogs International) certified. TDI is the only group that I know of that is actually an International group - not that it necessarily makes a difference. Here's the web address for TDI.


Therapy Dogs
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,602 Posts
Just a side note- many organizations prohibit feeding raw because of the possibility of contamination. Even things like pig's ears are considered 'raw'.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,442 Posts
many organizations prohibit feeding raw because of the possibility of contamination.
Out of the national groups, the only one that prohibits raw feeding is Delta. Though I am sure that many of the smaller, local, independent groups do as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,495 Posts
Hi I see you are near Chicago? If you are close to Chicago, there are several animal assisted therapy groups local to the Chicago area. I have been involved with 3 groups locally with my previous dog and now starting with my Shepherd.
There are also many places in the area that offer CGC classes, and there are therapy dog classes as well. If you're interested I can give you some links to places that offer these classes, and links to local groups.

Generally the best place to start is with CGC and obedience training. Even though your dog is young, now is a great time to start with this training. Most of the therapy organizations accept dogs 1 year or over. Socialization and acclimating your dog to many different environments, noises, and types of people is also very helpful to prepare for therapy dog work.

Here is a good site with a lot of info on how to get into animal assisted therapy:
Therapy Dogs Index
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top