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Discussion Starter #1
It's been on my mind for a while, but I have no idea on how to go about it. I think Desmond would make a wonderful therapy dog (once he gets a bit older and mellows out a little) because his personality is so well-suited for it. Thing is, I've only read a small amount about therapy dogs. I know we have a few on this forum, I'd love to hear some of your thoughts on what makes a therapy dog, how one would go about training one, etc. I've never known a therapy dog or anyone who's done anything like it, so I have very little knowledge on the subject.

I have always been especially fascinated with the READ program, and I think it would be something that Desmond could thoroughly enjoy. He has such a laid back, calm, cuddly temperament that I think he would be pretty well suited for this kind of thing with a little more training and age. What do you think? :) We wouldn't do it for a long time due to my own circumstances, but it's something I'd like to do in the future. What do I need to know/do to take part in it?

As far as training goes: I plan to get him into official obedience classes shortly to prepare for earning his CGC, but he's already very very good at basic obedience. I have no problem bringing him to pet stores or out in public, and he listens to commands in all places. There are a few areas we need to improve on, but he's incredibly smart and learns/improves quickly.
 

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That would be Great! He Must have a Rock Solid heel on a 4' (or less) leash. Sit and down anywhere, anytime. NO jumping! Needs to be friendly but not pushy. No licking. Try and get him around different equipment like crutches or walkers.

Just go through a few obed. classes and practice everywhere! Get him out and about around as many different people and places as you can. Riley is a therapy dog, and he really enjoys it. A local hospital actually has their own therapy program, and they have tried to recruit us a couple times (i would but i have No time right now). Its very rewarding!
 

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Hey Bigpoodle :) ,

Where did you get your Riley : ))) , if it is not a secret :) ?

He must be coming from very temperamentally stable lines !
 

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I guess its not really a secret. I got Riley from Rebelstar kennels 7 1/2 years ago.
Rebelstar Summer Sweet Boy CGC TDInc. TDX
He is the most stable dog i have ever met (and unbiasly i work with dogs everyday). He is just the best dog ever. I can do anything to him, take him anywhere, trust him around anything or anyone. Truly a once in a lifetime dog and a gem.
 

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You are definitely lucky to have him : ))) !!!!

It looks like Rebelstar is really good at producing therapy dogs :) !!!! I know that they donated some to therapy-dog training organizations - and it seems that even "regular" dogs from her litters are very stable and sweet indeed !!!

Good to know : ))) ! Thanks for sharing !!!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I didn't know Riley was a therapy dog!! It's good to hear, I think it's such an amazing thing for dogs to be able to have that affect on people. :) How long has he been doing it/what age did he start?

We definitely need to work on being pushy, but he only does that at home and he's a bit too curious in stores (a little tugging on the leash, but comes back after being told to). He is SO enthusiastic to have people in our house, hugs on them, wags his tail like crazy, and rubs his face on them. :doh: It's adorable, but a little embarrassing... he'll sit if I am firm and hang onto him, and then calms down eventually. We still have a lot of work to do in that department but he improves quickly! (we hardly ever have people over to practice lol) He's never that crazy in public though, just at home. A lot of it is puppy energy, he gets excited easily and then wants to play and stuff, even if he gets lots of exercise haha. He's great at settling/laying down while I'm busy in public though, especially pet stores.

Hopefully the obedience classes and further training can help with those problems. Any suggestions on where I could take him for exposure to new things/people? The only thing I can think of are parks and pet stores, Idk if I'm allowed to go to the middle school while the kids are outside, but I could try that too.
 

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I think Riley was 3ish when we got certified. I too would wait until Desmond calms down a little and gets his whits about him. :)

As for places to go, home depot and lowes allows dogs now. I think that is a great place to start (esp in the winter). Do kids parks in your area allow dogs inside? I know there are plenty of walking/kid playing parks in my area that we frequent. Many kids run up to us when we pass the playground. I would take him to busy parks. Any friends/family members have crutches or walkers?
My dad had a hip replacement before we started so Riley was already exposed to walkers/crutches (but he was steady and didnt blink at them in the house). Just take him to any busy, noisy, frequented places that allow dogs. Any outside music/events in the warm weather. Work on obedience Everywhere you go so he learns to listen in all places.

Another thing i would work on when out and about. Let him be friendly with people, but dont let him greet everyone he wants. We have had people turn us down at nursing homes for a visit, and the dog needs to be ok with that. They are not allowed to go up to someone until the handler says so. Teach him that not Everyone is there to pet Him! :D Dont get overwhelmed with all the training! After your obedience class/es take a CGC class to see where you guys stand on a basic level with tests/strangers. Read up on the therapy groups tests you have to pass to know what to work on.

Wishpoo, yes Annette does produce some lovely temperament dogs. I was impressed with her girls when we were down there.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I didn't know Home Depot allowed dogs inside... I may take him in there, there's one down the street from me that's fairly well frequented. There's lots of stuff there that he's never seen, I'm sure that would be good for him. (with delicious treats of course!! Those big carts and equipment can be scary for a puppy)

Yup, I never let him go up to someone unless they invite him! I've had a nice lady and her kid stand there and compliment how beautiful and sweet he was so I asked "Do you want to pet him? He's very friendly" but for some reason she didn't want to pet him. Maybe her kid was afraid of dogs? I dunno, but that was when I realized that not everyone wants to love on my dog as much as I do. ;) He always wants to go see people when we're out, but leaves them alone (mostly) if I tell him to. This is the behavior that we work on most when we go to the pet store.

The class we're going into is Basic Obedience, but the next class after that is a preparation class for the CGC test, and then... well the test itself!

Thanks for all the great information and suggestions, Bigpoodleperson!!! I REALLY appreciate the info.
 

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I want to do that with Teddy too, Birdie. He gets really excited to meet people too, but I think he will calm down in a few months. I guess that's why the Delta Society won't test them until they are at least a year old. Puppies will be puppies! :)
 

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I think fur elite has a puppy in therapy training right now. I'd contact her and see how the owners of that puppy got started.
 

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Try your local kennel club. Mercury is training to be a therapy dog. The kennel club here has manners classes as well as obedience classes and they give the CGC test. Merc is in the manners class currenty and will have an opertunity to take the CGC class at graduation. I believe the CGC certification is a great first step to getting a dog ready to be a therapy dog. We are still in tne begining stages but so far it's pretty fun.
 

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Hi Birdie!!

Check out this website: www.deltasociety.org this is a wonderful group, we are registered with them! Let me know if you would like us to help you through the process. I wanted to register Ocsi 5 years ago, and wish I had done it much sooner- we stressed about failing the test for such a long time, but when we finally went we were approved on our first test. :)


Benefits of becoming a registered Pet Partners team:
· Delta Society membership and Interactions magazine,which includes a section for Pet Partners.
· $1 million primary liability insurance. Click HERE for more information.
· Identification badge for handler and collar tag for animal.
· Referral to facilities searching for Pet Partners teams.
· Exclusive offers on Pet Partners accessories.
· Opportunity to network with other Pet Partners teams.
· Access to licensed Evaluators and Instructors as local resources.
· Support from the Delta Society office.
· You will also have the satisfaction of helping people in need in your own community!


How to Become a registered Pet Partners Team
There are just four steps:
Pre-Requisites for becoming a registered Pet Partners team
Step 1: Train the 'Human-End' of the Leash by attending a Pet Partners Team Training Course
Step 2: Have the Health of Your Animal Partner Screened by a Veterinarian
Step 3: Have Your Human-Animal team's Skills & Aptitude Evaluated
Step 4: Submit Your Registration Application
http://www.deltasociety.org/Page.aspx?pid=261
 

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My border collie mix is delta cert, and zulu will be once she is old enough, they require them to be a year or older, but she is so laid back already she shouldnt have any problems when we get to that point. It is an amazing program, and the dogs seem to enjoy themselves.

When did Home Depot and lowes start allowing dogs??? This is exciting, we are always looking for more socialization possibilities. Is it all of the stores or just in your area?
 

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The lowes and home depot have always allowed dogs here although they don't actually advertise it. The local airport does as well so Merc and Jup have ridden in elavators already, been around escalators and giant dead stuffed bears and mountain lions already, lol. We took them there one at a time just for the experience. I don't know if many airports allow dogs to be in the lobby areas and places other than the actual terminals or not but luckily ours does.
 

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Thats awesome, i knew about the airports, most do allow dogs btw, i guess horizons broaden every day!! Thank you!
 

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We've been asked to leave some stores (i.e., HomeDepot when a new manager came and the last time I shopped their I remember a 'home made' sign that said "Service Dogs Only" and Blockbuster, I think the manager there changed too- and the girl was a total b!tch about it and threatened to call the local law enforcement- I think there was something really wrong with this girl! I soon canceled my BB subscription that evening and switched over to Netflix:thefinger:)

But on topic, and to a more positive note, I've taken Ocsi to Petsmart and Petco obviously, we also go to Bed Bath & Beyond, HomeDepot, Micheal's and on occasion I take him with me to Nordstrom. I have flown with my dog, but every airport I have been to says the dog can be in the terminal, but once past security MUST stay in their confined carry on bag.

But on the note of Nordstrom; if you have a dog that is already trained and an angel to everyone- he'll really have a great time there. I took Ocsi with me shortly after our registration paperwork was completed and we had received our Delta Society vest to make a mock visit to 'sick patients.' Oh Ocsi loved it! He was greeted so nicely by everyone and had such a great time (he even helped me pick some shoes while we were there- shh don't tell anyone). :)


How's the training coming along? Any tips I can offer?
Will you train with a halti, or just using a collar?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks for all the info Sparkle&Spunk!! We're still working with basic obedience, listening to commands and responding, etc. He responds really slowly to commands sometimes... He knows I'm asking him to sit, and he'll look around like "But..but..." and will finally sit but it takes him too long. When he's fully "awake" and energetic he does great, and is very responsive and does commands correctly, but some days he just doesn't feel like it lol. He still listens, but obviously doesn't want to.

My big problem with him is I don't have any convenient, high value treats for him. I have some training treats from the store, but he doesn't really care about them. He likes meat and stuff, but also quickly loses his enthusiasm if he doesn't get enough of them (and I only have so much meat to spare!). I can't find a treat that will REALLY get his attention in distracting areas (like the store or outside) which is a really huge part of the problem for us. Any suggestions on what I can do here??

Will using a halti help with control or keeping his attention? He doesn't have a problem with LLW when we're moving, but has a tendency to want to check things out if I'm standing still and there's stuff around (like in a pet store) and will tug on the leash to get to something. Maybe a halti would discourage this sort of behavior, and keep him from pulling at all? I don't mind him moving around to innocently sniff stuff, but absolutely no pulling is allowed by me.
 

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