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How do you know if your dog is "right" for service/therapy?? I know it takes a certain personality, but how do you know? Or do you just enroll in a class and you either pass or fail? I would love to do something like this with Dutch. My DH suffers from severe PTSD due to his tour on Iraq and I think just Dutch's presence has helped him tremendously.
 

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How do you know if your dog is "right" for service/therapy?? I know it takes a certain personality, but how do you know? Or do you just enroll in a class and you either pass or fail? I would love to do something like this with Dutch. My DH suffers from severe PTSD due to his tour on Iraq and I think just Dutch's presence has helped him tremendously.
When thinking about therapy work what I would look for is a dog who is friendly and loves attention but is calm enough to not jump all over people who may be ill or frail. Truthfully the self control can be taught, thought for some dogs it takes longer than with others. There is a fair amount of training that goes into it (or should) so that you have control over the dog in every situation you can think of and the dog himself is confident enough to handle strange things. Wheelchairs freak some dogs outs, they can be taught that the wheelchair is no big deal though. The idea is to have a calm dog that will basicly just sit there and be petted no matter what and perhaps liven up a bit and perform tricks on request. Usually age plays a role, young puppies don't make good working dogs for obvious reasons, they are too puppy-ish :) Although we have taken puppies into places along with working therapy dogs for people to play with, there is nothing cuter than a puppy right, I've never taken a larger breed pup into a facility though.
 

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For the most part Poodle's are very trainable so as long as you practice basic obedience and the dog understands when to calm down you should be able to train him in therapy field.

Like Wonderdog says, sometimes age plays a roll. However, I know for a fact that Eli would make a wonderful therapy now and even at 8 months of age. He is very eager to please, obedient, and know's when to calm down. I also teach my dogs from the beginning to stay off and basic good manner's. For Sting, I wont teach him anything but how to act for the show ring. Later he will learn basic commands.

Im lucky with Eli, he's a very rounded dog. I can go to the backyard and set up my agility equip and he performs. Sometimes I take walks with him and we practice obedience. Then before I knew he wasn't show worthy, I taught him how to show. He speaks on command and pretty much listens to every word I say. He as a puppy was calm, very eager to please, obedient and everything. Sting on the other hand, he's a hand full. He's going to be a great dog to compete with weither its conformation or agility. I can't wait!
 

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I wanted to share a little story with you all about our trip to
Phoenix, in the airport.
Paris and I were changing planes in the DFW airport, walking from one
terminal to the next. This airport is HUGE so we were confused and
walking pretty fast to get to the next flight. Paris is always so
great at walking with me perfectly, but suddenly she stopped and
pulled as hard as she could to the side. I couldn't go on because she
was pulling so hard. Finally I turned around to see why she was doing
this and she was staring as a woman sitting alone waiting for a
different flight. When I looked at the woman she held out her hand to
Paris and Paris took off towards her. There were thousands of people
in this huge airport but only one that Paris focused on.
When Paris reached the woman with her outstretched arms, she put her
hands on Paris' head and broke down crying. I was at a loss for
anything to say. The woman looked up and said to me, "Yesterday my
10 year old standard poodle dropped dead on the grooming table with
no warning at all." Tears streamed down her cheeks as she held Paris,
and she thanked us for helping her get through the day.
How on earth does a dog know??? This isn't the first time she's done
this.
How do you know your dog is right for a Therapy dog? This is how....
 

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What a fantastic story. I am just checking the forum in my lunch break and I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes thinking how wonderful our dogs are. How amazing and how special must it have made this lady feel!
 
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