Therapy Work

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Therapy Work

This is a discussion on Therapy Work within the Working Dogs forums, part of the Dog Shows and Performance category; Well look at me go being the first post!! lol.. I'm excited about this thread because I've been invovled in Therapy work for about 2 ...

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Old 01-05-2010, 08:39 AM
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Therapy Work

Well look at me go being the first post!! lol.. I'm excited about this thread because I've been invovled in Therapy work for about 2 years now. I got started by Volunteering to visit Hospice Patients with my Shih-tzu, Pandora..But that ended up not working out because Pandora passed away before we got to visit anyone. However, I decided to go through with it anyway, without her..

Coincidentally, My hospice Coordinator raised Shih-tzu's, and introduced me to my Sweet Payslee bird! So from 8 weeks on, I worked on training, socializing, and getting her ready for visits. We went to a class taught by "New Leash on Life" and hooked up with them because they place therapy teams. Payslee & Sawyer received their Canine Good Citizenship and Therapy Certification at the End of September, and we have been visiting since then! Payslee (so far) is much better at it than Sawyer, but I'm still working with him, and hoping to get him to enjoy it as much as she does. She Loves It.. We go to Nursing Homes, assisted living centers, Veterans Hospitals, schools, and other places where they ask us..We go every Thursday, and a couple of other times throughout the weeks, just depending on the schedule. Here's some pics from our recent visits!! Smiley Sawyer!

(As you can tell, Miss Pays loves what she does)


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Old 01-05-2010, 08:41 AM
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A few more..
Payslee with her 'team member' Fudge, the Chocolate Lab

At the VA Center..This gentleman just loved her!

Thanks for looking.. We LOVE going, and its very rewarding work!
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Old 01-05-2010, 07:46 PM
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LOVELY

We are -when we get time-errr really me-putting Mikey through the program so he can volunteer at my work (I work in palliative care too) -I do pet therapy with my rabbits-just a few times. But I think he'd love it-first step is CGC test then the course. Any tips at all?

Thanks for sharing the pictures-people just really benefit from these visits Your doing a great thing.
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Old 01-06-2010, 12:21 AM
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ooo that is nice... i'm hoping that i can one day get clover to a point to do this with him too!
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Old 01-06-2010, 02:52 AM
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Oh thats wonderful you do this. Its on our to do list...our ever so long to do list.
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Old 01-06-2010, 06:17 AM
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Yes, CGC is the first step, although we tested for both the CGC and Therapy test on the same day because there is very little difference. You have to do a couple of extra things for the therapy test. Here is the Therapy Testing Brochure to tell you what they look for. Payslee had Zero trouble passing, she aced it..Now Sawyer.. Oh..little..Sawyer..lol. I had to work my a** of with him, because he is my stubborn, but so smart tzu, that only wants to do things on HIS terms. Payslee's currency is food, and pleasing me..Sawyer's currency is Sawyer most days..And during the test you are not allowed to use treats to get your dog to do what you ask, so that makes it quite a battle since that is the ONLY way I could convince Saw to do anything! He passed, but not nearly as excellent as Payslee did. Payslee is much better at the 'therapy' thing overall because I started training her for it (manners, accepting people, kids, socialization, etc) when I brought her home at 8 weeks. I didn't get Saw until he was 16 weeks old, and he had been raised in a cage with no socialization, or basically anything..so I had my work cut out for me, but with each visit he warms up to more people and begins to love it. He's the sweetest boy, but just very shy, and with therapy dogs "Shy" dogs are interpreted as "The Dog doesn't Like me" and it hurts their feelings, so you really want the dog to LOVE strangers..lol..
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Old 01-06-2010, 03:30 PM
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thanks for sharing that brochure link... definitely need to check that out...
clover has a long way to go, and i'm not sure if he'll quite get there, but it cannot hurt to have that as a goal!
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Old 01-09-2010, 04:08 PM
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I did visits at one of the local skilled nursing facilities (so my experience is only with OLD often alzheimers) with my Bullmastiffs (Basher and Lunk). They were both great for it because the folks could reach them from their bed or chair, both were VERY docile and tolerant and really seemed to enjoy it. Both dogs were very intuitive about who to visit and who not too and often a nurse would stand in awe at how these BEASTS could gently get on the edge of a bed or KNOW what room to go into.

I visited for about six months with Norbert....our Rhodesian Ridgeback but his training and time involvement didn't counter his natural need to put his feet up on things and this is not good with old people with tissue thin skin.

Widget, my Brussels has gone on and off for years and then I changed jobs and got sick with a "suck the life out of you mystery disease"and it was not possible. Now that my job and my health are more agreeable I have debated getting Widget, her daughter Adidas and the Wart into it. Wart I think is too fragile physically though great in other ways.....violent hugs is a real danger with alzheimers. But the others would do well.

The facility I always have visited does NOT have requirements for visiting dogs (lots of familys bring in their pets for visits) AMAZINGLY I thought. I started when a part time fill in job as a bedmaker brought me to the place.

For me and the dogs I want to get the CGC and TD work done anyway. Ahh for enough hours in a day!

It is very rewarding work, but exhausting for you and the dogs and I have known dogs (with TD certification and not) that burned out of it. Your dog has to have a good deal of self control (if they get pinched or whatnot) , very very tolerant of being mauled and have a very sweet personality or it is really WORK for them. Nice thing is is how tired out the dogs are when they are done with an hour or so visit! Training is obviously a must. Not just basic obedience but 'tricks' is lots of fun too. Widget would "help" the residents bowl (with a beach ball and hollow plastic pins). And very important is the whole not putting their feet up. Even in a loving way a paw pad or nail can just lay open old skin.
The other more difficult constraint can be that some places with regular residents really benefits from regular visits. Even if the residents don't remember who you or your dog is and ask names a half dozen times they do feel a familiarity with regular visits. So for me it helped to make a weekly visit, "same bat time, same bat channel. " (Ok, think I am dating myself)
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Old 01-29-2010, 04:11 PM
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I have, throughout my entire life, been on the receiving end of this type of therapy and visits from doggies! I have had two transplants, and been chronically ill my entire life. While I have always had at least two dogs back home, I always found the dogs were a real boost to my getting better when I was in the hospital- not just because "Oh look, a cute dog!" but because it reminds me of how much I want to get home, and puts me back on the trail of doing whatever I can and staying positive about seeing my own pets again.

I was just in the hospital this past week for a really bad infection in my transplanted kidney. While I was in I missed my doggie so much it hurt, but I met a great pryanese that brightened my day to no end! Dogs are such an important part of my life, that when I see one it truly medicates my soul

I would love to do therapy work with Tegan, I think he's too shy though... he LOVES people, but is overly submissive so I fear he would pee in hospitals if a man approached us too quickly heehee!
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Old 04-19-2010, 06:03 PM
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Sweet!
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