When & How will you know if you have a good therapy dog candidate???

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When & How will you know if you have a good therapy dog candidate???

This is a discussion on When & How will you know if you have a good therapy dog candidate??? within the Working Dogs forums, part of the Dog Shows and Performance category; I guess the title sums it all up... when do you know the dog's true temperament and not just puppy personality and how do you ...

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Old 05-24-2012, 04:39 PM
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When & How will you know if you have a good therapy dog candidate???

I guess the title sums it all up...

when do you know the dog's true temperament and not just puppy personality and how do you know if the dog would make a good therapy dog?

I ask because my pup since 9 weeks has been one way with our family (feisty, crazy) but he seems to have a way with fearful people. He will sit down for them and just be patient and let them approach at their own speed. I don't know..he's bee pretty easy to train and I was just wondering if he could be suited for something more.
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Old 05-24-2012, 08:27 PM
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Sounds possible. How about getting his AKC cgc, then having him evaluated by a good trainer, preferable with service dogs? How old is the pup now?
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Old 05-24-2012, 09:21 PM
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4 months. So he hasn't hit the teen rebellion stage and he could lose that sweetness I guess. He's been super sweet with 3 fearful people I can think of and then a few babies that were more or less unleashed on him against my wishes. I was holding him thankfully so I still had control of the situation. I picked up my kids and their friend who rides with us some (and he is one of the fearful kids) from preschool and the fearful friend was so proud to introduce the class to Bosco as HIS friend (this is my church's preschool). Then the little girls wanted to see him so we did his repertoire of tricks and commands for them and to my amazement the little girl who screams at almost EVERYTHING in fear and is afraid of her dogs at home acc to her mom was just beaming ear to ear and asked me if she could feet him from her hand. I've known this child for 4 years or so and that is the most engaged and happy I've ever seen her away from her mother.

That's not to say he is perfect. He is in that puppy stage and he is mouthy! The thing is he only does that with the people under our roof. We even had guests one weekend and he didn't bother them, just us. He's getting better with the "leave it" command.
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Old 05-24-2012, 09:35 PM
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I'm sure if you continue with good training he will be great!
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Old 05-24-2012, 10:01 PM
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It sounds like your puppy has the potential for this!

I'm in the process of having one of my dogs certified right now. He'll be my second therapy dog. It really is a very rewarding experience!

Assuming you want to test and join a specific organization (I highly recommend this as your membership will include insurance just in case something does happen) you will not be able to test until your pup is atleast one year old. Though be sure to check on age requirements before testing as they could vary from one organization to another.

Definitely work towards and earn your CGC first, like Julie suggested. It will give you a really nice head start, not to mention that therapy dog certification tests (atleast those I am familiar with) include most/all of the CGC tests. You may even want to consider trying for your S.T.A.R. Puppy before the CGC if tesing is available in your area.

And IMO the best Therapy Dogs are social, calm, gentle, affectionate, stable, and well trained. Basically a bomb proof dog! There are just so many things from unsteady/shaky movement of the eldery to medical equipment to the unpredictable nature of children that they need to be comfy with.

Here are a few sites for you to look over. If you have any questions feel free to ask! I'll do my best to help out!
AKC's Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Program
Therapy Dogs International

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Old 05-24-2012, 10:49 PM
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I have been reading the requirements for CGC and TDI and he does many things already. It is just going to take repetition to make it 100% in all situations. For example He will sit every time I say in the house, but I need to make that generalized to everywhere we go. He's also good with leave it, down, and recall. I need to work on stay now that he has down and sit and we also need to do this with increasing levels of distractions.

We walk to the crosswalk every day to pick up my son and it's like 100 kids storming across on bikes and I just realized he has never barked at them. He doesn't bark at cats and I got him in 1 session to quit barking at the frog (with questionable intelligence) in our back yard. BUT> he barks like a mad man at a broom EVERY time so I really have some things to work on. Good thing we have 8 more months to even consider doing it. If at the 1 year mark I no longer feel this way at least I will have a better behaved dog for it. We will shoot for CGC because if his temperament doesn't pan out we will at least have a very pleasant companion with good manners. THANKS!!!!
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Old 06-07-2012, 02:43 AM
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I have a pup who i think is a natural for this. She's so gentle, slow moving, gorgeous puppy dog eyes that remain in her juvenile face still.
So i read up about DeltaSociety. Its an aussie version of the training you mention. But she has to be 18 months old before they will accept her.
So meanwhile, she's been coming to work with me for the first 10 months, where she has been assisting my clients that i give counselling to in groups. she is the group counsellor, and will sit with anyone who is crying, and give them a cuddle. She's very soft with it. She's a rottie for goodness sake, and has won every single group member over. Despite some people being extreemly wary at the sight of her initially.
And as each individual counselling session is 50mins, she's been doing 50 minute down stays for ages!
I cant wait to take her to this training. She deserves a certificate for what she can do allready i think.
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