How did you get started in Therapy work? - Page 2 - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-21-2012, 10:54 PM
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I wanted to find a special activity I could do with Roxy and Elliot individually. I tried agility lessons with Elliot but he got bored and went on a "sit down strike". Roxy loved agility but I needed to find another activity that Elliot and I could do together. He is such a mellow dog and loves everyone, dogs, and cats. Unlike Roxy, he was always a perfect gentleman at dog parks.

I discovered a wonderful book at our library "Therapy dogs: training your dog to help others" by Kathy Davis. (Kathy is active on the DogRead Yahoo group). I realized this was the mission for Elliot and I. My wife was Elliot's handler during our Canine Good Citizen class and he received his certification. The CGC is good training for the therapy dog exam since most organizations base their qualification tests on the CGC test.

Our local community college was sponsoring a Delta Society Pet Partners class so I registered. It was intensive training for the handler using the Delta Society workbook. Our instructor offered a "practice test" at the dog park and it was a great rehearsal for Elliot and I. We passed the official test and qualified for "predictable environments".

Our instructor recruited us for the hospital program and we started weekly visits to the rehabilitation area last January. We are having a great experience. We hope to qualify for the "complex environments" next year so we can visit schools because Elliot loves kids.

Jim

Elliot (CGC, Delta Pet Partner) and Roxy (CGC)


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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-02-2012, 11:49 PM
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When we moved to the States, I had no opportunity to start teaching again, as we did not have the right visa. I still wanted to work with people and after reading about therapy dogs, I decided I wanted to get a puppy and train her for that. After some searching I found a breeder very close to the city where I live and after explaining what I was looking for in a puppy, she selected Tess for me. Tess and I went through several obedience classes and she got her CGC before we took therapy dog classes with Delta.

Tess was a really mouthy pup. Whenever she greeted someone she had to take the hand in her mouth. One day, she was about six months, I took her to the dog park. It was very hot, so she swum in the river and played a little with the ball and then we went back to the car. When we arrived at the car, I wanted to give her some water, so she waited outside. Then a gentleman came up to me and told me his wife was paralyzed and was in the car: could she see Tess? So I took her to the car and there she sat for about fifteen minutes, in the heat, while the lady was stroking her and talking to her. She never bit the lady, she didn't shy away, she just put her head on her knee. That was the moment I knew she was made for this work.

We started therapy work when she was 1 1/2, three days in the week, all in hospitals. So far her youngest patient was ten days old and her oldest a dying lady of 90. She is the gentlest dog I know and everything people do is fine, hugging, pulling her towards them, crying...it's a special kind of job.

Last edited by inge; 11-03-2012 at 10:59 AM.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-03-2012, 12:12 AM
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I'm very interested in this.

I have a feeling Bella has an ideal temperment for therapy work, and I want my two young kids to be involved with something like this.

I was thinking about this before we even selected a breeder.

Grasslands Liberty Belle "Bella" CDX BN PCD CGC UCD (Born 5-7-2012)
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-28-2012, 08:42 AM
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This thread is a little old now, but I'm glad I found it. Our pup comes home in 3 weeks and I'd like something constructive to do with him. He's already enrolled in a January puppy kindergarten class, hopefully our trainer can give us more information on pursuing a therapy dog certification once the little guy is old enough. It seems like at least getting a CGC award is a good place to start.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-28-2012, 11:25 AM
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Getting a CGC is a good start. The therapy dog tests have some similar parts to the CGC and some facilities require a CGC. If you know where you want to do your work, I'd suggest contacting their Volunteer Coordinator even before you start training to find out if they have specific requirements. Some facilities require that you be certified by a particular organization such as TDI or Delta. You may also want to check out the websites of the organizations given upthread.


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post #16 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-28-2012, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by TheZ's View Post
Getting a CGC is a good start. The therapy dog tests have some similar parts to the CGC and some facilities require a CGC. If you know where you want to do your work, I'd suggest contacting their Volunteer Coordinator even before you start training to find out if they have specific requirements. Some facilities require that you be certified by a particular organization such as TDI or Delta. You may also want to check out the websites of the organizations given upthread.

Thank you! The trainer who is teaching our puppy class in January happens to be a CGC evaluator, so I'm looking forward to working with her and discussing our options as my puppy matures. Of course all of this depends on the pup's personality, but it'd be a great personal goal for me, as well as a way to give back to the community a little. My grandfather spent 6 months in the hospital last year fighting necrotizing fasciitis (flesh eating bateria) and is still fighting that horrific battle. Because of this, I've been spending way too much time in hospitals and if there's a way I can give back to the folks who have to be there, I would love to help.

I am leaning towards the TDI program at this point, after obtaining a CGC. I've printed a copy of the TDI testing requirements to keep at home, so that we can begin working to these skills early.
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post #17 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-29-2012, 10:28 PM
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I went to an annual Goldheart picnic.
Someone there was talking about Goldstock.
I went to Goldstock and found out about the Therapy Dog International Test.
Chloe passed and the rest is "history".
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