Goose's Therapy Training Thread - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
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post #1 of 45 (permalink) Old 03-15-2018, 09:21 PM Thread Starter
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Smile Goose's Therapy Training Thread

I figured it would be best to create a training thread pertaining to our upcoming therapy dog exam on May 1st! I plan on posting updates regularly for the next couple of months so this is where I'll put everything!

Since Goose passed his CGC on Saturday we have been practicing everyday with heeling on a flat collar and I can see DRASTIC improvements. In only 6 days the choke chain is long gone! The poor boy has even been heeling when it's potty time without me asking! It's pretty hilarious. I found that using two leashes, one on each collar, made the switch seamless since I could easily condition him to respond to light tugs on the flat collar in order to get a good heel.

Today we went to a local Tractor Supply and Lowe's to practice our two minute stays. Can I say that I honestly think time slows down to a trickle during those two minutes? I'm not sure how I'll stand it during the actual exam. Goose can successfully do a down stay for that long about 9/10 times at home but I wanted to add an extra challenge. With shopping carts rolling around him and him laying in the middle of aisles, we did 3 perfect stays in a row!

Next we went to a local college campus to practice heeling in crowds. While he had a little bit of trouble keeping his heel perfect during this, he never pulled and the leash only became tight when I jerked his collar a bit to make him come closer. He was so busy looking at all the people that sometimes he didn't realize he was straying away. I can't believe how well he did!

The only real negative from todays training was that I discovered he is afraid of statues. The statue in question was low to the ground and looked like a person. He was not having it! I did coax him into eating treats off its foot, but he was definitely more than ready to move on! I guess every dog has that one weird thing they are afraid of.

After that we headed to a dog park to have some fun. Goose met a new friend named Jeffery! As you can see from the picture he did not appreciate me giving Jeffery more attention than him. I often call him my little velcro dog because he cracks me up with how attached he is to me! Always has to be mommas center of attention.

Aside from training, does anyone ever carry little cards to hand out that explains the difference between a service dog and therapy dog? I had 3 people ask me questions in Lowe's because they were confused about the difference and it's quite a mouthful to repeat each time. Maybe I'll perfect my speech as time goes on but it was an idea that crossed my mind!

I attached some pictures from today's adventures below!
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Goose Broderick THDN CGCA CGCU TKP (Golden Retriever)
Born 5/1/17

@GooseOfGold- Instagram

Maverick Broderick TKP (Rescue Pup)
Born 12/2/12

Last edited by mbrod12; 03-15-2018 at 09:30 PM.
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post #2 of 45 (permalink) Old 03-16-2018, 08:31 AM
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Great pictures, looks like training went well.
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post #3 of 45 (permalink) Old 03-16-2018, 12:08 PM
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Awwwww, Goose looks awesome!!!!!! Good Luck, Im certain he will pass....he sounds like he's a great listener. My Neeko has been a therapy dog for 4 1/2 yrs. Now (YIkes).... I get asked that all the time... but I just politely explain. Neeko gets new cards made up every year, and I have Therapy dog on it, as well as Therapy Dog on his vest. I cant wait to hear stories that Goose will experience when he gets certified!!!!!

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post #4 of 45 (permalink) Old 03-16-2018, 02:10 PM Thread Starter
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I'm fairly confident he will pass as well, but I would rather over prepare than not be prepared enough! I spoke with his local trainer who will be doing the evaluation for us today and we decided to go for his CGCA on the same day since so many items on the two tests are the same. Might as well kill two birds with one stone.

I just couldn't believe how many people didn't know the difference between service and therapy dogs! One lady in particular asked me "how could you stand to give him away after he's certified" even after I explained that he was a therapy dog! I made up some little card stock slips today that tells the difference between a service dog, therapy dog and emotional support animal and I plan to give people one of those from now on. If nothing else maybe it will educate the public more on the different types of dogs they see!

Tomorrow we will get more practice sitting politely for petting and heeling in crowds at a local St Patrick's day festival and this Sunday we are visiting a family member in a nursing home! We plan to go to the nursing home 3-4 times before the test so that he is familiar with all the medical equipment, smells and sounds.

Also if anyone is curious, we are training for the Love on a Leash test.
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post #5 of 45 (permalink) Old 03-18-2018, 05:04 PM Thread Starter
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Goose went on his first practice visit to see a family member in a nursing home. I figured it would brighten her day as well as be the perfect opportunity to get Goose used to the sights and sounds of medical facilities. I expected him to be scared of a few things since it was his first time, but he acted like he had done it thousands of times before. He greeted people calmly and couldn’t have cared less about the walkers, wheelchairs and strange beeps. He even did a THREE MINUTE down-stay in the hallway! He was a total rockstar and I'm convinced he's a reincarnated therapy dog from the past- he's such a natural! I hate that I have to wait until he turns 12 months for the test because after today I have no doubt he could pass it now. Hurry up May 1st!
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Goose Broderick THDN CGCA CGCU TKP (Golden Retriever)
Born 5/1/17

@GooseOfGold- Instagram

Maverick Broderick TKP (Rescue Pup)
Born 12/2/12
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post #6 of 45 (permalink) Old 03-18-2018, 06:38 PM
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I hope to do therapy training as well. However, I must patiently wait for a puppy first -- I'm hoping the breeders I have sent applications to eventually will contact me (please!). I'm watching Goose's progress with interest. Thank you for continuing your postings in this thread.
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post #7 of 45 (permalink) Old 03-18-2018, 09:46 PM
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Sounds like he's a natural...Go Goose!!!!

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post #8 of 45 (permalink) Old 04-04-2018, 10:38 AM Thread Starter
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Update 4/4/18

After a brief scare over a stiff hind leg, Goose has taken the past couple of weeks off. The vet was able to diagnose him with pano from the x-rays so everything is luckily okay! We even found out that he has perfect hips, elbows and knees so I guess the scare was worth it in the long run.

Next week Goose will start an intermediate trick dog class. While this may not seem directly related to therapy work, I'm taking the class to keep him "working" around other dogs and people until his behavior evaluation on May 1. Plus a new title isn't a bad deal either! I've talked to the trainer that will be evaluating him for his therapy test and since the requirements are so similar, we are actually going to test Goose for his CGCA, CGCU, and therapy dog evaluation all on the same day! If he manages to pass all three tests I'll have to find something really good to celebrate. Maybe a doggie birthday cake since he will be turning 1 that same day?

He's also doing his first ever Rally trial on April 14th and 15th. While I'm super nervous about how he will do, seeing how well he can focus and pay attention in a busy environment like that will be a good indicator for his behavior in a hectic hospital situation! I even got some super cute crate signs for both dogs off of Etsy (I'm going to try and do Dock Diving with Maverick this Summer so he has one too). I keep telling myself that I don't care if he NQ's, I'm just there for fun and practice.

In the meantime I've worked out logistics with a local nursing home so that he can do his 10 practice visits in May/early June. It was surprisingly difficult to find a place to let us do the practice visits since a lot of local facilities had policies in place stating that they had to be already certified. I kept describing it to people as being similar to the situation when you need experience to get a job, but you need a job to get experience (any new college graduate will probably understand what I mean by this). But the nursing home finally said yes! This location is a little busier than the nursing home he was in previously so I'm anxious to see how he reacts to different areas- particularly the dining hall! Looks like practicing stricter "leave-its" may be in order for the next couple of weeks.

Either tomorrow or on April 19 we will be going to a local "Bark in the Park" baseball game. Not only is this going to be a blast, but if I can hold his attention there I'm fully confident I can hold it anywhere. Plus baseball AND dogs (and let's face it maybe a couple of $1 adult beverages)? Sign me up.

All in all, things are progressing nicely and I keep trying to get him out in different environments as much as reasonably possible.
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post #9 of 45 (permalink) Old 04-04-2018, 10:40 AM Thread Starter
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Here are a couple of pictures just for fun!
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Goose Broderick THDN CGCA CGCU TKP (Golden Retriever)
Born 5/1/17

@GooseOfGold- Instagram

Maverick Broderick TKP (Rescue Pup)
Born 12/2/12

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post #10 of 45 (permalink) Old 04-06-2018, 07:31 AM
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You and Goose sound very busy, hope the practice visits go well and you enjoy the Rally events.

He's a good looking boy, lots of snow.....
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