If you are visiting this page, then you may be interested in getting your dog into Therapy Dog work. A therapy pet could be a dog, cat, pot bellied pig, mini and full sized horses, donkey, guinea pigs, rabbits, rats, llamas, alpacas or birds.
Therapy pets are best known for bringing affection, happiness and comfort to those who are confined in nursing homes, hospitals, or assisted living facilities. Some people are there for short stays and miss their own animals or others are there for extended or permanent residence and can no longer have pets.
Sometimes, these people don't get visits from family and friends who are to busy in their own lives, they are uncomfortable visiting in these facilities or they may not have family at all. Connecting with the therapy dog can bring a smile and warm memories to someone who may be feeling lonely, neglected or ill. Seeing the smile on their face and they pet or cuddle with the pet makes it all worth while.
Therapy animals can also be found helping someone with learning difficulties, helping people with physical or mental therapy, and helping people recover during stressful situations. They can be found helping people from children to the elderly. As a therapy volunteer, you need to find a facility that is a good fit for you and your pet.
A therapy pet is good for a patient's physical, mental, emotional and social state. By engaging with the animal it can help some people better relate to their environment and help to have them participate in process of their treatment and recovery.
A therapy pet is an animal that has the right temperament. They are friendly, patient, confident, gentle, and at ease with strangers of all shapes and sizes. The should provide unconditional acceptance for whomever they meet. They must enjoy excessive petting. They must be a calm animal; that is not fidgety and moving constantly. They do not need to preform any special tricks, just be there for the person that they are visiting at the time.
If you are interested in getting some training for your dog, I offer both private dog training or group classes. We can start with a puppy offering our puppy socialization class all the way up to therapy training class. With an older dog, if they already have a basic understanding of obedience, than the class that I would recommend to get started would be the Canine Good Citizen class. This will give you some of the basic skills and manners that are essential to becoming a therapy dog.
There are different groups out there that Talk Dog Toledo certifies Therapy animals with. I work with two of them. Alliance of Therapy Dogs at www.therapydogs.com and Therapy Pets Unlimited at www.therapypetsunlimited.org Both have different requirements to becoming a therapy dog or pet. Please review their information and decide which company works best for you.
Bear in mind that should you be allowed to visit a workplace with your therapy dog, following ATD's procedures, no one other than the handler can take control of the leash. Therapy dogs must be on-leash and remain under control while visiting with people in the workplace. If you are bringing your dog to your workplace during your normal work hours, ATD insurance will not be in effect. You will have to provide your own insurance to cover your dog. If you are doing an ATD visit with your dog in someone else’s workplace, or at your own workplace when you are not actually being paid to work, ATD insurance does cover you.
If you are interested in having your dog become a therapy dog in the community, Talk Dog Toledo is starting classes to help you be on your way. These classes prepare both the dog and the owner to becoming a registered therapy dog. Once you have finished your classes and certification, teams can visit participating animal programs in hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, schools and other facilities.
In the class you will learn the skills needed to prepare you and your dog for the therapy environment. We will work on skills that include working around medical equipment, unpredictable circumstances, load noises, distractions, medical scents and even have mock visits.
Prerequisite for Therapy Dog training:
Recommended dog training classes to obtain goal of being a therapy dog- Basic Obedience, Canine Good Citizen, then Talk Dog Toledo's Therapy class.
Class includes 7- 1 hour classes- Cost $200.00
There must be at least 3 participants in a class.
Topics covered: Determining stress and calming signals in your dog, ethics, liability, handling difficult situations, animal health and safety, interacting with special people.
After completing the class, you can decide which program would best suit your needs. Either the Alliance of Therapy Dogs or Therapy Pets Unlimited. Both the groups require an evaluation before you are able to start visiting facilities. A licensed veterinarian must examine your dog and they must pass a health screening. Once you have received your identification cards and information you may contact different facilities to visit.