|Therapy Dog Instruction
Major & Hope visiting a hospital
Are you looking for a new and meaningful way to work with your dog? Do you want to improve the lives of those who because of illness or disability would benefit from visits with a volunteer canine "emotional therapist"? Then think about becoming a Therapy Dog Team and you will create the kind of magic that enriches lives.
Therapy Dogs, along with their owners or handlers, have been trained to work safely with people who have special needs, such as the developmentally or physically disabled. Shore Service Dogs provides training for dogs and their handlers who wish to become a Therapy Dog team. Our program focuses heavily on canine socialization to many kinds of experiences likely to occur in a therapy setting, and behavior modification to alleviate your dog's natural fears of unusual and unpredictable behavior and imposing equipment that are frequently found in medical and nursing facilities.
To be accepted into this advanced training program, dogs must first possess their American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Good Citizen certification. This certification serves as a basis for the new skills they must learn to progress to the level of a Therapy Dog. Therapy Dogs International (TDI) utilizes the AKC Canine Good Citizen Test as a key component of its therapy dog assessment and is the basis for the more advanced TDI certification test that allows dogs to become Therapy Dogs. Following Therapy Dog training, dogs are eligible to take an exam administered by a certified TDI evaluator, where, upon successfully passing this test, the dog will receive their Therapy Dog certification.
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About Therapy Dog International
TDI is a volunteer group organized to provide qualified handlers and their Therapy Dogs for visitations to institutions, facilities, and other places where Therapy Dogs are utilized. Membership in this select group of canine "candystripers" includes both purebred and mixed breed dogs. Each of these dogs are tested and evaluated for Therapy Dog work by Certified TDI Evaluators. It should be noted that while many dogs provide love and companionship in the home, not all are qualified or have a suitable temperament to be a Therapy Dog. TDI's standards, pertaining to temperament of the potential therapy dog, are extremely high.
The Therapy Dog International's Therapy Dog Test Topics
Major bringing a smile.
The Therapy Dogs International test covers all of the topics covered on the Canine Good Citizen exam, which can be found at www.akc.org, as well as the following topics.
Reaction to medical equipment
The dog should be tested around medical equipment (such as a wheelchair, crutches, cane, walker, or other devices which would ordinarily be found in a facility) to judge the dog's reactions to common health care equipment.
Leave It - The handler with the dog on a loose leash walks past food on the ground (placed within a distance of three feet) and, upon command, the dog should ignore the food.
Acclimation to Infirmities - This test demonstrates the dog's confidence when exposed to people walking with an uneven gait, shuffling, breathing heavily, coughing, wheezing or other distractions that may be encountered in a facility.
Say Hello - The TDI Certified Evaluator will test the willingness of each dog to visit a person and that the dog can be accessible for petting (i.e., small dogs can be placed on a person's lap or can be held, medium and larger dogs can sit on a chair or stand close to the patient to be easily reached).
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The goal of this class is to prepare a dog for their TDI exam. Therapy Dog instruction includes the following skills:
Shore Service Dogs' Therapy Dog program is comprised of a series of group training sessions with both dogs and owners in a therapy environment. Throughout the training owners will learn how to acclimate their dogs to the unusual and unpredictable circumstances they typically will encounter on the job. There is a strong focus on socialization, particularly that which acclimates the dog to medical equipment, unpredictable surroundings, unusual smells and peculiar movements by people. Included in your course is important information you will need to know when visiting a facility, from the challenge of working with semi-ambulatory patients to others who are emotionally disturbed. Instructors provide demonstrations of skills that students will need to pass the TDI certification test, practice these skills with them, and evaluate each team's readiness for their TDI examination. Please note that due to the variety of surroundings that the dogs will be going into, a medical reference from your vet is required indicating that your dog is current on all vaccinations, has no skin or parasite diseases, has tested negative for heartworm, and has had a negative fecal exam within the past 4 months prior to the class.
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- Socialization to Medical Equipment and Strange Surroundings.
Exposure to Role Played Infirmities.
Sit Politely In A Location That Is Easily Accessible For Petting.
Advanced Food Leave It.
Maintain Training In the Presence of Distractions.
Load Up Calmly Into Vehicle.
Travel In Car Wearing Safety Harness.
Training Schedule and Fees
Shore Service Dogs trainers volunteer their time for the Therapy Dog class. All the instruction fees from this program go towards the education and care of a Service Dog in training.
Therapy Dog training is conducted at the price of $150 which consists of 6 consecutive weeks of instruction including field trips.
Group training sessions occur once a week and are 1.5 hour each. Class dates will be determined upon the preregistration for all the available slots. Classes will be held only twice a year (Spring & Fall) so contact us early to reserve a slot for you and your dog.
Included in your fee are exposure and desensitization to various types of medical equipment, and introduction to various types and varying degrees of disabilities through role playing. At the end of the course, the dog and owner will participate in a final “field trip”, where they will perform a therapy visit while accompanied by a Shore Service Dogs trainer. Instructors will evaluate each team's readiness to take their Therapy Dogs International examination and provide tips for continuing with a consistent training program at home. Information about upcoming TDI tests will be provided.