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I'm curious- how many of you are doing pet therapy with your hounds? I know Baby Duck and Lily will be certified March 5th, and xtineebee and Sebi are working towards this. Bassets are such a natural for this work, and there is such a huge need- I was just wondering if others on the forum were involved in this or interested in it? I would be interested in hearing what you are doing, what your local group is doing, etc-

[ February 12, 2006, 09:04 AM: Message edited by: murraysmom ]
 

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Firstly, congratulations on Murray now being certified as a Therapy dog.

I would love to do that with Toby,as I've seen first hand the effect he can have on children and elderly people, but he is nearly 4 now and wonder if he is too old to do the training.

When I got him from rescue he was 18months old and had obviously never had any training.The reason given for handing him in was because of illness in the family, but I often wonder if his behaviour because of lack of training was the real issue.(perhaps not) In saying that he was not aggressive just wild.I took him to classes and what other dogs took perhaps a couple of weeks to master, Toby took much much longer. He was constantly left behind while other dogs moved up to the next class(got to honestly say here he is not clever by any stretch of the imagination).

So, I guess what I am saying is that, although I would love to do it with him, I wonder if he would be capable of training for therapy work and especially now that he is a good bit older.
 

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Hi Sadeyes- The main thing that therapy organizations look for,besides basic obedience, is for the dog to be dog and people friendly, and to be able to adapt in a relaxed way to new stimuli- wheelchairs, strange smells, sudden movements by someone with a walker, long echoing hallways, etc.-Mainly, you have to be able to control your dog. They are not looking for 'perfect dogs'(I don't think there are any!), and after an initial evaluation, will try to work with you and your dog to smooth out any rough spots. If you are interested, maybe you could have Toby evaluted by your local pet therapy group and see what they think- There really is such a need- some of the nursing home folks we've visited don't have much of a reason to get out of bed in the morning other than for something like this. The therapy groups will really try to work with you and help you to get certified.(As far as age- we had a 12 year old retired search and rescue lab in our class who just got his therapy certification yesterday!)

[ February 12, 2006, 05:05 PM: Message edited by: murraysmom ]
 
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Gosh I am so glad you brought this up. I would like to get Maggie (6yr) basset into this. I think she would be great at this and she is really relaxed and easy going! I've even taken her to my daughters class with 18 4yr olds and she was fine. Even gave some kisses! How do you get involved and what groups are you talking about? I guess what I'm saying is how do you get in contact with them? I would love any information you can give please.

Thanks

Jen
 

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http://www.tdi-dog.org/

Hi Jen-Here is the web address of Therapy Dogs International- Delta Society is another national organization that you can Google. The national organizations can give you the name of a local group to contact.I think these web sites are good and will give you an overview of the certification process for these groups. Some local organizations do not require passing the Canine Good Citizen test, rather, they rely on 'on the job' learning- I'm not familiar with what is available in your part of the country, but the sites I gave you can get you started. You can also contact a local nursing home or hospital and ask if any local groups are doing visits- I think they would be happy to give you the contact info. for the local group.While some hospitals might let you visit without belonging to an organization, you would not be insured if there was an accident involving your dog. If I can help you in any way, you can send me a PM via Cyberhound- and if you do decide to go ahead with this,please let me know how it's going- I really am curious as to what other organiizations are doing in their parts of the country!Good luck!!

[ February 12, 2006, 05:18 PM: Message edited by: murraysmom ]
 

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I agree with Murraysmom, there is such a need. there are several groups in our area, one of them is pretty big meaning they cover a very large geographical area here and they are always getting more requests than they can handle. I would certainly contact a local evaluator and they could tell you what you need to work on with her dog. Sadeyes, I wouldn't worry about it taking Toby a while. Lily is in her fourth advanced class, not the fourth level the same class for the fourth time. but she is progressing. Her problem was down/stay, but she seems to finally have the hang of it.
Here is a link for TDIs test requirements.
murraysmom is right if you think it is something you would enjoy, there are really not enough dog/handler teams to go around and so many places are realizing the benefits of dogs visit people.
http://www.tdi-dog.org/tditesting.html
 
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Thanks so much for the information. I am going to start working on this tomorrow. But just one thing how many hours to do you have to do in a week or month? I have two small kids that are in preschool but I only have 2 days a week without them that I could go. (kids Ages 20 months and 4 yrs old)But I do have time in the evenings when my husband is home. Just didn't know if I should wait another 3 years when they are in school. I love to do this kinda thing though. This is really something close to my heart because my grandma had someone bring a dog into her when she was terminally ill in the hosptial. And she was so excited and happy about it.

What do you think?
 

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I think you will be able to do as much or as little as you want and not feel pressured by anyone. Volunteers come from all kinds of situations, and eveyone just does what is comfortable. Because I work full time right now, I have committed to just one regular visit each month at a local nursing home. BUT- our local organization posts an online calendar, and when I see something I want to do and feel like I have the time, I join in. So last month I did my regular visit, but also saw posted a Saturday afternoon group event at another area nursing home with 12 therapy teams.Some of the members have dogs who do tricks, so they wanted to put on a 'dog show' for the residents- I had the time so I joined them! It was fun, and memorable, because one of the patients, a frail 90 year old woman who was wheelchair bound,actually started weeping when Murray approached her chair- she had bred bassets years ago and was overjoyed to spend a little time with him! I think you will find your own comfort level, whether it is making visits on a regular basis or just when you feel like it and have the time-
 
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Ok thanks so much! I will start working on this. I am so excited! Thanks for all the information. You are a big huge help!

Jen
 

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Thanks for that info. I was always of the opinion that therapy dogs were highly trained,along the lines of dogs for the blind, and to a lesser degree police dogs. Was surprised that basic obedience and and temprement seem to be the main requirements.

Discussed Toby with the dog trainer and she suggested that he do a refresher course, but thinks he would do well in therapy.(should have mentiond in my last post that he did eventually finish all classes and get his certificates, it just took a lot longer than most)

His weak spots seem to be that he thinks any food either in someone's hand or anywhere else, is free for the taking, (unless I say 'leave it' before he gets to it) and when visiting friends, he heads for the couches and the beds. These are areas that I am now trying to work on.

Thanks again for that info Murray'smom and Melissa it was the kick-start that I needed.
 

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Hi Sadeyes- good luck with this! You'll realize quickly that there is a huge and increasing demand for more therapy teams. Our local group is very active and we are always looking for new ideas from other therapy groups.For example, we just started a program with the area Hospice organization to foster the animal companions of their patients until they can be placed in permanent homes with family members or by breed rescue. It gives terminally ill folks real peace of mind to know that someone will look after their pets when they are gone. I would love to know what other organizations are doing- and I would love to hear how you and Toby are doing as you go through training- please keep me posted!
 
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