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Training To Be A Therapy Dog?

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Training To Be A Therapy Dog?

Postby Denny » Thu Oct 05, 2017 8:22 am

So I plan on purchasing a Border Collie and doing therapy dog training with him through TDI (Therapy Dog International). The testing is listed on their page http://www.tdidog.org/HowToJoin.aspxPage=New+TDI+Test

and I plan on visiting shelters and general hospitals if we pass. Anyone ever done the test and passed or just done the test? And anyone have any suggestions on how to train for this? Thanks
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Training To Be A Therapy Dog?

Postby emerson » Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:52 am

Pick a Border Collie with a calmer temperament. A super high-drive working line BC will not make a great Therapy dog. Pick a dog from a litter that both parents have stable temperament. Pick a dog from a litter that the breeder has done a lot of work exposing them to different things & people. Don't pick a shy puppy. Do lots of socialization with all kinds of people. Exposure to all different kinds of environments. Basic Obedience training. AKC STAR puppy program. AKC CGC (Canine Good Citizen) training & testing.
http://www.akc.org/dogowner/training/can...
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Training To Be A Therapy Dog?

Postby bryten24 » Thu Oct 05, 2017 4:22 pm

I've done therapy dogs, the test is pretty easy. I'm not a fan of TDI or Delta because of their raw diet stipulations but I don't put too much weight on what they say about that either.

First your dog needs to pass the Canine good citizen test. My trainer told me that a dog has to be 1 year old for that, but others on y!a disagreed so..you'll just have to ask whoever you use and see what they are going with.

Next is the TDI, and basically all it is, is repeating the CGC but with extra tests to determine your dog doesn't react to wheelchairs, crutches, hospital equipment, etc and people using them. You will receive a list of TDI certification trainers in your area. Sometimes they will come to you, but mostly you need to go to one of them.

The hardest part of it for one of my dogs with the CGC was she had to be in stay position (either sitting, laying or standing) for 3 minutes without me in her site.


You need to pay an annual due for TDI, and you get a TDI tag and certificate and a list of places to visit that you get signed off when you go.

The reason I had my dogs as therapy dogs was to go to a summer school for special needs children. We did things like show the children how to brush the fur and teeth, and they would have story reading with my dogs right there, plus it was amazing to see autistic children come "out of their worlds" and reach out and interact with the dogs.

When you plan to go to hospitals, rehabs, and nursing homes, just this sounds like common sense and it is but remember the floor is dirty. Dogs can easily get MRSA or bad staph infections, yeast or fungal infections, laying on those floors, and wearing a shirt might help protect your dog's skin, also spraying your dog with apple cider or white vinegar mixed with water after you leave will kill some bacteria.
bryten24
 
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Training To Be A Therapy Dog?

Postby Wanageeska » Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:46 am

I have my own and have trained my own TDI certified Therapy Dogs.

The most important thing the dog needs is the disposition for the job.
You need a dog that has never met a stranger, loves everyone, and has the patience of a saint.
They need to have the ability to connect with people that are not their owners.
They have to be CALM.

It is not too difficult to teach a dog all the elements necessary to pass the test.
Any well trained dog can pass the obedience parts, but they fail working closely around other dogs, or refusing food offered to them, they offer to jump up on a stranger, whine when their owners leave the room ... etc.
For these things it is helpful to take a therapy dog prep class from a TDI evaluator before you test, so you can make sure you and your dog are ready to not only test but to pass the test.

It is easier to find an adult Border Collie with the right disposition (try rescue groups) than hoping the puppy you buy will grow up with the correct disposition it takes to be a therapy dog.
The volunteers that we usually do activities with have all different breeds of dogs, but all are very calm and mellow and easy going animals.

I love doing therapy dog work - we do reading programs with children, nursing home and hospice visits, and stress relief at the Special Olympics.
There are many opportunities out there for therapy dog visits.
It is fun and very satisfying to bring a little sunshine in the day of someone who needs a lift, or to help a child read.

Good luck in choosing a future dog to be your therapy dog! I'm glad you are going with TDI - they are nationally recognized, and you'll have the benefit of their $3,000,000 of liability insurance coverage when you visit.
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Training To Be A Therapy Dog?

Postby bardon » Sat Oct 07, 2017 5:44 am

I am currently training my 1 year old pitbull as a service dog. I'm working with a guy from south Florida who has trained for over 15 years.


Temperament is the biggest thing when it comes to this....it will help you or it will make you work harder to train the dog. I have a friend who has a 4 year old lab that has a very hyper temperment but was trained very well. It just took a little longer. My pitbull is very social and I myself have trained him to walk correctly and listen to commands on point. Just give it time and patience because its worth it when you see the difference a dog can make to so many people. Good lucl
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Training To Be A Therapy Dog?

Postby Braoin » Sat Oct 07, 2017 8:05 am

You have to have a dog with the temperament for it....that is something you cannot "train" into the dog.
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