View Full Version : Therapy Cavalier's??? Anyone...

19th June 2012, 08:40 PM
Hello all, so I'm looking for advice on having Fletcher and I learning to be a therapy dog. Well, ok I don't wanna be a dog, but you get the idea. Is there anyone on CT who has experence with this in the U.S., I can find 2 organizations that offer cert's in my area, the requirements to pass the test are very easliy stated and understood. My problem is Fletcher needs a bunch of obedence classes to learn all this stuff. Sure, he's just a puppy now but if I plan on giving this a go I need to start puppy classes......that's where it gets hard. Plus I'm hoping this training is fun and bonds us even closer, I want to have fun!!!!!!!

So IF you have any experence with therapy dogs please let me know. Right now it feels like an underworld I can't get into...... :)

Thank you,


20th June 2012, 12:14 AM
Hi Melissa,

I plan on doing this eventually with Sonny too! Sonny has only attended puppy school or obedience 1, but that is about it. We are starting his next level of obedience classes this summer. After I feel confident in his obedience skills I plan to have him take the Canine Good Citizen Test. I think then the next step is to decide what organization you are going to do the pet therapy through whether it is a hospital, non-profit , private practice , ect. I am guessing that each organization probably has an evaluation or specific test that the dog would need to pass. One of the programs I looked at briefly was TDI (therapy dogs international) I am not sure if this is the organization I will try to get involved with or not. I haven't really started researching yet. I'm sure others will have better advice! I am interested to hear other's input. This is a great thread!

20th June 2012, 12:30 AM
Melissa, I plan on doing this too with BB. I have found organizations that do the certification pretty easily with a google search. I am heading to TX right now but once I get there I will PM you the link, maybe they will have the secret code or just be able to make a recommendation close to you.

20th June 2012, 12:33 AM
Melissa & Ashleighelizabeth...
We have a couple at our church that does this..and they work through this network.
Don't know if you have already checked into them?..but from what they have said..they like it.
If you click TESTERS/OBSERVERS.... and then put in your state..there are people you can contact that will give you more information on how to get started.

20th June 2012, 01:25 AM
I have looked into it. That said, I don't think either of my dogs matured with the temprament to be therapy dogs. My rescue Sparky gets excited and barks too much and Lucky gets agitated at other dogs. (long story ... I now blame all his issues on my druggie ex-dog walker ...)

We have talked about doing Therapy with my sister's English Toy (aka King Charles) Gemma. She has the PERFECT temprament for therapy.

A couple things to keep in mind:

1) most organizations require a dog to be at least a year to do therapy
2) if you decide to feed Raw to Fletcher then Delta is not an option for you (I feed my guys a dehydrated raw). Delta does not allow raw for what they claim to be sanitary reasons.

Good luck. I'd just focus on training now and when he's a year old if he's doing great and capable of passing his Caninie Good Citizen class, then he'll likely be a great prospect for Therapy.

20th June 2012, 01:38 AM
A huge thing is just getting them used to "medical stuff", wheelchairs or people walking with an IV drip, or a walker can be absolutely terrifying for someone just a few inches tall. So outside of formal training, visiting or meeting people with "equipment" is really important.

Guinness could never be a therapy dog, he sees the tennis balls on the bottom of a walker, and he tries to rip them off and play fetch. Thistle has a much better temperament for therapy.

20th June 2012, 03:37 AM
I do pet therapy with my dogs and love it. The clients love the dogs and I enjoy getting out and visiting people. I have trained through delta society.

Your dog doesn't have to be perfect, but as a team you have to know your dog's limits. My dog is a wild child but loves to visit. His visits are very different from what I would do with my Sunshine. For her visits would do long individual visits, but with my BB we do short visits to many people. Delta society will match the team (you and your dog) to the type of visit your dog will like.

I almost forgot to add, your dog needs to be a year old to be a therapy pet through delta. The best training you can do now is socialize your dog.

20th June 2012, 08:33 AM
My Tess is all ready to be a therapy dog through our local SPCA/Humane Society. She has passed her CGC test and the SPCA test. They sent me a bunch of paperwork, and I just need to fill it out. She will be a reading volunteer at the local library. They bring dogs in and allow the children to read stories to them. It helps the children in many ways. we may venture into hospitals and senior centers at some point also. My daughter is the primary handler and that will depend somewhat on her interests. The dogs do need to be at least one year old, and every organization has its own set of rules, tests, and types of assignments. It's certainly not too soon to begin with the training, and figure out which organization you might want to work through. Good luck!

20th June 2012, 12:22 PM
There we go....thanks all I know I turned to the right place! My ultimate goal would be the visit children in a hospital. We have a very large very good children's hospital in my area. I would love to combined my love of kids with my love of dogs. I know the hospital will require background checks and such but that is NOT a problem (in childcare in my state you need 3 background checks done every 3 yrs) I believe Fletcher may have the temperament for it too. But we will see, I also understand training is work but it should be fun work for the both of us. But now I have the info I need thanks again.


21st June 2012, 12:17 AM
My dog Luke is a therapy dog. We started this year, and he is certified through Therapy Dogs International. One of the tips I would have for someone who is interested in doing it and has a puppy, would be to take the dog everywhere. Take him anywhere they'll let him come in. My dog failed the CGC test the first time we took it because of the supervised separation. When we went to retake that, they had therapy testing at the same time. I figured I'd just sign him up for that too, so I could get an idea of what to work on based on what he failed. He didn't fail though. I think because he had been going to so many places, and seeing so many people and things, none of the stuff was a big deal to him.

21st June 2012, 12:38 AM
Guys thanks again for the great info. I actually applied to start volunteering just myself for now and the children's hospital, just because I have time and want my foot in the door, just in case Fletcher does turn out to do this kind of work. I know he's young now, so its really too early to tell, I have him around as many kids, strangers, dogs, sounds and I do need a puppy class with a club, but the info you all provided was great now I feel like I know what to expect and get to work. Fun work but work. Even if Fletcher and I never actually get to do this together, we will be bonded better from the experience. Just wanted to say thanks again:thnx:


21st June 2012, 02:01 AM
Good for you Melissa! I think you will be amazed at how much of a blessing this volunteer work will be. Since you have a heart for children anyway....perhaps this is exactly the direction you were to be taking. Who knows?..this could open a door to more than you ever dreamed of.
Since Fletcher has about 6 more months before he would meet most organizations requirements..it will give you plenty of time to get used to what the routine would be.

21st June 2012, 02:14 AM
Good for you Melissa! I think you will be amazed at how much of a blessing this volunteer work will be. Since you have a heart for children anyway....perhaps this is exactly the direction you were to be taking. Who knows?..this could open a door to more than you ever dreamed of.
Since Fletcher has about 6 more months before he would meet most organizations requirements..it will give you plenty of time to get used to what the routine would be.

:xctly: this little guy is my new like button


21st June 2012, 04:40 AM
My dog and I have been visiting a local nursing home since February. It's a lot of fun. He is registered with therapy dogs international. I can only suggest you continue to get your dog out and around people and things. I did not additional special preparation for that test. I actually took him for his CGC test, and they had therapy testing at the same time. He failed the CGC the first time because of the supervised separation. So, when we went the second time, and they had the therapy testing. I figured I'd sign him up and see what he failed and needed work on. He passed though. His breeder had thought about keeping him and doing therapy with him, so she started prepping him early on. I just never got around to taking him for the testing until he was 3. Just keep taking your dog out and socializing him. Take him everywhere you can get him in.