Therapy training :)
Hello everyone, I'm new here and I had quick question...
I am a psychology major studying the positive emotional effects that therapy dogs have on children with disabilities and/or chronic illnesses. Because of this I have decided to get both of my Cavaliers certified as therapy animals. I've started with their basic obedience classes (Sprinkles is 6 months and Lexie is 2) but I'm not sure where to go from there. Any advice would be amazing :) I know my dogs will love this experience since after all, what could be better than playing with and getting petted by sweet people everyday?
Try to find a therapy dog group (TDI-DOG.org, or others). They'll have info about how to get started.
The first thing is to get temperament evaluated. They'll test how your dog reacts to things like crutches, wheelchairs, walkers, and children. You can help your dog by getting them used to these things before you go for testing.
I a Social Worker and I too am starting down that road with my five month old Cavalier. We have started with basic obedience and plan to work towards getting out CGC (Canine Good Citizen) here in the states. I also want to continue with obedience training until he reaches the advance level and then take refresher classes as needed.
I would contact a local training center as they will be able to point you in the right direction, as it may differ from state to state.
My mother has an English cocker spaniel and she took and passed the CGC test and is able to go to nursing homes and hospitals for visits.
Thank you all so much! Both Lexie and Sprinkles have been evaluated for temperament (both passed and were given a certificate). They said our next step was obedience training which is where we are now. We're working through a local hospital who has a therapy animal program. They seem to think that both Lexie and Sprinkles can be certified soon but from what I read it takes a while...I'll definitely look into contacting some groups. Thanks so much!