Therapy Dog Training
A therapy dog is a dog that is specially trained to have exceptional manners and a calm, soothing demeanor. This dog serves others (not it's handler) by providing comfort with it's presence. Some examples of a Therapy dog would be a dog that visits nursing homes, or hospitals.
These dogs are chosen out of the litter specifically for their purpose by conducting a temperament evaluation on the entire litter around 7 weeks of age. It is important to choose a dog that has a naturally calm and confident demeanor. A good therapy dog should be controlled, but also engaging and interactive. If we take a dog with a naturally excited and uxuberant temperament and ask him to be controlled, he will instinctively avoid eye contact and display other avoidant behaviors in order to help him control himself, effectively asking the dog to modify who he or she is, making therapy work not enjoyable but stressful.
When we choose a dog who is naturally suited for their job, the job seems easy and manageable to them, creating joy in their work!
Allison and "Ruby" the Therapy Dog acting as a distraction team during another dog's Service Dog Public Access Test.
Once we choose the correct puppy, we must start with effective early socilization. Because a therapy dog upon completion will need to visit public locations, they require just as much effective puppy socilization as a Service Dog. This can be complex when puppies are not fully vaccinated and shouldn't be walking around in public locations, due to the risk of exposure. At this stage, we use puppy strollers and backpacks to provide superior socilization, with constant interaction to ensure that puppy isn't feeling fearful and if he/she does that we are ready to counteract the stimuli and help our puppy work through fear effectively.
Most puppies are ready to enter more formal leash work and obedience around 5 months of age and typically master this program in a month. Then, they enter the practical application stage of training- taking their obedience and using it in environments similar to their planned work space.
During this month we begin the process of transitioning the dog over to the owner, with weekly meet ups we begin to transition the dog into your home. At this point the dog is around 7-8 months of age.
For the next month we continue to meet up with the Handler and Dog to assist with the transition. At completion we help you fill out your application for therapy certification and your AKC Canine Good Citizen test completed, then assist you with your Therapy Test, the final step to certification!
We take you all the way through the process, from choosing the correct puppy, training and certification. This full service program takes all of the guess work out of raising and training an exceptional Therapy dog. And with our lifetime support, you can be certain that your therapy dog will be in tip top shape to serve your community- long term.
Interested in leaning more about our Therapy Dog training program? Please give us a call or shoot us a text at 512-786-5373!