|Welcome Guest | RSS|
Tiny Toy Poodles Glamour Poodles
Tuesday, 2023-12-05, 9:30 AM
|Sites in category: 2
Shown sites: 1-2
Would My Dog Be a Good Therapy Dog?
Evaluating a Dog's Temperament for Therapy Visits
Dec 23, 2008 Joy Butler
Therapy dogs have a special personality and talent for visiting nursing homes and hospitals to lift spirits and promote healing.
Unconditional love and affection provided by therapy dogs brings comfort to people in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and any stressful situation. The medical world has, for years, seen the therapeutic effect of pets on lowering blood pressure, relieving stress, and lifting spirits. It also encourages children who have emotional disorders or speech problems. A therapy dog’s job is very important.
Many therapy dogs are pets belonging to someone who decided to share their wonderful dog with others. Although most owners could never be convinced that their dog is not the most wonderful in the world, not all dogs are suitable for therapy work.
When evaluating a dog for therapy work, temperament and personality are most important. A good therapy dog can be any size or breed but should have the following qualities.
Must love people – It’s the dog’s wagging tail and happy face that people respond to.
Must be good with children – Children are everywhere and even if the dog will not be working with them, it’s important that he behave appropriately when he comes in contact with a child.
Must be good around other animals – It’s important that your dog know how to get along when he encounters pets or works with other therapy animals.
Must welcome being petted – Therapy dogs often encounter awkward pets from children or disabled people and must not shy away from unfamiliar hands.
Must be reliably housetrained – Accidents are not appropriate while a therapy dog is working.
Must be obedient – Some dogs accept training easier than others but it’s important that a therapy dog obey basic commands of come, sit, down, stay, and heel.
Must obey reliably with distractions - The therapy dog must remain calm, confident, and obedient in the midst of wheelchairs, walkers, canes, and unfamiliar noises and smells of hospitals, nursing homes and disaster areas.
Must be healthy – Therapy dogs should be up to date on shots and free from parasites and infectious diseases; however, handicapped dogs are often a great inspiration to others with similar handicaps.
Must be well groomed - Before each visit, a good therapy dog will be clean, clipped and brushed for minimal shedding.
Dogs can be trained but a good therapy dog just naturally loves people and knows how to bring out the best in them. For those who feel their dog is a good candidate for therapy work, a good place to start is the Canine Good Citizen certification or contact a therapy dog organization such as the Delta Society or Therapy Dogs International which operate in all 50 states.
Read more at Suite101: Would My Dog Be a Good Therapy Dog?: Evaluating a Dog's Temperament for Therapy Visits http://dog-training.suite101.com/article.cfm/would_my_dog_be_a_good_therapy_dog#ixzz0mv8Br69M
PAT - Pets As Therapy
Jasper, my Staffordshire Bull Terrier and I are local volunteers in the Gwent area for PAT - Pets as Therapy, and we visit the local school about once a month - we help children learn about looking after pets.
I got involved with Pets As Therapy because I wanted to do something helpful for the community. I take my dog everywhere with me whenever possible, and thought it would be a good idea to give him an activity to stimulate his mind. I had contacted a lady who had a PAT dog and she gave me further information - he was assessed and accepted in June 2004. We also visit the Special Needs units and he really brightens up their day! Jasper is very gentle with the children and seems to know how to behave around them. He seems to be able to distinguish between children who have disabilities and those that don’t, he seems to sense which children are slightly nervous of dogs and those that aren’t. He loves the attention and as soon as he sees his PAT coat he is a completely different dog. He sits patiently whilst I get his lead out, which is a miracle in itself as normally he jumps about and can’t wait to get out of the door!
On our first visit we visited the special needs unit and there was a young boy, about 6 years old who doesn’t smile very often. We had been there for about 10 minutes when I noticed the boy had stopped scowling and was now starting to relax and smile a little. The boy even petted Jas and took him for a little walk around the classroom with me. It’s at times like that when you really see the rewards that PAT visits offer.
A History of Pets As Therapy & What it Does
Pets As Therapy (PAT) is a national charity set up in 1983. It provides therapeutic visits to hospices, hospitals, nursing and care homes, special needs schools and other venues. All those who make PAT visits are volunteers with their own pets. Today there are about 3,500 registered dogs and 90 registered cats in the UK, between them they give more than 10,000 people, both young and old, the pleasure of their company. They visit half a million bedsides each year. These dogs and cats bring everyday life closer and the happy association of home comforts. The unconditional love of an animal is one of the things that are most missed aspects of their lives when they move into care homes or have to spend long spells in hospital.
PAT are in the process of setting in place research to further validate the very real health benefits these animals are bringing into peoples lives whether they be ill or disabled.
What makes a good PAT Dog/Cat?
Each dog/cat MUST be assessed. They are tested on health, temperament, suitability and stability. Each new volunteer must have two character references. The local area co-ordinator then waits for the volunteer to contact them to activate the visiting process. The Area Co-ordinators are supported by Regional Co-ordinators who hold a list of establishments who are looking for a suitable PAT volunteer. Each dog must be at least 9 months old and MUST have been in the ownership of the volunteer for at least 6 months. Any breed, large or small can be a PAT dog so long as they pass the assessment and health checks first. Not every dog can be a PAT dog unfortunately. The assessment includes the dog having his ears played with, having his face touched, his tail being played with, having something being dropped behind him e.g. walking stick and then watched to see how he reacts when the owner is talking to someone.
What is required whilst visiting
At each visit the PAT dog/cat MUST wear an ID tag with the dog/cat picture and PAT ID number. Most also wear a distinctive yellow jacket (as modelled by Jasper). The owners also have a photo ID badge, worn for security at all times. The dog/cat must be vaccinated, wormed and protected from fleas. I also give Jas’ teeth a brush so he doesn’t have bad ‘doggy’ breath.
If you are interested in becoming a PAT volunteer you can find contact details on their website http://www.dogsey.com/goto.php?url=http://www.petsastherapy.org