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Therapy Certification?

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  • Therapy Certification?

    Hey everyone! So my boy Osiris is now a smidge over 5 months old. He has done 6 weeks of initial puppy classes and we just began the "older" puppy classes with our K9 Center here in North Pole, Alaska. He is doing great (although he still gets a bit distracted at class with all the other pups, but each week he is better and better). Eventually I would love to do therapy work with him if he continues to show the temperament for it. I take him to Lowes, Home Depot, Sportsman's Warehouse and Cold Spot Feed Store as much as possible, usually a couple of times a week, just to continue his socialization as well as getting used to sights and sounds like the big, stupidly loud carts at Lowes and Home Depot, which aren't even a blip on his radar anymore. Being that it is still minus 20 to 30 degrees here, indoor activities and socialization are the only options for training right now. Once Spring hits in a couple of months I will be taking him to the park (not the dog park, the regular park), and on short walks around Fairbanks, especially during local events to build his acceptance of new situations. Once he gets through this 6 week course of classes we will start Beginner Obedience Classes and then Obedience II Classes. Basically my plan is to have him in classes all the way up until he hits at least a year old and can take the CGC (if he is ready of course).
    Has anyone ever gotten their Dane (or other breed) certified for Therapy? I am not even sure if I can get him certified here in Alaska because options in Fairbanks are very, VERY limited for anything, i.e. we have a Walmart, Lowes and Home Depot, a Sam's Club and a Fred Meyers. That about rounds it out for Fairbanks. We don't even have a Target, an Applebee's or an Outback! Closest one is 7 hours south in Anchorage. However, my husband retires in a bit over 2 years from the Army and we will be back in the lower 48 so I can get him certified then, he will be just under three when we get back to the real world. If I am not able to get him certified up here, does any one have any suggestions on what to continually work on and focus on for an end game of Therapy Certification? Does anyone have any suggestions of, I guess strange/unique/uncommon type situations to work on with him? I have a friend who is constantly on crutches (she is very accident prone and broke her knee last year, got healed up from surgery and off crutches just to trip over her dog and break her ankle 3 weeks later) so I know she has some crutches I can borrow and use around the house to condition him for that. Just wondering if anyone has suggestions on situations they have encountered in a Therapy setting in a hospital/hospice/nursing home, etc. Thanks all, and sorry this is so long...boredom at work = novel on DOL.
    Here is Si a couple of weeks ago..such a ham bone!

  • #2
    Many of us have danes that are therapy dogs. I think your best bet is to work on obedience, socializing and working towards the CGC. Most therapy testing is CGC plus some extra distractions.

    My dog is a social butterfly, so I've never really worried about things like crutches, wheel chairs and whatever else. He focuses only on the people and how much petting and love that he can get from them. LOL He's never cared if they were sitting, standing or hopping on one leg.... just scratch his ears and he loves you. I had zero interest in visiting hospitals and nursing homes since I can be quite OCD about those places. However, our goal was humane education with children. Phineas is like a moth to a flame with children and just can't stay away and we got lucky that he is like that. Not all dogs like children, and that's ok. Phin's idea of a good time is snuffling kiddos! LOL

    Not all dogs are meant for therapy training, no matter how much we might want them to be. You really need a very well rounded dog that is solid in obedience, but also has a temperament of wanting to visit people and be touched by many hands of all types. Work on obedience and socializing and you'll figure out over time what situations your dog does best in and what he doesn't. As long as he has a good temperament, there is many situations besides the classic hospital / nursing home one that may be a better fit.

    Best of luck!


    • #3
      Thank you Angel. Luckily so far, Si sounds just like your Phineas, as long as he is getting attention he could care less the situation. He has been around toddlers all the way up to teenagers (and adults of course) and is amazing with all of them. Even at this clumsy, bull in a China shop stage he seems to be very aware of himself when a little one is present. I am hoping that continues. He's very easy going and eager to please. If he continues the way he has been, I think he would make an amazing Therapy pup, but if not then it is what it is. Thank you again


      • #4
        Just expose your Dane to anything and everything you can think of.. different people, different smells, different sounds, all kinds of equipment, even in limited circumstances you can make up/find things.. Check with Therapy Dog International to see if they have any testing available in Alaska that may be right for you to attend. Dogs can't be tested in most therapy organizations until they are at least a year old so it gives you plenty of time to train... just an fyi they do not need to be a year old to take the AKC CGC test.
        Dale AKC CGC Evaluator
        Associate Member GDCNE
        Member GSPCA
        Member NAVHDA
        Member Central Maine Kennel Club
        High Hopes Great Danes & German Shorthairs


        • #5
          I'd just continue exposing him to everything you can. Specific things on the TDI test are wheelchairs, walkers, and crutches, along with noisy kids, a distraction dog, and a loud banging- our evaluator normally throws her clipboard on the floor and runs after us calling for us. Eisen and I have tested and failed in not very ideal conditions (his breeders are the only 2 evaluators anywhere near us) but hopefully at some point in the future I can get him in a test with someone who he hasn't known since birth and we can work!
          SC Dinnie Stone Guardian, CGC
          Eisen Shark
          C Shadows On The Sun, CGC