How do you become a therapy dog?
Well, just ask Ike. Because he's proud to announce.....
We did it!
Last Saturday was Ike's big test. Oh, and one point to make is you are testing as a team. It's not only the dog's behavior that is being tested, but both dog and handler must be of good character. It's good to remember that we are both representing Therapy Dog International when we work.
So, for the test, Ike had to demonstrate he could do everything he learned in class. Here are some of the things he had to do to pass the test:
1. Demonstrate he was calm and even around people, other dogs, a wheelchair and a walker, sudden noises, and a child playing with a ball.
2. Demonstrate he was calm when being touched, patted, groomed, his feet touched, etc.
3. Demonstrate he was calm when left alone with a stranger, and when meeting a strange dog.
4. Demonstrate he was obedient. This included sit, stay, down, down-stay, recall. Here's Ike on his down-stay during a practice time before the test. He is looking quite relaxed! I had butterflies.
5. Heal nicely on lead, including about turns, right turns and left turns.
6. Be able to "Leave it" when walking by food on the floor, or offered in hand. While this sounds difficult, it isn't that hard because they are on leash when you do this, and you just keep walking past the food on the floor real fast! lol. Most dogs look at it but they shouldn't lunge or grab.
Although Ike already passed basic obedience classes, it was helpful to have attended classes specifically for therapy dog testing. The other dogs, people, noises and especially smells were distractions all the dogs had to get used to working around.
During the test, outside Santa rode by behind a firetruck.
And then the mailman came and peeked in the windows.
I thought all the dogs would lose it right then and there! But they all did great.
Ike did great and we were so excited when the judge gave him his certificate.
Here is Ike and his best buddy and fellow graduate Moses.
If your dog is calm and enjoys being around other people, gets along well with other dogs, and enjoys obedience work, you might want to consider becoming a therapy dog too. We;re looking forward to going out and getting to work and hopefully putting some smiles on people's faces.