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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all! I don’t currently own a dobe, but hope sometime next winter or a little after I will be ready to get a pup. (Still not certain if we will go Dobe or Newfie, leaning hard towards dobe) I have always been interested in therapy work with dogs, specifically with the elderly. I was told by some dog friends at the last kennel I worked at, that the best way to get started is to get certified by delta. So I want to be well educated in the process before I get the pup so I know all the right steps to take. I was hoping to get some pointers and maybe be sent in the right direction…

I am also very interested in tracking and mildly intrigued by search and rescue work, though I don’t know enough about this to make an educated decision whether or not that particular work would be something I would enjoy, or even how much it is needed by the community… maybe some more in depth info on what all is involved with those endeavors if anyone has any experience with it.

Any information you guys could supply me with would be much appreciated! ^_^
 

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Sar

I'm just starting out in SAR and I have to say I probably underestimated the time commitment in regards to the training I'd be required to have sans the training I have to do with my dog on a regular basis.

So far I've taken IS-100, IS-200, IS-700 and IS-800 online from FEMA's EMI. I will be spending the next five Saturdays in a classroom from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. taking ICS-300 and ICS-400. I still need to take a hazardous materials course from them as well that is online, but estimated to take 10 hours to complete so I've been procrastinating.

I have also completed pet first aid/CPR, infant & adult first aid/CPR, DCNR Field Team Member training (not certified yet), and a blood borne pathogens class through the state.

I'm also registered to take a Boating and Water Safety Awareness course in March.

Several people have also suggested taking a rigging/ropes course as well.

This is just scratching the surface as to what training you may be required to take.
 

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Well, I have a Delta therapy dog, as do a few others here (I know bean's Silas is one). There are also quite a few dogs that are working through TDI, too, or local organizations.

If you are really interested in therapy work, I would work with your breeder to pick the puppy with the right temperament. Then, socialize, socialize, socialize. Like crazy, and not just to people and dogs. Ride in elevators, expose the pup to medical equipment, loud noises, screaming, beeping machines, etc. My trainer's socialization plan is a great place to start: Raising K9: Socialization Ideas

I would be in obedience classes from the beginning, maybe starting with puppy socialization classes. You need a very strong obedience foundation. I was lucky enough to find a therapy class taught by a Delta evaluator once we were ready. I would also caution against testing too early. There were a lot of young dogs in my class that would have been great therapy dogs in a year or two, when they were more mature. Don't rush it.

However, if you are really interested in search and rescue work, I'm not sure if a therapy dog would be compatible with a search and rescue career. It might, but SAR dogs typically have a lot of drive to work, and that may not translate well to therapy work.

Here's a great blog post from Patricia McConnell on therapy dogs: http://www.theotherendoftheleash.com/therapy-dogs-born-or-made
 

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I would need to double check, but I'm pretty sure a number of the SAR dogs in the group I work with are also certified as therapy dogs. Obedience and temperment are very important. That said, I don't know that any of them actually do any therapy work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ya I have plans to tell the breeder (havent picked on yet but have done alot of research in the area) that I aim to do therapy work so s/he can help me pick the right pup. I think puppy classes are a must, whether you plan on therapy or not. Especially for working group breeds...

I agree with needing to socialize... but how can I expose my dog to elevaters and the other things mentioned? Most places do not allow dogs unless they already have a service vest...

I never thought about the SAR interfereing with the therapy work...thanks for mentioning that. I am definetly more interested in therapy so perhaps I will have to nix the SAR work...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well, I have a Delta therapy dog, as do a few others here (I know bean's Silas is one). There are also quite a few dogs that are working through TDI, too, or local organizations.

If you are really interested in therapy work, I would work with your breeder to pick the puppy with the right temperament. Then, socialize, socialize, socialize. Like crazy, and not just to people and dogs. Ride in elevators, expose the pup to medical equipment, loud noises, screaming, beeping machines, etc. My trainer's socialization plan is a great place to start: Raising K9: Socialization Ideas

I would be in obedience classes from the beginning, maybe starting with puppy socialization classes. You need a very strong obedience foundation. I was lucky enough to find a therapy class taught by a Delta evaluator once we were ready. I would also caution against testing too early. There were a lot of young dogs in my class that would have been great therapy dogs in a year or two, when they were more mature. Don't rush it.

However, if you are really interested in search and rescue work, I'm not sure if a therapy dog would be compatible with a search and rescue career. It might, but SAR dogs typically have a lot of drive to work, and that may not translate well to therapy work.

Here's a great blog post from Patricia McConnell on therapy dogs: Therapy Dogs – Born or Made? TheOtherEndoftheLeash
Thank you for the links. very informative...
 

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Ya I have plans to tell the breeder (havent picked on yet but have done alot of research in the area) that I aim to do therapy work so s/he can help me pick the right pup. I think puppy classes are a must, whether you plan on therapy or not. Especially for working group breeds...

I agree with needing to socialize... but how can I expose my dog to elevaters and the other things mentioned? Most places do not allow dogs unless they already have a service vest...

I never thought about the SAR interfereing with the therapy work...thanks for mentioning that. I am definetly more interested in therapy so perhaps I will have to nix the SAR work...
Alot of times if you call certain facilities, like hospitals and nursing homes, and explai to them you have a therapy dog in training they will be willing to let you bring them in and work with them. While they may not let you visit patients, they will allow you to ride the elevators and into certain areas of the facility where the dog can be exposed to elements necessary to his/her training. Also, there are hotels which do allow dogs to come in, and you could always just go on a "field trip" to one of them and sneak a couple rides in an elevator. My previous dobe, Mysti was a therapy dog, and her training was pretty well rounded, aside from structured obedience classes. It is also good to see if some of the local schools will allow visits in order to train them. My dog went to my daughter's elementary school several times during her training for various things, and loved showing off her "tricks" and getting all the attention from the kids.
 

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Parking garages are a great place to ride elevators and hear lots of strange noises. The stairwells are good, too, for practicing non-indoor types of stairs.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you for all the links and advice... I guess im just so used to facilities like schools, hospitals, etc. being cautious about dogs (dobes more than others)that I hadn't thought asking was worth my while. but if you guys had sucess perhaps I should have more faith in these people. :)

Parking garage is a great idea! ... one of those links also had several socialzing ideas I hadn't thoguht of... I think maybe Ill do some basic agility stuff too. I think it strengthens bonds, listening skills, and also boosts confidence for the pup. I dont know alot about agility but Im sure there are some novice clubs or classes I could join up maybe. I currently have a heeler in the home (one of my previous fosters that I took back because the adoptive home ended up being a bad situation for her, as they didnt understand the extent of her issues stemming from abuse, and couldnt manage her) and I think agility would benefit her as well. she a bundle of energy. and could use the confidence boost too. Ive got a friend with an aussie and BC in agility... im sure she could point me in the right direction...

Once again thanks for all the advice. Wisdom is a very useful tool, and im happy I joined this forum so I could draw from this valuble resource. ;)
 
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