Why do therapy dog work????
Well besides the fact that it is good PR for the breed,
it is good for the people you visit, and reduces stress and blood pressure.....
The dog and handler are both rewarded over and over by the love and smiles they get in return.
Steel and I just got back from visiting the cancer floor at our local hospital. A patient actually picked Steel up and stuck him on the bed. He got a massage from one of the visitors. and got to lick and be pet by at least 50 different people within a 2 hr period.
All that and not one negative PIT BULL comment or strange look from some ignorant boob. LOL
How to pick a therapy dog
I recently was asked a question and wanted to bring it up and get others opinions on it.
If you are looking at puppies/dogs with the specific goal in mind of having a therapy dog what would you look for?
I personally didn't specifically get my dogs to do therapy work, but thought of a couple of things I feel would be important with that goal in mind.
If I were to adopt or purchase one for that specific reason this is what I'd look for:
- first off he/she would have to have awesome stable temperament
-whether it was an adult or pup really wouldn't be an issue
(adults can be easier in some ways and harder in others)
-isn't shy, yet isn't overly dominating of the other dogs/pups
- is very confident
- shows no fear issues
-is outgoing and affectionate
- a little more on the laid back side, but a high energy dog that can be brought down for working is also fine. A totally non stop hyper, dog is usually not the best candidate unless you are a very experienced trainer
- I'd definitely test for noise sensitivity and food toy drive
- I find dogs with at least some sort of drive easier to work with and train, but I'm sure not everyone will agree as dogs with drive can also sometimes present other challenges LOL
- dogs with major health issues, or pain concerns due to structural problems are usually not good candidates but there are exceptions. I've known some three legged dogs and dogs with cancer who did a wonderful job , but they were exceptions to the rule not the norm
This is not saying that dogs not fitting exactly what I listed can't be therapy dogs, just if that was the specific goal, I think a dog with the above qualities would be well suited for the job.
So what type of pup do you think makes the best therapy dog? Please add anything I left out and your opinions on this!