Therapy dog owners have one thing in common; they have discovered the unselfish desire to help others, taking time to "Paws Awhile For Love.” The use of canines to help mankind is known throughout the world. They have been used for guarding flocks, tracking, hunting, search and rescue, leading the blind, and in assisting the deaf and physically challenged. The bond between dog and man dates back to early history, but it wasn’t until recently that a correlation was acknowledged between this bond and the emotional health of humans. Studies have shown that a person holding or petting an animal will cause a lowering of blood pressure, the release of strain and tension, and can draw out a person from loneliness and depression.
The goal for dogs in this program is to bring joy and comfort to those in need, to improve all phases of operations, and to make more therapy dogs available by striving to improve and expand the relationship between Therapy Dog International (TDI), and those in need.
Students must pay tuition and their membership fee (if applicable) in advance of the first class. You may either mail payment to the SPDTC mailing address (PO Box 2443, Inver Grove Heights 55076), or drop off payment at the club. Please label payment "Therapy Dog Class". If you have any questions, contact the Director of the Therapy Dog Program.
Class Size is limited to (5) students by design. A waitlist will be maintained if necessary. The classes are structured with an agenda that leaves room for individual assistance as needed.
About the Instructors
Dawn Casey began dog therapy work and training when her son went off to college. She was looking for something to do with her dogs and found this to be very rewarding. At the time, the therapy dogs were trained through the Mt. Pleasant Kennel Club in Michigan. She trained both CGC and TDI for 3 years. She had two dogs that were certified, a golden retriever and a boston terrier. Her volunteer work included nursing homes, book reading programs, and visitation to students during exam times at Central Michigan University.
Kelly McDuff has been doing therapy work with her dachshund since 2014. Together they visit a memory care unit once a week and help to calm anxious travelers at the MSP Airport a few times a month. Kelly has been involved with SPDTC since 2011 and helps teach the Beginner Obedience class at SPDTC on Tuesday nights in addition to the therapy dog class.
Talk about TDI, find out where students want to visit with their dogs (give examples of options)
Warm up with some loose leash walking
Have students “fill out paperwork” in simulation for the test, dogs should wait calmly
Review basic commands - sit/down/recalls
Introduce leave it - work on dog’s leaving food in handler’s hand to start
Review loose leash and basic commands
Practice leave it on ground
Meet and greets with neutral dog (instructor’s dog’s)
Have wheelchair and walker in middle of room to expose dogs to sight of it
Meet and greets with other teams in class
Supervised separation (1 minute)
Introduce to people in wheelchair and walker - simulated visits
Larger dogs can sit in chairs next to person they are visiting, smaller dogs can sit in laps
more leave it - work on walking around food and water on floor
Meet and greets
Introduce unfamiliar noise and mylar balloons - hats and wigs
Work on simulated visits with wheelchair and walker
Work on walking in a “crowd”
Work on dogs leaving food being offered by someone in wheelchair or using a walker
Add simulated children - instructors can crawl around and pretend :)
Work on doorways - dog can walk with handler, be behind handler, or stay and wait to be called through. Practice with people cutting in front of them as they go to walk through door
Simulated Test - review everything
Contents copyright 2006 St. Paul Dog Training Club, St. Paul, Minnesota