Dog-Assisted Therapy - ScholarWorks

The History and Training of the
Therapy Dog for School Personnel
Carmen Wille & Sue Montgomery
Session 1
 Introduction of people and dogs
 How participants became interested in dog therapy
 Brief history
 Benefits
 Concerns
 Discuss therapy dog organizations
 Demonstration of heel, sit, and down
 Training
 Presenters: Carmen Wille and Sue Montgomery
 How did you become interested in training a therapy dog?
 Our demo dogs: Macy Rou, a Jack Russell Terrier; Ryker, a
Border Collie, and Zoey, a Mixed Breed
Dog-assisted Therapy
 Dogs used to help alleviate physical, emotional, and social
difficulties in children
 The Delta Society created the titles Animal-assisted Therapy
(AAT) and Animal-assisted Activity (AAA).
 We are using the title Dog-assisted Therapy.
 Our project will provide professionals with important
information needed to create their own dog-assisted therapy
program at their schools.
Types of Animal-Assisted Therapy
 The following animal therapies will be introduced:
 Reading-to-dogs- programs
 Therapeutic horse riding programs
 Animal Assisted Crisis Response (AACR)
 Individual and group counseling with animal-assisted therapy
 Visiting nursing homes and hospitals
 Dolphin assisted therapy,
 Assistance/service dogs
 Dog-assisted therapy
 Reading-to-dogs- programs involve having a child read out
loud to a dog generally in a library or school setting
 Research by University of California, Davis (UCD) who
teamed up with All Ears Reading Program found that reading
fluency increased by 12% for those students who read to a
dog in a public school and increased by 30% for
 Benefits include: increased reading enjoyment
for children, improved social skills and self-confidence,
decreased absenteeism from school,
and increased homework completion
Therapeutic Horse Riding Programs
 Therapeutic horse riding generally refers to “mounted activities
with people with disabilities …learning traditional or adaptive
equestrian skills” (Smith Osborne & Selby, 2010, p. 293)
 Benefits include: increased flexibility, balance, motor
coordination, and cardio-respiratory function, increased speech
and language abilities (Granger and Kogan 2006, citing Biery
1985; Macauley and Gutierrez 2004)
 Disadvantages include: the expense of housing, feeding, and caring
for a large animal, transporting children to and from the stable
often in a rural area, and safety issues if an inappropriate horse is
used for therapy
(Friesen, 2010, citing McCowan 1987)
Animal Assisted Crisis Response
 Provides trained professionals with a means to reach out and
help people affected by a crisis, generally through the use of a
 AACR teams are not first responders, and they do not search
for the injured or dead, instead they provide support and
comfort to the victims, friends and family of the victims, and
emergency workers (Greenbaum, 2006)
 Qualifications for becoming a dog and handler team with the
National Animal Assisted Crisis Response are quite involved.
Individual and Group Counseling with
Animal-Assisted Therapy
 Minatrea and Wesley (2008) found that group participants
who were addicted to drugs and received AAT had positive
 Improved level of functioning in patients with mood
 Animal’s presence created a warm, friendly, safe
environment, providing unconditional acceptance, empathy
and enhanced creativity during sessions
Visiting Nursing Homes and Hospitals
 Different types of animals such as, dogs, cats, rabbits, and
birds are taken to nursing homes, whereas generally only
certified therapy dogs are taken to hospitals.
 Overall research suggests that animals, particularly dogs,
seem to have positive benefits on both hospital patients and
nursing home residents
 Benefits include: decreased tension, depression, anger,
fatigue, confusion, and increased vigor
Dolphin-Assisted Therapy
 Involves having the client go into the water and interact with the
dolphin and its trainer.
Can involve playing, swimming, taking care of the dolphin,
watching the dolphin perform tricks, touching the dolphin, and
snorkeling with the dolphin (Antonioli & Reveley, 2005)
Research finds that dolphin-assisted therapy can be an effective
treatment for mild to moderate depression
Can help children with severe disabilities improve their level of
functioning in a shorter period of time than conventional therapies
Disadvantages: high cost of maintaining dolphins, risk of
transmitting infections, limited research on the effectiveness of
this therapy, risks to the welfare and survival of the dolphin,
(Friesen, 2009; Fine, 2006)
Assistance/Service Dogs
 A generic term for guide, hearing, or service dog specifically
trained to help mitigate the effects of an individual’s disability
(Assistance Dogs International, Inc., 2010)
 Types of assistance dogs: guide dogs, hearing dogs, and
service dogs
 A person must have a disability to qualify for an assistance
dog and is protected under the Americans
with Disabilities Act (Assistance Dogs of
North America,
Dog-Assisted Therapy
 Dog-assisted therapy for the purpose of this paper entails
having a certified therapy dog that interacts with students at
schools and juvenile facilities
 Certified therapy dogs are not legally protected by federal
law, and do not have the same protection and rights as a
service dog
 The therapy dog is usually a family pet, and works with its
owner to provide service to others
Benefits of Dog-assisted Therapy
Physiological Benefits
Reduction in Blood Pressure
 Freidmann, Katcher, Thomas, Lynch, and Messent (1983)
conducted an experiment to examine the effect that exposure to a
dog had on blood pressure and heart rate.
First, researchers introduced half of the participants to a friendly
Then the researchers created three different experiment groups
with the first group of children exposed to the dog twice, the
second group exposed once, and the third group never exposed.
Immediately after each group, the researchers measured the
children’s blood pressure and heart rate.
The children who were exposed to the dog had a greater
reduction in blood pressure than the children who were not; with
an even greater reduction in blood pressure in children who were
exposed twice.
Reduction in Pain
 Braun, Stangler, Narveson and Pettingell (2009) conducted
an experiment that examined the effect that handling a dog
had on pain intensity.
 Researchers created two groups: group one monitored pain
levels in children between the ages of 3-17 who were
exposed to a dog, and group two monitored pain levels in
children who were not exposed.
 Results of the experiment revealed that for children who
were in pain, handling a dog reduced pain levels.
 For children suffering from pain, respiratory rates also
Reduction in Anxiety
 Nagengast, Baun, Megel and Leibowitz (1997) researched the
outcome of exposing children to a dog during a physical
 Children between the ages of 3 and 6 were divided into two
groups: In group one, children were exposed to a dog during
a physical examination and in group two, children were not
 Researchers determined that in the presence of a dog,
children had lower levels of anxiety.
Reduction in Depression
 Sockalingam, Li, Krishnadev, Hanson and Balaban (2008)
investigated the effect that dog exposure had on individuals
with depression.
A 43-year-old male with a prior diagnosis of bipolar disorder
was used.
This individual had recently been assaulted and was
experiencing depression, lack of motivation, low self esteem,
and somatic complaints.
The man was given a dog to care for on a daily basis.
Results included improved self esteem, increased mood and
outlook, decreased anxiety, and improved overall health.
Fewer Illnesses and Increased Health
 Charnetski, Riggers, and Brennan (2004) questioned the
effect that dog exposure had on overall health.
58 college students were randomly assigned to one of three
groups: group one sat for 18 minutes and petted a dog, group
two sat for 18 minutes without a dog, and group three sat for
18 minutes and petted a stuffed animal.
Saliva secretions were collected before and after each group.
Participants who petted the real dog had higher levels of IgA
in their saliva.
Higher levels of IgA in the body are correlated with a
reduction in upper respiratory infections.
Social Skills Benefits
Increased Social Integration and Relationships
 Lanea, McNicholasb, and Collisb (1998) investigated the
benefits of dog exposure and increased social integration.
 Fifty-seven physically disabled individuals who received dogs
from Dog for the Disabled program were used in this study.
 Questionnaires were used to assess the changes in their lives
since obtaining the dogs.
 Subjects had an increase in social integration and increased
health improvement.
Increased Verbal Communication
 Lewis (2003), a speech-language pathologist, collected data
examining the effects that animal-assisted therapy had on
communicative skills.
 Five preschool children, each lacking in communication
skills, were used in this investigation.
 Lewis collected data during a six-month interval; three
months with a therapy dog and three months without.
 Unlike original therapy where only speech services were
provided, during the three months that a therapy dog was
used, the children’s communicative and receptive skills
Increase Self-esteem
 Camp (1997) conducted interviews and observations with
five physically disabled individuals who worked with therapy
 She discovered that individuals experience an increase in selfesteem
 They also experienced increased independence and security.
Reduction in Behavioral Issues
Emotional Disturbance (ED)
 Kogan, Granger, Fitchett, Helmer, and Young (1999) researched the
effect that Animal–assisted therapy (AAT) dogs had on children who
displayed aggressive, negative behaviors.
Once a week for four months two children diagnosed with ED were
given the tasks of brushing and teaching various training methods to
therapy dogs.
Through these tasks, the boys learned how to use their vocal tones and
positive reinforcement to obtain desired results from the dogs.
Both boys displayed a decrease in behavioral problems and angry
intonations while displaying more positive relationships with their peers
The first boy also exhibited less distractibility and increased eye contact.
The second boy also exhibited less learned helplessness and temper
 Barol (2006) conducted a single-case study to examine the effect
that dog exposure had on social skills in a child with autism.
 Once a week for 15 weeks, a five-year-old boy interacted with an
eight-year-old dog.
 Prior to exposure, the boy was noncompliant and lost interest
when asked to play with other children, cut paper using scissors,
and play ball with a teacher.
 By the third week, Zachary was able to remain intrigued for over
twenty minutes while playing ball with Henry, cut dog treats
without complaint, and initiate interactions with the dog.
 There are a number of concerns regarding the use of dogs
that need to be addressed before the handler starts working
with the therapy dog. These concerns include zoonotic
diseases, allergies, fear of dogs, animal-induced accidents
(bites), cultural differences, and the welfare of the dog
Zoonotic Diseases
 Diseases and infections naturally transmitted between
animals and man.
 Waltner-Toews (1993) sent questionnaires to employees at
hospitals to determine which zoonotic diseases were of
greatest concern.
 Rabies, ringworm, and external parasites topped the list.
 Even though dogs have the potential to transmit zoonotic
diseases, the risk is minimal when safety measures are
 5.3 percent of the United States population has an allergy to
animal dander.
Higher percentages for people with a history of asthma.
Symptoms of allergies include: nocturnal wheezy cough,
asthma, stuffy nose, and pink eye.
To help reduce allergies, the dog should be bathed and wellgroomed.
It is important to know which students have allergies to
minimize their contact with the therapy dog.
Fear of Dogs
 Children may be afraid of dogs through association and bad
experiences such as being chased or bitten by a dog.
 Allow children to watch others interacting with the therapy
dog, and allow them plenty of time to become comfortable
around the dog.
 Give them plenty of room so they may avoid the dog if they
 Never insist that children visit with the therapy dog.
Animal Induced Accidents (Bites)
 Approximately 400,000 children in the United States seek
medical attention for dog bites each year.
 When initially bringing the therapy dog to a school, it is a
good idea to first go over safety rules with the students.
 Currently there are no figures that provide the number of
dog bites arising from the use of dogs in therapy.
 It is believed to be minimal.
Cultural Differences
 Brodie et al., 2002) maintain that some cultures regard dogs as
unclean, others view dogs as nuisances, while others believe that
spirits may appear as animals.
 There are populations who may be uncomfortable being around
specific breeds of dogs.
 Greenbaum (2006) found that some inner city children do not
work well with Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and Doberman Pinschers,
but work well with other breeds, such as a Poodles or Cocker
 Care must be taken to respect cultural sensitivities so the therapy
dog can be a positive addition to the educational environment.
Introduction to Therapy Dog
Therapy Dogs International (TDI)
Delta Society
Therapy Dogs International (TDI)
 A volunteer organization dedicated to regulating, testing and
registration of therapy dogs and their volunteer handlers
 Largest and oldest (1976) therapy dog organization in the
United States
 Visit: assisted living communities, private homes, hospitals,
libraries, nursing homes, schools, shelters, and funereal
Therapy Dogs International
 Have: Children’s reading program called Tail Waggin’ Tutor
and a disaster stress relief program
 Covered by the primary liability insurance policy and
secondary volunteer accident insurance if working as a
Delta Society
 National non-profit organization that helps people live
healthier and happier lives by incorporating therapy, service
and companion animals into their lives
 Offers Pet Partners which trains and screens volunteers and
their pets so they can visit patients/clients in hospitals,
nursing homes, hospice, and physical therapy centers,
schools, libraries, and other facilities
Delta Society
 Offers resources in animal-assisted therapy for professionals
in fields such as healthcare and education
 National Service Animal Resource Center provides
information and resources for people with disabilities
Time for Demo Dogs
 The exercises for today are:
 Heel
 Sit
 Down
 The dog should be walking near the handler, but the dog does
not need to be in perfect heel position.
 The dog should not pulling on the leash.
 The handler should not be dragging the dog
 When the sit command is given, the dogs bottom
should hit the ground.
 When the down command is given, the dogs entire body
should by on the ground, both front and back legs.
Training Time
 First, let take dogs out to potty and then let’s
start training.
Session 2
Session 2
 Dog selection and temperament
 Questions/concerns with training
 Practice heel, sit, and down
 Training equipment/what is allowed in both organizations
 Teach stay and practice
 Practice heel, sit, down, and stay
 Discussion of appearance and grooming
 If dogs are ready we will add: accepting a friendly stranger,
reaction to distractions, leave-it, and sitting politely
Getting Started in Dog Therapy
 Choosing the Correct Dog
Dog Selection
Temperament of Dog
Dog Selection
 When selecting a dog for therapy work, it can be either a
purebred or a mixed breed
 Little research on how to choose a dog
 Crowley-Robinson and Blackshaw (1998) found that those
who worked near the AAT dog preferred a short-coated
animal of medium size that was gentle and placid
 Frequently chosen: Labrador Retrievers and Golden
Dog Selection Continued
 The Delta Society, (1996) a worldwide animal therapy
organization, states that the primary selection criteria for
therapy dogs are:
Reliability- behavior can be repeated in different situations
and with different people
Predictability-Behavior in specific circumstances can be
anticipated in advance
Controllability-behavior can be interrupted, guided or
Suitability-right animal selected for the right job
Dog Selection Continued
 Weiss (2002) believes that dogs need to be evaluated for:
 Submission
 Fear
 Dog aggression
 Energy level
 If the dog evaluates too high in any of these areas it makes a
poor candidate for a therapy dog
Dog Selection Continued
Qualities of a Great Therapy Dog
 Visits people
 Friendly and confident in appearance
 Knows how to respect personal boundaries
 Completely non-aggressive toward other animals, dogs and
 Initiates contact
 Stays engaged
 Makes eye contact with people
Temperament of Dog
 One of the most important things to consider when selecting
a dog for therapy work is the dog’s temperament.
 The dog must be friendly, outgoing, tolerant of other dogs
and not aggressive toward other pets.
 A therapy dog is born not made.
Participant Training
Training Time
 Let take dogs out to potty and then let’s practice
heel, sit, and down.
Training Equipment
 The collar should fit correctly, it should not be too loose or
too tight.
 If the dog is dragging the handler around, it may be time to
try a different type of collar.
Buckle collar
Choke chain
Prong collar
Head harness
No pull harness
Training Equipment Allowed by TDI and
Delta Society
 TDI allows only a plain buckle collar or harness to be used during the
evaluation and when making visits as a therapy dog.
 Delta Society allows:
Premier Gentle Leader Easy-Walk Harness
Halti Harness
Freedom Harness
Sense-ation Harness
Sense-ible Harness
Body or step-in harnesses (leash clips to a ring on the back of the
Buckle, snap, quick-release collars (leather or fabric)
Limited slip collars (Martingales), if they do not include metal links
Halters/head collars
Leashes, no more than 6 feet in length, that are all-leather or all-fabric
Metal hardware, such as buckles, slip rings, and D-rings
Let’s teach Stay
 When a dog is placed in a sit or down and given the stay
command it will remain in that position until released by the
Training Time
 Let practice heel, sit, down, and stay.
Appearance and Grooming of Handler
and Dog
 The handler should always be neat and tidy.
 It is helpful to carry a lint brush to remove dog hair from
yourself and students.
 Always present yourself in a professional and courteous
 Realize that many students and staff members will want to
say “Hi” to the therapy dog. Allow extra time for this.
 Always supervise the therapy dog. Even when speaking to
other students or staff members.
Appearance and Grooming of Handler
and Dog
 Dog’s hair should be clean and dry.
 Any loose hair should be brushed out before a visit.
 Dog’s nails should be kept trimmed and not jagged or sharp.
 Wipe away any eye discharge with a damp cloth.
 Also wipe dog’s face to remove any fine dirt and to freshen
the appearance.
 Carry a cloth to wipe dirty paws on rainy days before
entering a building.
 The dog’s therapy bandanna or vest should be clean and dry.
 Always carry doggy clean up supplies, if there should be an
Training Time
 Let’s try: Accepting a friendly stranger, reactions
to distractions, leave it, and sitting politely.
Accepting a Friendly Stranger
 This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly
stranger to approach it and speak to the handler in a natural,
everyday situation.
 The evaluator and handler shake hands and exchange
 The dog must show no sign of resentment or shyness, and
must not break position or try to go to the evaluator.
Reactions to Distractions
 This test demonstrates that the dog is confident at all times
when faced with common distracting situations, such as the
dropping of a large book or a jogger running in front of the
 The dog may express a natural interest and curiosity and/or
appear slightly startled, but should not panic, try to run away,
show aggressiveness, or bark.
Leave It!
 The handler with the dog on a loose leash walks over food on
the ground and, upon command, the dog should ignore the
 This exercise tends to take considerable practice, particularly
for the chow hound, to become proficient at.
Sitting Politely for Petting
 This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly
stranger to touch it while it is out with its handler.
 The dog should sit at the handler’s side as the evaluator
approaches and begins to pet the dog on the head and body
 The dog may stand in place to accept petting.
 The dog must not show shyness or resentment.
Session 3
Session 3
 Discussion of vet care and how that relates to certification of
the therapy dog
Questions/concerns with training
Review previous exercises: sit, down, stay, heel, accepting a
friendly stranger, reaction to distractions, leave-it, and sitting
Discussion on registration of the therapy dog
Teach with distractions, coming when called, reaction to
another dog, reaction to medical equipment, and walking
through a crowd
Discussion on identifying stress in the dog
Role of the Veterinarian
 The dog needs to be up-to-date on all state required
vaccinations, which will include the rabies shot.
The owner needs proof of current vaccinations.
The dog needs to be free of internal parasites, including
The dog should be on a monthly heartworm medication.
The dog needs to be free of external parasites, such as fleas
and ticks.
The dog needs to pass a vet exam indicating it is healthy.
Role of Veterinarian
 The veterinarian plays an important role.
 They ensure the dog is up-to-date on vaccinations and free of
all parasites and zoonotic diseases to humans.
 Delta Society and Therapy Dogs International require
paperwork signed by a veterinarian indicating that the dog is
healthy for initial certification.
Participant Training
Training Time
 Let’s review: sit, down, stay, heel, accepting a
friendly stranger, reactions to distractions, leave
it, and sitting politely.
Registration Requirements for TDI
 Have evaluation form showing the 11 tests were passed
 Check-up within the past year
 Up-to-date rabies vaccination given by a licensed
veterinarian and initial series of Distemper, Hepatitis, and
Parvovirus vaccinations
 Negative Heartworm test done within the past year unless
the dog has been on preventative medication or there is no
heartworm present in the area
Registration Requirements for TDI
 A negative fecal exam must have been done within the last
A veterinarian must fill out the health form and sign it
Health form, evaluation form, picture of the dog, and the fee
to register the dog must be sent in to TDI
The current fee is $10 for 1 dog and 1 handler.
The fee may be higher if there is a fee for site use or the
evaluator has to travel a distance
Registration Requirements with Delta
 Dog must first pass the skills and aptitude evaluation
 Seven forms need to be filled out from the registration
 These forms are:
Photo ID form
Application fee form
Volunteer policies and procedures agreement form
Volunteer review
Handler’s questionnaire
Animal health screening forms
Volunteer contract form
Registration Requirements with Delta
 Note: the veterinarian needs to fill out and sign the health
screening form
The dog must pass a physical exam
Be up-to-date on state required immunization and rabies shot
Must be negative of internal and external parasites
Must have had a negative fecal exam within 6 months
Currently a dog in the Pet Partners Program may not be fed
a raw diet
Registration Requirements with Delta
 Forms need to be sent to Delta Society with the signed team
evaluation form, a team photo of the handler and dog, and
the required fees within the 90 day expiration
date (Delta Society, 2008, 2010).
The current fee is $75 for 1 dog and handler.
Training Time
 Let’s work on: training with distractions
(bouncing ball, toy that walks, heeling with demo
dog around dogs on stay, etc.) coming when
called, reaction to another dog, reaction to
medical equipment, and walk through a crowd
Training with Distractions
 While training an exercise the dog is solidly able to do,
slowly add distractions such as the presenter bouncing a ball
while the dogs are sit staying, or having a toy that makes
noise and walks or heeling the demo dogs around the dogs on
a down stay.
 Start with mild distractions and increase the level with the
dogs’ ability.
Coming When Called
 The dog will come when called by the handler.
 The handler will walk 10 feet from the dog, turn to face the
dog, and call the dog.
 The handler may use encouragement to get the dog to come.
 Handler’s may choose to tell the dog “stay” or “wait” or they
may simply walk away, giving no instructions to the dog as
the evaluator provides mild distraction (e.g., petting)
Reaction to Another Dog
 This test demonstrates that the dog can behave politely
around other dogs.
 Two handlers and their dogs approach each other from a
distance of about 10 yards, stop, shake hands, and exchange
pleasantries, and continue on for about 5 yards.
 The dogs should show no more than a casual interest in each
Reaction to Medical Equipment
 The dog must be tested around medical equipment (such as
wheelchairs, crutches, canes, walkers, or other devices which
would ordinarily be found in a facility) to judge the dog’s
reactions to common health care equipment.
Walking Through a Crowd
 This test demonstrates that a dog can move about politely in
pedestrian traffic and is under control in public places.
The dog and handler walk around and pass close to several
people (at least three).
The dog may show some interest in the strangers, without
appearing overexuberant, shy or resentful.
The handler may talk to the dog and encourage or praise the
dog throughout the test.
The dog should not be straining at the leash.
Welfare Considerations of the Dog
 The welfare of the therapy dog should always be a consideration.
 Entering different settings and schedules can be stressful to the
 The handler needs to determine if the dog is coping comfortably
to therapy by looking for of stress.
 If excessive stress occurs, handlers should give breaks from
therapy work or stop altogether.
Identifying Stress in the Dog
 Indications of possible stress in the dog
 Changes in posture, body movement, head movement, and eye
movement from what the dog normally exhibits.
 Sweating paws
 Salivating
 Panting
 Yawning
 Shaking
 Sudden loss of hair
 Restlessness
Indications of Stress in the Dog,
 Withdrawal
 Muscle tenseness
 Suspiciousness
 Aggression
 Hyperalertness
 Intensified startle reflex
 Ducking behind handler
 Self-mutilation
 Change in activity or appetite
Stress in the Dog
 In order to provide a safe environment for the dog, children
need to be taught how to correctly approach, touch, and
interact with the therapy dog (Jalongo et. al., 2004).
 Always closely supervise children around the therapy dog to
ensure safety of all parties.
 Always monitor the well-being of the dog.
 Make sure the dog receives enough exercise and free-time
away from therapy work.
Session 4
Session 4
 Discussion of evaluation day
 Questions/concerns with training
 Review previous exercises: sit, down, heel, stay, accepting a
friendly stranger, reaction to distractions, leave-it, sitting politely,
teach with distractions, come on a long line, reaction to another
dog, reaction to medical equipment, and walk through a crowd
 Personal accounts of having a therapy dog in a school setting
 Teach clumsy petting, staggering and gesturing, angry yelling and
appearance and grooming
 Talking to administrators about allowing dog therapy at the school
Evaluation Requirements with TDI
 Present proof that the dog is up-to-date on current state
required vaccinations and licenses
 Dog must be at least a year old and wear a plain collar or
 Dog must pass the 11 testing requirements
 Tester must be certified by TDI
Evaluation Requirements with TDI
 The handler must be of good character.
 The dog cannot be deaf.
 The evaluation begins as soon as the evaluator is able to
observe you and your dog on the testing site, well before you
begin the evaluation requirements.
Evaluation Requirements with Delta
 There are four steps to becoming a certified Pet Partners
1. Attend a Pet Partners Team Training Course or complete a
home-study course
2. Have the health of the animal screened by a veterinarian.
3. Have the handler/animal team evaluated for skills and
aptitude (22 exercises need to be passed)
4. Submit the registration application if the animal has been
screened as healthy, and the team has passed the evaluation.
Evaluation Requirements with Delta
 The emphasis is that the dog should be under control all the
 The training equipment that the animal wears for evaluation,
must be used during all therapy dog visits.
 Only training equipment approved by Delta Society may be
used for the evaluation and later therapy dog visits.
When to Wait Another Day to be
 If your dog is in season or is pregnant.
 Your dog has an infection, open sores, wounds, or stitches.
Wait until the animal is healed.
 Your dog is on antibiotics and/or anti-fungal medications.
 Your dog shows visible signs of not feeling well. A sick dog
could pass on a virus or parasite to other animals at the
testing site.
 You know your dog is not ready yet to pass the exercises.
Participant Training
Training Time
 Let’s review: sit, down, stay, heel, accepting a
friendly stranger, reactions to distractions, leave
it, sitting politely, train with distractions, coming
when called, reaction to another dog, reaction to
medical equipment, and walking through a
Experiences with Therapy Dogs
Training Time
 Time to learn: clumsy petting, staggering and
gesturing, angry yelling, and appearance and
Clumsy Petting
 The evaluator will approach the dog and awkwardly pet the
dog, in such as way that a young child or someone with poor
coordination might touch the dog .
 The dog should not react negatively, but should tolerate the
Staggering and Gesturing
 The assistant staggers, and then moves to normally pet the
 The dog may look, but should not react negatively, such as
barking or lunging towards the person.
 The dog should calmly accept the petting.
Angry Yelling
 The assistant yells, then calms down and calls the dog.
 The dog should remain calm during the yelling, and not
become overly reactive.
Appearance and Grooming
 The dog will welcome being groomed and examined and will
permit a stranger such as a veterinarian, groomer, or friend
of the owner, to do so.
 It also demonstrates the owner’s care, concern, and sense of
 The evaluator inspects the dog, then combs or brushes the
dog, and lightly examines the ears and each front foot.
Getting Permission
 It is important to talk to administrators and gain their buy-in
for a therapy dog at school.
Bring examples of research that talk about the positive
benefits of therapy dogs.
Bring proof that the dog is covered by insurance.
Bring the therapy dog ID card and a good picture of the dog.
Ask if you can bring the dog in to meet the administrator.
Outline how the dog might be used, for example, in a group
for students who have emotional disturbance.
Participant Training
The End
 Thank you for your participation.
 Good luck with evaluation.
 Remember to keep practicing the exercises, particularly ones
that are more difficult for your dog.
 When you are ready for evaluation, look on either of these
websites for the nearest testing site.

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