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DOGS: The first step to becoming a therapy dog is to have a well trained, friendly dog. Your dog should be accustomed to being around different people and be dog friendly. Most Therapy dogs are over one year of age. A Canine Good Citizen class will help you and your dog learn the basic behaviors that are needed to start the process of becoming a therapy dog.

Bailey CGCOnce your dog passes the Canine Good Citizen test he can then be evaluated by our chapter trainer. Dogs and handlers are evaluated on their core obedience skills and how they behave around common items and situations that they may encounter in the nursing home or hospital environment. What's involved in the CGC test?  Check out this link on the AKC website to find out: CGC Test.

Dog and handler teams that pass our therapy dog evaluation can then begin visits. Our visit captain will arrange visit locations and times to fit the schedules of the participants, and an experienced team leader will accompany the new team to get them started.  A team must make ten visits at the same location and be evaluated on five of those visits by a team leader.  The new team can then apply for therapy dog certification with our national organization.

Dog and handlers also participate in occastional training sessions with our chapter trainer, Brenda Belmonte, of TwoPawsUp.  Training sessions can cover a variety of techniques, including how to handle dogs around wheelchairs and walkers, how to tell if your dog is stressed, and how to deal with residents who are fearful of dogs.

Josie at class

CATS:  Cats must like people and be able to walk on a leash.  Unlike dogs, cats only need to have a veterinarian fill out a Control Evaluation form.  Cat and handler teams that pass the vet's evaluation can then begin visits. Our visit captain will arrange visit locations and times to fit the schedules of the participants, and an experienced team leader will accompany the new team to get them started.  A team must make ten visits at the same location and be evaluated on five of those visits by a team leader.  The new team can then apply for therapy cat certification with our national organization.

If you'd like to get involved and would like more information, contact Rick Schmude, visit captain. flschmude@yahoo.com


Page Updated by Maggie Schmude 6/12/15