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Lola and I attended therapy dog class earlier tonight. It was her and my first class. The class was on it's fifth week. Next week is the final class so I am hoping that she and I are able to pass the test after that class.

The first part of the class we had to pair up with someone else and while we were paired up one of the dogs was held by someone else. Everyone was in a big circle so everyone paired up with the dog and it's owner next to them. Then all the handicap equipment was put in the middle. It consisted of 2 wheel chairs, a few canes, several pairs of crutches and 2 walkers.

The guy I paired up with had his dog named Bella first and Lola was held on her leash by someone else as it was not her turn yet. The first part of the class was to use all the equipment around the dog and it's handler to see how they were reacting. The guys dog Bella seemed to be really scared with everything except the wheel chair. As I was circling around the guy using all the equipment at different times Bella was trying to run away as she was really scared. The guy I paired up with had 2 dogs there. One was a Great Dane that he handled the week before while his girl friend handled Bella the week before and he had said that Bella did better last week with his GF handling her.

Lola on the other hand did wonderful when it came time for him to use the equipment with me handling Lola. She was not afraid at all and I even had him tap her lightly with the cane. The next part of the class simulated a room where a patient was laying on a bed and they had food and dog treats out in the open. The object of that exercise was to have the patient pet the dog and the dog avoid the food. Lola did good in that as well and I used the leave it command when she seen the dog treats on a bench within 3 feet of the simulated bed.

The third part was 2 women were sitting about six feet opposite each other in wheel chairs. They were holding out dog treats. The object of that exercise was to put your dog in a sit and stay position have the dog wait and then walk between the two women about 6 feet past them and then call your dog by name as they were also calling your dog not by name to get the dog to come to them when the dog was supposed to come to it's handler. Lola did that twice and the first time she was a little distracted by a shadow. The second time was perfect. She avoided the two women and came directly to me.

The last part of the class was to see how well you and your dog work together. What you had to do was walk your dog in a heeling position against a wall with your dog on the left putting your dog closer to the wall. Walk to the end of the wall where it goes into a corner, make a quick stop and then proceed against the wall to the door. When you got to the door you were to turn around and repeat the process this time with your dog on the left again putting the handler closer to the wall. After I did this the observer said "Perfect, Perfect"

She said Lola has the perfect personality for a therapy dog and that it shows she is very well trained and loved. Lola never attended formal obedience school. All her training was done by myself. We will attend next week's class also and after that it will be the test at another time.

At certain points some other dogs started barking and Lola joined in but I was able to quiet her down by touching her back with my hand and telling her quiet. She quit barking right away.
 

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Very cool - that class sounds like an excellent idea!

Do you know which therapy group you & Lola will try to get registered with? My rottweiler, Clyde, and I are registered with Therapy Dogs Incorporated.

Good luck to you & Lola. From the sounds of it, you'll make an excellent team!
 

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That is so interesting! and thanks for sharing. I'm happy for you and your dog.
How old do they have to be for that? I took my pup to see my dad that's in a home and she did good, barked twice at him since this was the first time she ever saw him. I know she still needs some training and maturity but like you I think it can be accomplished on your own (I'm clapping my hands that you trained your dog so well) So how old are the dogs before you know they really have the personality for it?:)
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
what organization are you going with?
Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs. The website is at http://www.golden-dogs.org/

Very cool - that class sounds like an excellent idea!

Do you know which therapy group you & Lola will try to get registered with? My rottweiler, Clyde, and I are registered with Therapy Dogs Incorporated.

Good luck to you & Lola. From the sounds of it, you'll make an excellent team!
Thanks. I am hoping all goes well.

That is so interesting! and thanks for sharing. I'm happy for you and your dog.
How old do they have to be for that? I took my pup to see my dad that's in a home and she did good, barked twice at him since this was the first time she ever saw him. I know she still needs some training and maturity but like you I think it can be accomplished on your own (I'm clapping my hands that you trained your dog so well) So how old are the dogs before you know they really have the personality for it?:)
the dogs have to be at least one year old to be a therapy dog at least with the group I am registering with. If your dog is sociable with people including strangers there is a good chance he or she is ready.
 

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bravo Lola!! way to go sweetie!
you've done an amazing job! thank you for doing the therapy program.
*gold star for Lola*
She is not there yet. We have one more class and then the test. If all goes well then she is in. If not we will try again some other time. I'm really hoping that she and I pass the first time. It will show me how well I have trained her on my own. The only dog training experience I have had was a dog we had when I was about 12 that I also trained.
 

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How wonderful to hear another Therapy dog is about to be registered. Good job Lolas_Dad. I am certain that Lola will be a big hit.

Carsten is also registered with Therapy Dogs Incorporated. Inga was registered with Therapy dogs international. I don't know that it matters too much. I know that it was an easier test to get through with Therapy dogs international. Where Carsten had to go to 3 separate facilities on 3 different dates with an evaluator walking around behind him with a clipboard writing things down. Each time was about an hour or so. Inga just went and tested out, no fuss no muss. She didn't even need to take a class. I think each organization is different but the end result is pretty much the same.

Good luck Lola for your final class/test. :) I am sure it will go fine.
 

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How wonderful to hear another Therapy dog is about to be registered. Good job Lolas_Dad. I am certain that Lola will be a big hit.

Carsten is also registered with Therapy Dogs Incorporated. Inga was registered with Therapy dogs international. I don't know that it matters too much. I know that it was an easier test to get through with Therapy dogs international. Where Carsten had to go to 3 separate facilities on 3 different dates with an evaluator walking around behind him with a clipboard writing things down. Each time was about an hour or so. Inga just went and tested out, no fuss no muss. She didn't even need to take a class. I think each organization is different but the end result is pretty much the same.

Good luck Lola for your final class/test. :) I am sure it will go fine.
Thanks, I am hoping it goes as well as the first day. We started at the fifth week of the class. The instructor was telling me about a yellow lab that was in the class the week before that would need about 12 weeks of classes with another class. It was their first week there and I think they were asked to not come back until a new class is starting. She was also telling me that it is just not the dog that is scored on the test but also the handler. The dog could do fine but the handler could make mistakes and not pass so when it comes to the actual test we are both being judged.

She had also told me that we could come back next week and do the class and if I felt up to it we could do the test. Some evaluators will pass a dog and handler without any classes but she will not. She feels that the dog and handler should attend some classes before taking the test and I have to agree. Reading the test (which I have done online) and seeing it in real life you get the whole perspective of what is going on. Reading the test has helped because it showed me what I should be training Lola to do and I had read the test over 6 months ago so it gave me plenty of time to work with her and training her to leave it, wait and other things along the way.

With the leave it I took it a step further than just leave it. I trained her to get treats that I place on the floor only when I say she can and she has been trained to not only do it when I say but to which actual one she can take. I'll put about four or five treats on the floor and point to the one I want her to take each time. After she takes the one treat I want her to have I then have her sit and wait until I point to the next one. It could be a few seconds later and sometimes it will be a minute later. Sometimes I will walk away from the treats and call her to come to me with her leaving the treats in place. It is never the same scenario.

I've also done this at the dog park to have some distractions thrown in and also see how she can restrain herself. She has done really well even with other dogs around. The other dog owners at the dog park when they see it for themselves are quite impressed and a few have even wanted me to train their dogs.
 

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Great job with training Lola on your own. You set a good example for those who can't afford, or do not want to attend obedience classes. :)
Thanks. I always wanted to take Lola to obedience classes, not really to have her learn anything but more to see if I have trained her correctly and see if we can learn anything new. With the working schedule I had though it was impossible. I guess if she gets certified as a therapy dog it will tell me that I have done a good job. A few weeks back I went to a dog park seminar with Lola. The person giving the seminar was a professional dog trainer and a K9 police officer. He had commented on how well Lola is behaved and I had told him about training her to sit and wait with me walking away from her and then calling her. Then I had told him to add some distractions in I did it with her at the dog park. She would sit, be focused on me and I would walk away from her about 50' and then call her with a treat in my hand. She would come running each and every time.

It was funny at one point in the seminar. When he was talking about a dogs body language he was giving an example of how a dog bows to another dog wanting to play. As soon as he mentioned that Lola and another dog were bowing to each other wanting to play. He said there is a perfect example right now and that he couldn't have asked for a better example. It was like she and the other dog understood what he was saying and was demonstrating it for everyone.
 
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