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I am wanting to further my dogs training surpassing the general "basic course" and am thinking about having my great dane become a therepy dog( of course when his "zoomies" are a little less often :p) But my question is how much does it entail for paperwork and exactly how hard is it to do it? or does it depend on each state?
 

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They have Therapy Dog International (TDI) prep classes. It's basically set up the same way as a CGC test. You go somewhere and test and it's a pass or fail. I'd find a local training club maybe to find more specific info and classes.
 

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If your dog is trained to the CGC level and has a great "leave-it" and is gentle with people, becoming a therapy dog is as simple as taking a 20 minute test and having your vet fill out a form. Check out Therapy Dog International. The test is described thoroughly and places holding the tests are listed as well. All four of mine passed easily on their first tries. Volunteering with dogs is very, very rewarding.
 

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If your dog is trained to the CGC level and has a great "leave-it" and is gentle with people, becoming a therapy dog is as simple as taking a 20 minute test and having your vet fill out a form. Check out Therapy Dog International. The test is described thoroughly and places holding the tests are listed as well. All four of mine passed easily on their first tries. Volunteering with dogs is very, very rewarding.
It's actually more like an 8 minute test. Classes are good to help prep the dog (I have a great one going right now - young Rottie, miniature schnauzer and a CavalierxMaltese mix) but TDI keeps a list of upcoming tests on their website, and if you've prepared your dog for their qualification (the main difference between it and CGC are a leave-it and exposure to medical equipment, you can sign up for the test itself - which I think is around $25 plus a fee to join TDI, which provides insurance for visiting dogs.
 

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Well I love these kinds of dogs that love to entertain and provide affection to the people residing in villas, hospitals and retirement houses. They come in different species and breeds. These dogs are in real terms are friendly, gentle, confident and should be adjustable in all kinds of situations.
 

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There is on line training and also access to local training and evaluations at petpartners.org. (formerly Delta Society). here in Minneapolis we have found that hospitals are more and more requiring petpartner teams over TDI, because recertification is required every two years, which more closely aligns with hospital best practices. (CGC comment was incorrect, deleted by author)

Your dog should be friendly and calm at the same time, solid on the leave it command, and enjoy being touched. She will be touched a lot, so being solid on stand for examination is important. I advise playing recordings of the target environment for your dog to desensitize, prior to beginning your first visit. The beeps, alarms, and crashing metallic medical equipment is enough to unnerve most dogs, so we would drop metal bowls at a distance, slowly nearer in order to get them used to unpredictable environs. But yiu could start at nursing facilities and work your way up to hospitals, which are a lot more complex.

I have no experience outside my state, but cannot imagine much difference. The national registrars keep the same criteria, and medical facilities have national standards. State law may vary. The paperwork is minimal, as pointed out by others. An in person training with a qualified instructor more than doubles the pass rate of the evaluation.

This is among the most rewarding volunteer positions I have ever held. Thank you for considering it! There may be local organizations that can offer continuing assistance to you. Ours is North Star Therapy Animals.

http://www.northstartherapyanimals.org
 

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There is on line training and also access to local training and evaluations at petpartners.org. (formerly Delta Society). here in Minneapolis we have found that hospitals are more and more requiring petpartner teams over TDI, because recertification is required every two years, which more closely aligns with hospital best practices. As others have pointed out, the AKC Good Canine Citizen award is a prerequisite.
I can't speak to the Pet Partners program. But a CGC is not a prerequiste to TDI certification. Though the tests are very similar. At my school, people have the option to be evaluated for CGC only, TDI only, or both.
 

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But my question is how much does it entail for paperwork and exactly how hard is it to do it? or does it depend on each state?
The therapy dogs organizations (TDI, Bright and Beautiful, etc) are private organizations and have no government connections. In addition to testing and certifying, they provide a blanket insurance for teams visiting facilities and performing therapy work. Liability is obviously a concern for these facilities. For that reason, most of them will INSIST that a visiting team be sponsored by one of the recognized therapy organizations.

The paperwork involved is really quite trivial. Much more significant is the therapy dog test itself and even more so the training to take the test. Many therapy dog organizations conduct their own testing. The tests are generally similar to, but not the same as, the CGC test, so it's important to know the specific requirements of the organization that you are interested in. A few organizations do use the CGC tests themselves

How hard it is depends entirely on the personality of the dog and the handler. With a mild-mannered, relatively laid-back dog and a conscientious handler, preparing for the test is not much more involved than preparing for the CGC test. With a high-drive, high food-motivsted, boisterous dog, even a conscientious handler will find the test a challenge.

As for general breed characteristics, the one thing you often have to work on with Great Danes is their predisposition to be quite suspicious of strange people approaching them. Most of the therapy dog organizations require that the dog be not just tolerant of strangers, but be VERY accepting of strange people touching , petting, and even hugging them. That's one way the therapy test differs from the CGC test. Once you can get that suspicious predisposition under control, they usually make good therapy dogs - assuming, of course, the handler is willing as well.
 

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I can't speak to the Pet Partners program. But a CGC is not a prerequiste to TDI certification. Though the tests are very similar. At my school, people have the option to be evaluated for CGC only, TDI only, or both.
Thank you, Pawzk9, for this. I misspoke. Pet Partner requirements are here: http://www.deltasociety.org/page.aspx?pid=261
Prerequisites are here: http://www.deltasociety.org/page.aspx?pid=262

We encourage CGC as a prerequisite for the classes, and often individual schools or instructors require it. Since the examination for CGC is about ten steps, and the Delta evaluation is about twenty, CGC is a great way to get a feel for it and to find out if the team has the "right stuff".
 

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Poly, are your great danes therepy dogs? If so how did you get your Danes accepting of random people touching them? My dane is still at his puppy stage (8.5 months) but so far when we take him on walks in public areas, he is very loving to anyone that pets him, not sure but will being in a hospital setting unsettle him?
Right now we are in the middle of just the "basic training"-puppy 2 class and I was told there is still interemediate and advanced training we have to put him through to get him even close to being ready for the therepy dog tests, is there a specific training agency that trains them (and the owner) from the begining all the way to make them a therepy dog?
 

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Poly, are your great danes therepy dogs? If so how did you get your Danes accepting of random people touching them? My dane is still at his puppy stage (8.5 months) but so far when we take him on walks in public areas, he is very loving to anyone that pets him, not sure but will being in a hospital setting unsettle him?
Socialization and more socialization. Get out to as many different places and events as you can. Find out if any local stores, malls, and other establishments will allow dogs - on leash - and go to them, even to just hang around.

Look for and attend "bark in the park" events and other such types of events that allow dogs. Those are nice because there is no expectaion that the dogs are going to be super-well trained.

It's not likely that you'll be allowed into a hospital or school until you are certified, but you can go to places like playgrounds and sports facilities - if dogs are permitted and always on leash of course - to get your dog to accept a lot of activity and noises around him.

Right now we are in the middle of just the "basic training"-puppy 2 class and I was told there is still interemediate and advanced training we have to put him through to get him even close to being ready for the therepy dog tests, is there a specific training agency that trains them (and the owner) from the begining all the way to make them a therepy dog?
Yes there is more training reqired than basic puppy training. Speaking in general, you'll want to aim for training to get to the CGC (Canine Good Citizen) or equivalent as a sort of pre-requisite to check your dog's temperament and your own capacities. Your current trainer, training club, or training facility may do it, or they can recommend a place or person who does. Often, the training class that prepares for the CGC test also prepares for the therapy test. But they aren't the same thing.

BTW, your dog is just about ready to enter adolescence - if he hasn't started it already. Especially with large,powerful dogs, this can be an "interesting" time - to say the least. Just be prepared.

If you were an experienced handler, you could self-train. Many, many experienced handlers self-train their dogs for these activities. But as a beginner, you should work with a trainer, club or facility.

Good luck with your training and please stick with it and don't get discouraged. Dog training is rarely a 'straight-line' activity, but it can be very rewarding.
 
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