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As most of you know my boy Carsten is a registered Therapy dog. Many of my old dogs were also registered Therapy dogs. I love this breed for that reason. They just really seem to be perfect for it. As a breed, a well trained and socialized Rottweiler is just so tolerant of things that happen during the average therapy visit. They get bumped, stepped on, run over by wheelchairs and sometimes yelled at by cranky patients. We work in the Alzheimer's unit on occasion and that is always an adventure. I believe the visits really help the people even if only for a few moments. Carsten is actually working in rehab as well. Walking with patients, helping them to do commands (voice exercises) and retrieve items. He is a work in progress but every time I visit, I am sort of in awe of his gentle nature. He excepts everyone. He tries really hard to be polite. No crotch sniffing etc... In some of these places there are a LOT of smells. Dogs need to be polite. It is always a challenge but it is also amazingly rewarding.
Here are a few pictures. Not good ones, but gives you an idea of what he does. Hopefully I will be able to get some pictures when he visits the Pediatrics Oncology unit. With HIPPA laws now days it is much harder to get pictures. I will be getting some when I can. Thanks for looking... Now lets hear some of your Therapy dog stories.



 

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Carsten is such a sweetie... Honey does therapy work with me. She does well on the whole, but generally she thrives with the senior citizens. We have worked with the mentally disabled but she's such a soft dog that she sometimes gets freaked out by their inadvertent roughness and loudness. The senior citizens love her though because she just looooves being petted... and the tricks she does amuse them to no end.

I play this game with the members of the home where I write down cues on cards and ask them to read the cues out to Honey. They love seeing Honey do tricks on their command and it encourages them to keep talking since many of them are on voice therapy from partial strokes and so on. Very often, their enunciation isn't quite there, so I have to train Honey with hand signals as well and then stand behind the senior citizens helping them out!

Oh, there was once a patient (from the mentally disabled ward) offered me $5 in exchange for Honey... I said no, of course. (I mean, come on. She is worth at least $10. :p)
 

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LOL That is great Melissa. I love hearing these stories. Therapy dogs are so under rated. The benefits are amazing. I too am teaching hand signals to Carsten for the same reasons. He is not so quick to listen to other people. That sort of pays off from time to time when the mentally disabled try to encourage him to Misbehave. lol What tricks does Honey know? So far Carsten only knows high fives, shake, speak, roll over, play dead, crawl, back up and starting to wave and bow. He is also working on retrieving. He does it for me but is learning to retrieve for the patients. They can throw a ball (helping their muscle flexibility) and he can bring it back. Often patients will try harder for interactions with a dog. I feel so lucky to have places that see Carsten as a Therapy dog and NOT a scary Rottweiler. There is this maintenance man that sees him every week and every week he slams himself into the wall and acts the fool each time Carsten passes him in the hall. He is the one that said "you never know when those dogs will turn on you." I can't help but tease him a little now by walking past more often and one time I said "Do you think this will be THAT time when he turns?" The guy is kind of a jerk but I think he is actually softening just a little bit. Most of the nurses and doctors really like Carsten or at least give him a chance. That is all I ask. :)

Oh, and I think Honey is worth her weight in Gold. She sounds like a wonderful little dog. Some people say the funniest things don't they?
 

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Worth her weight in gold? Must be a lot of gold then... :p I have so much trouble keeping weight off Honey. Especially with the patients and the elderly who love feeding her. On therapy days she doesn't eat her meal with Spunky because she gets the equivalent in kibble at the hospital. Sigh.

As far as tricks go... beyond the obedience basics, Honey knows shake, wave, pose, sitting up on her hind end, spin in two directions, kiss the hand and touch. She also does a mean (and very dedicated) "go find"... the elderly love to play find the treat with her. They like to brainstorm and find the most obscure places to hide the food. I tried to teach Honey a retrieve but no can do... she won't put anything in her mouth that's not edible.

And yes, the other therapy dog owners are always surprised that a beagle can be trained...
 

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LOL I am not at all surprised a Beagle can be trained. Though they are not the breed for me, they are amazing dogs. I have known several that were pretty well trained. I also had one in for training not long ago and what do you know... She was trained quite easily. She (Freckles) was a sweet little gal. I could live without the Baying sound they make though. :) It seems Beagles are sort of prone to weight gain. I know many of them that are quite heavy. What is pose? Carsten does the kissing thing too. A little too frequently, unfortunately. :( He is also learning spin. I hope I will be able to get him to listen to strangers a little better. My old girl always looked to me when someone spoke and I could give a hand signal. Carsten stares at them like "you want me to what?" I think he is a bit of a smart alec.

Do you have any pictures of Honey working?
 

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Whoops, I meant to put brackets around "sitting up on her hind end" in my last post, not commas. "Pose" is when she sits on her butt, tilts her head to one side and raises her front legs in the air. And I couldn't live without that baying sound! It is music to my ears. (Though often not to my neighbours'.) Training has gotten them to the point where they will bay only when someone is ringing the doorbell, and once or twice in the day for fun... the way others talk about their Beagles I sometimes feel like I might have gotten lucky with two of the quieter side of the breed, because they don't bark that much at all. They are LOUD though.

Honey is okay with listening to strangers... sometimes I'm unsure if I want her to be completely biddable by strangers though, just for safety reasons. Usually I stand next to the patient who's giving the commands, and do very subtle hand signals so she still responds.

Here are some pictures of when we went to visit BHID (Bishan Home for the Intellectually Disabled... Bishan is a district in Singapore):







The last picture shows another activity we do where we clip on two leashes and let the patient have a feel of walking the dog.
 

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Honey is adorable. She has such CUTE feet. lol That is something I tend to notice on dogs. (I know, I am weird) lol Yes, I am thinking the 2 leashes would be necessary for Carsten if the patient was not real steady on their feet. He walks really really well on a loose leash for the most part. My only fear is that he will all of a sudden feel he needs to be closer to me. In the picture I was only a few feet away and the lady walking him was steady on her feet. He did well. He has gone along side wheelchairs without issue as well but I always worry about people running into him. It has happened a few times and I do not want him to become nervous around them. When I practiced with him, I sat in a wheelchair and then bumped him and tossed a bunch of treats to him. He looks for treats now when he gets bumped. I am always there with a pocket full of goodies for him at the ready. It helps to motivate him to listen to others as well. I am jealous of your "pose." In all my years of having Rotties and all the different Rotties I have dealt with, I have not had a dog that did a good pose. Maybe the lack of tail is an issue for balance? I mean, I can get them to go up but they won't hold it for long. A few of them would flip over if I tried to get them up. I guess Rotties are more the football player types and not the graceful ballerinas. lol I won't give up. I am going to keep trying with Carsten. He might be my first. :)
Thank you, Thank you so much for sharing your lovely photo's of Honey. She truly IS worth her weight in Gold. How old is she and how long has she been an active Therapy dog? How often do you take her? Do you always go to the same places? Do you have a hard time with it and is she your first Therapy Dog?

Anyone else with Therapy stories or pictures? Anyone with dogs working is SAR out there? I would LOVE to hear any of those type of stories as well.
 

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Inga!!! That's CARSTEN??? How long have you been hiding this handsome fella from us? Last photo of him that I remember is the one taken when he was still small enough to fit in the bucket!!! Great work Inga! Its amazing to see how a big dog is being so gentle with the old, fragile folks!

No wonder MOMMA loves this fella... HE IS SUCH A CUTIE! Thanks for sharing the pics Inga.. I've been looking forward to seeing him "WORKING". :)
 

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Great pics of Carsten Inga! What a handsome guy

Honey is such a pretty girl.

I have my 3 furbutts in SAR training for the last 3 months.. Puddles is doing so well! She has caught on since the 2nd training day..She has passed me up. Our commander says it is a shame.. He cant believe my Cairn (ankle biters, ingredients for doggy shishkabob for his dogs etc..hehe...hes funny) has caught on so well. He says she is definate SAR material. Iris is doing well..but not as quick. Dozer is having fun and doing ok..He is 9 years old and basically, training at this time is just for fun. But who knows, We are still newbies.

This is Puddles the first day with her first "victim" She found these 2 about 300 foot into the woods.

This is Puddles with her first strategic find. Approx. 2 miles back from camp.

Its hard to see her with all the ground debris..but she looks funny in this one

We even do demostrations for schools.
 

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My rottweiler, Clyde, is also a TDInc registered therapy dog. He's pretty good at his job, too! At the assisted living facility we visit, there is a stroke victim (Mrs A). She cannot use the left side of her body, and Clyde recognizes that. He goes to her right side and uses his nose to put her hand on his head. He is very gentle with her, and she LOVES him! Clyde also does very well with children, which is surprising to me since I am child-free.

Clyde does not know many tricks yet. He has his basic obedience, of course, and we are working on roll over, play dead, crawl and wave.

We have not been on any visits since Christmas, though. I just haven't had the time with a full time and part time job and full time classes again this semester. Hopefully, once I graduate in May, we will be back in action. And we'll work on getting some pictures of Clyde "working" too!

I do have some pics of us "working" the booth for the rottie rescue I volunteer with. If those count, I might post a few. ;-)
 

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DM, I didn't know you were doing SAR! That's something I've often contemplated doing, with Spunky especially... the opportunities here are a bit lacking in that area, though. Monica, it's so nice to see more Rotties getting out there and improving the breed's image. We don't have any Rotties doing therapy work with our association but I really wish there were.

Honey is okay on a loose leash. The association will usually insist that the dogs be walked on two leashes because not all the patients are dog people. As for the pose, it's probably just because Honey is so short! Compared to your Rotties especially. So she's a lot more stable. I look forward to see Carsten's pose. He might be almost up to my shoulder when he does it.

Honey is 9 this year and has been doing therapy for maybe a year. (I really can't be sure.) We usually go once a month, but it's been about once every two months lately. I really love it, and I think Honey does, too. She seems oddly unfazed by walkers, wheelchairs, falling walking sticks and so on. Every stranger is her new best friend.

I don't know why, but Honey tends to have confidence issues around other dogs when I'm not there. She's an angel with strangers but if she's among strange dogs and I'm not close, she gets visibly antsy. I've been trying to work on it, but there's such a shortage of well-behaved dogs around here that every time I bring her out to the park or somewhere, it seems to make the problem even worse. :(
 

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Inga!!! That's CARSTEN??? How long have you been hiding this handsome fella from us? Last photo of him that I remember is the one taken when he was still small enough to fit in the bucket!!! Great work Inga! Its amazing to see how a big dog is being so gentle with the old, fragile folks!
No wonder MOMMA loves this fella... HE IS SUCH A CUTIE! Thanks for sharing the pics Inga.. I've been looking forward to seeing him "WORKING".
LOL Yup Mudra, I am pretty ashamed of how few pictures I have of Carsten or Oliver. I have drawers full of most of my other dogs. I just always forget to take the camera out, I guess. I am trying to improve that and have posted a few on Flickr for you. ;)

digits mama: I love the pictures. In the first one at first glance I thought puddles was trying to give the victim mouth to mouth. Then I saw he was turned around. I am so jealous of you as you know, I really want my boys in SAR but there just are no good clubs here. Hopefully your captain will have some info to share. If not I might UPS the boys to you for awhile. :cool:

MonicaBH: Bring on the pictures. I would be happy with Clyde sitting on the couch or Clyde sleeping on the floor pictures. Any Clyde picture will be a good one. :D

rosemaryninja: That is wonderful that Honey got into doing Therapy work at an older age. Actually, I think many dogs get into it at a slightly older age. The dogs are more settled by then. In Carsten's case he is pretty easy going now. By the time he gets older, he might be too lazy to go visit patients. :rolleyes:
I will keep practicing the pose and if I can get anything close to it, I will take a picture of him for you. He is actually on the smaller end of the standard for a Rottie. I love getting my dogs our there for people to see doing positive things. I wish more Rottie people would do that too. The ones that do are usually very very good at it.
 

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I've done some pet therapy work with Toby at our local hospital. (Not much lately) We have a skilled nursing facility on the second floor. The old folks up there love him. He's so patient when their hands get tangled in his fur. Nothing freaks him out, not the noise, the wheelchairs, nothing.

We also go to the med/surg floor. The kids, in particular, are excited to see him. I give the kids a few treats to give him. He'll just lie his furry head on the bed and let them pet him while they give him treats. It's wonderful for both of them.

Cameron isn't pet therapy certified, but it seems he wants to be... The skilled nursing facility is on the second floor, but the way the ground slopes it has an automatic door out to the parking lot. The door has an electric eye that opens it when it detects movement. One day I had done my rounds with Toby while Cameron waited in the car. I opened the back door of the car to put Toby in and Cameron LAUNCHED himself out of the car and ran up to the automatic door... which opened. He RAN into the ward and jumped up on the nearest bed he could find... which happened to be occupied by a woman with severe cerebral palsy. I ran in after him, totally mortified by his escape. As it turns out, the woman was thrilled with the dog on her bed. She's totally aware but completely incapacitated and bedridden. Cameron was curled up next to her, not tromping around on the bed. He had just jumped up and then settled in. The nurses had put her hand on his head so she could feel him. It was the happiest she'd been in a while. Unfortunately, I had to remove him since he isn't approved. But in that short visit he had made her day.
 

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Awesome thread! I have always admired people using their dogs for therapy. Really enjoy seeing the pics nad hearing the stories. Just got a puppy in January and would love to do this when he is older and definitely not in puppy stage.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
LOL Rowdy, I can see where Cameron's behavior would have scared you a little. Dogs are dogs after all. :) I am glad to hear that your dogs are so sweet and you have such good Therapy dog stories. Keep up the good work.

Nickjuly: start socializing now and don't stop. Your pup is adorable and there simply are not enough Therapy dogs to go around. People love a visit from a social, well behaved dog to break up the monotony of the day in either hospitals or nursing homes or other rehab facilities. He can test out for his CGC when he is only 6 months old and he can get tested for his TDI when he is one year. :) Good Luck to you, YOU CAN DO IT! :)
 

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Cool. Thanks for the info. Figured I would have to wait til he was closer to 2 to be calm and well mannered enough for therapy dog work. Would love to get into it. Remy "my pup" is a very social puppy he love seeing people. His parents were very calm dogs. Think all people that do this are awesome!!:)

LOL Rowdy, I can see where Cameron's behavior would have scared you a little. Dogs are dogs after all. :) I am glad to hear that your dogs are so sweet and you have such good Therapy dog stories. Keep up the good work.

Nickjuly: start socializing now and don't stop. Your pup is adorable and there simply are not enough Therapy dogs to go around. People love a visit from a social, well behaved dog to break up the monotony of the day in either hospitals or nursing homes or other rehab facilities. He can test out for his CGC when he is only 6 months old and he can get tested for his TDI when he is one year. :) Good Luck to you, YOU CAN DO IT! :)
 

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nickjuly, here are a few websites.... Info is good. :)

http://therapydogs.com/

http://www.tdi-dog.org/

practice, practice, practice. :)
My boy is only 17 months now and he has been doing it for awhile. He is also a pretty calm dog. He still gets a little spunky now and then but taking him for a walk before work helps. The more he does it the better he does it.
 

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Inga Carsten does a real rewarding job there ;),you must be very proud.
He has got very big since i remeber him in the flower pot,honey,DM's crew and the others keep up the good work.

I would really like to take Bless to do this type of work,she loves everyone but especially old people and kids,who would i approach if i wanted to get her into it??
The only dogs i know that do any kind of therapy work are guide dogs (normally labs here) or sniffer dogs (normally springer spaniels) im not sure if dogs are allowed in hospitals here which is a damm shame.
 
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