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Judging Trainability?


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I'm nowhere near being able to adopt (well, months and months away, at least) but I started thinking about how to chose a good grey for me when the time does come. At least, how to chose from the dogs the group thinks could fit with my lifestyle. Anyway, I've always wanted to have a therapy dog and visit nursing homes (and potentially hospitals if I can ever overcome that anxiety), so I was wondering about your experiences adopting and training. The greys I've lived with (Regis, Dusty, and Eli for a while) were not at all trainable dogs - they learned things, but only if it suited them (like "wait" because if they waited they got to go outside and walk and explore things). They had no desire to perform anything for treats (or toys or affection - I couldn't find a motivation that worked!) no matter how hard I tried (although it's entirely possible I was just doing it wrong)! So I always thought that greyhounds simply weren't trainable in that way - until I joined GT and saw how many therapy greys and agility greys there are! My question, then, is this: What did you look for in your potential new friend to judge trainability, or did you have this in mind at all? I know how much greys change as they settle in to a home, but surely there is a way to assess potential therapy-dog-trainability when you're meeting potential pups. Do you look for attentiveness? Food/toy motivation? A gentle disposition? All of the above?

 

Actually, that spawns a whole new curiosity... How did you "pick" your pups? Did you go in and chose for yourself, or did you let the group narrow down the choices and pick from there? Or did the dog pick you? I was never curious about this stuff before I started getting involved with PRH, but now that I've seen a bunch of dogs and adoptions, I'm wondering... :lol

Mom of bridge babies Regis and Dusty.

Wrote a book about shelter dogs!

I sell things on Etsy!

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Every dog is trainable, some just take longer and more work from you. If I were looking for a therapy dog, I'd look for a dog with a good disposition. You can train behaviors, you can't train personality.

 

I picked Bu because he was pathetic. No really, he was a mess. Sailor was my foster for 5 months, adopted, returned a week later minus his tail (it was an accident), and was also a mess. I couldn't let him go again. He was completely traumatized from the experience. I promised I wouldn't let him go again.

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Trainability and therapy are two completely different things. Some very trainable dogs are wild Indians -- unsuited to therapy work until they get to be about 12 years old :lol .

 

Trainable = responds to a person.

 

Therapy = interested in people, gentle with people, yet bombproof.

 

 

 

 

 

ETA: As Sambuca notes, every dog is trainable. In a "meet the people" situation, some dogs *don't* respond to a person much. That doesn't mean they aren't trainable, just perhaps that they're a bit more distractable or more affected by new situations. I LOVE working with greyhounds because 99.9999999999% are food motivated, usually sooner rather than later, and that makes it easy to get the behavior you want.

Edited by Batmom

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Trainability and therapy are two completely different things. Some very trainable dogs are wild Indians -- unsuited to therapy work until they get to be about 12 years old :lol .

 

Trainable = responds to a person.

 

Therapy = interested in people, gentle with people, yet bombproof.

 

 

 

 

 

ETA: As Sambuca notes, every dog is trainable. In a "meet the people" situation, some dogs *don't* respond to a person much. That doesn't mean they aren't trainable, just perhaps that they're a bit more distractable or more affected by new situations. I LOVE working with greyhounds because 99.9999999999% are food motivated, usually sooner rather than later, and that makes it easy to get the behavior you want.

 

:lol Yeah, I know there's no black-and-white way to tell - I'm just curious about what you look for to judge trainability. Drop me in an all-breed shelter and I can tell you who will be a highly trainable dog, who you'll be able to train moderately, and who you'll be lucky to get to "sit" with any reliability. Drop me in a greyhound kennel and I tend to forget everything I've learned about training and just want to cuddle everyone :lol

 

I already know that a boisterous, young, playful grey will probably never suit my lifestyle, so I wouldn't adopt one regardless of their trainability! I'd go nuts with a dog like that. I'm definitely a more laid-back person - I like to hike and go for walks and go places, but not to the extent that I could ever exhaust a young dog (which is part of the reason I decided not to be a puppy-raiser - I simply can't imagine myself handling that much energy).

 

I definitely understand the "meet the people" situations - I volunteered at the county shelter for 8 years and constantly had to tell people that the dog wasn't ignoring them, it just didn't know that they were any different from the volunteers/kennel workers and was therefore more interested in sniffing where all the other dogs had been.

 

I guess I didn't explain my question properly. I know all dogs are trainable to a certain. I'm curious to know if there's a particular way you judge how trainable any particular dog will be.

Mom of bridge babies Regis and Dusty.

Wrote a book about shelter dogs!

I sell things on Etsy!

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Here is a good article about "what to look for in a therapy dog". The comments are also enlightening. The most important characteristic (or at least what most people seem to agree on) are that a therapy dog has to like people... by which we mean all people, not just immediate friends and family. A dog who is "good with people", but doesn't think everyone he meets is an instant friend, can "do" therapy work, but it will be much more stressful for the dog. I think of it this way: I like getting together with my friends, having a good talk over dinner, etc. I will go to work functions and professional society events to network, but it's work... I have to force myself to do it, and am very happy when I can leave. A dog with the same temperament will be able to do therapy work, but they won't love it, and that's what you are looking for.

 

http://www.patriciamcconnell.com/theotherendoftheleash/therapy-dogs-born-or-made

 

Hope this helps!

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My blog about helping Katie learn to be a more normal dog: http://katies-journey-philospher77.blogspot.com/

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What I look for is a dog who responds to me -- hand motions, voice, etc. If I make a "chk chk" sound when the dog's attention is elsewhere, does the dog look at me and wait a beat to see what I want? That's a reasonable indication that you have a dog who gives a crap :lol . But, many dogs who are too distracted/excited on first acquaintance to respond that way are very trainable. My angel Joseph, who could be "deer in the headlights" in a new situation, learned to sit on command faster than any dog I've trained, including quite a few working breeds.

 

For a dog who's going to be around the more fragile public elements (children, seniors), I like to have a dog who isn't very inclined to jump on people even when excited.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Here is a good article about "what to look for in a therapy dog". The comments are also enlightening. The most important characteristic (or at least what most people seem to agree on) are that a therapy dog has to like people... by which we mean all people, not just immediate friends and family. A dog who is "good with people", but doesn't think everyone he meets is an instant friend, can "do" therapy work, but it will be much more stressful for the dog. I think of it this way: I like getting together with my friends, having a good talk over dinner, etc. I will go to work functions and professional society events to network, but it's work... I have to force myself to do it, and am very happy when I can leave. A dog with the same temperament will be able to do therapy work, but they won't love it, and that's what you are looking for.

 

http://www.patriciamcconnell.com/theotherendoftheleash/therapy-dogs-born-or-made

 

Hope this helps!

 

That's interesting - thanks! It all makes sense, but I hadn't thought of some of those points. Part of it makes me question my potential ability to be a therapy dog handler :lol

Mom of bridge babies Regis and Dusty.

Wrote a book about shelter dogs!

I sell things on Etsy!

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Every dog is trainable. Every single one. But some have motivators that are easier to identify and to provide. What most people think of as "trainability" means food or toy motivation. But sometimes you just need to be creative in order to find a dog's motivator. For example... most children love candy so you can motivate them with candy but not with spinach. However, there are children out there who do not like candy... but maybe they love reading! For that child, candy is not a motivator but being allowed an hour to read undisturbed is! The same is true for dogs. While many dogs are motivated by food, some are not. It is also prudent to remember that situation can have a huge impact. In most situations Kili is hugely food and toy motivated. However, there are times at agility practice where she's just not feeling the toy (usually near the end of class or in the hotter weather when she's tired) and then it makes no sense to throw her toy but it does make sense to reward with food. And when she was younger she would get hugely distracted by things in the environment and wouldn't accept food. What she wanted was to chase the flock of seagulls. Well, why not work with that? I asked for a few behaviours, if she obliged she got to go chase the seagulls. When I take her to the dog park all she wants to do is run with the other dogs. But if she wants that she has to do a few things for me first... her reward is being released into the park to play. Every dog, in every situation, has a motivator. It is your job as a dog trainer to find what that is.

 

That said, obviously if you have a goal you want to try to pick an individual who has motivators that are easier to provide. In my agility dogs I want food motivation above all else. I also really like toy motivation. I also look at personality. I want a confident, happy dog that doesn't have major problems with people or other dogs. If I was looking for a therapy dog I would also look for a calm disposition. Kili would be a terrible choice despite her "trainability" because she's a bull in a china shop. Just the other day she knocked over a small child that was visiting us because she tried to play with the little girl the way she plays with me... paws up on the chest!

 

I did not choose either of my dogs. I simply got lucky with Summit. I asked the kennel assistant to choose a dog for us that fit our needs at the time, primarily a dog who would be good in the house, liked to be active but didn't NEED to be (I was still in school at the time), that could get along with my rabbits, and that would not bark when we were gone (our landlord lived upstairs and wasn't originally too keen on letting us get a dog). I just got lucky that he also turned out to have an interest in training and agility. Kili on the other hand was acquired specifically with agility in mind, but I basically let her breeder choose for me. She looked for a confident puppy that didn't shy away from new objects and was fearless on her agility equipment. Picking a puppy is a bit of a different game than an adult dog. In some ways... you don't know exactly how they'll grow up or how their personality will change, on the other hand you get to help steer them and shape them to the kind of personality you want.

Kristie and the Apex Agility Greyhounds: Kili (ATChC AgMCh Lakilanni Where Eagles Fly RN IP MSCDC MTRDC ExS Bronze ExJ Bronze ) and Kenna (Lakilanni Kiss The Sky RN MADC MJDC AGDC AGEx AGExJ). Waiting at the Bridge: Retired racer Summit (Bbf Dropout) May 5, 2005-Jan 30, 2019

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Guest CaityRose

My dog is trained...to listen when she chooses! Haha. I consider her more stubborn. Not sure how to tell before you really know a dog though. As far as therapy dogs go, my Dad does that with their greyhound. She doesn't sit, stay, blah blah. She's just gentle natured and loves attention and people.

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I made the mistake that young dogs and puppies are always "blank slates" and thus, the most trainable. But a lot of temperament and personality characteristics are genetic, so even with the right training, you don't always know how they'll turn out. I got Truman at 15-weeks-old with the hope that he'd be a suitable candidate for therapy work and advanced obedience. I came to learn that even with an insane amount of training, he is too touchy/jumpy/reactive. At his core, he is not suited for that kind of work.

 

My advice is to go with a dog that has basic people skills and dog skills right off the bat (which isn't necessarily the dog that is the most trainable). Manners can be improved, but being friendly and outgoing is more of a personality trait. It's hard to "train" a dog to do therapy work if they don't already have that intrinsic love for meeting people.

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My advice is to go with a dog that has basic people skills and dog skills right off the bat (which isn't necessarily the dog that is the most trainable). Manners can be improved, but being friendly and outgoing is more of a personality trait. It's hard to "train" a dog to do therapy work if they don't already have that intrinsic love for meeting people.

 

This is what makes the most sense, I think, at least to me. While I would love to do therapy work with the dog I adopt, it's not a deal-breaker if the dog I get turns out to not be suited to it. The important thing is that the dog and me get along well and he/she is a good fit for my lifestyle :)

 

Every dog is trainable. Every single one. But some have motivators that are easier to identify and to provide. What most people think of as "trainability" means food or toy motivation. But sometimes you just need to be creative in order to find a dog's motivator. For example... most children love candy so you can motivate them with candy but not with spinach. However, there are children out there who do not like candy... but maybe they love reading! For that child, candy is not a motivator but being allowed an hour to read undisturbed is! The same is true for dogs. While many dogs are motivated by food, some are not. It is also prudent to remember that situation can have a huge impact. In most situations Kili is hugely food and toy motivated. However, there are times at agility practice where she's just not feeling the toy (usually near the end of class or in the hotter weather when she's tired) and then it makes no sense to throw her toy but it does make sense to reward with food. And when she was younger she would get hugely distracted by things in the environment and wouldn't accept food. What she wanted was to chase the flock of seagulls. Well, why not work with that? I asked for a few behaviours, if she obliged she got to go chase the seagulls. When I take her to the dog park all she wants to do is run with the other dogs. But if she wants that she has to do a few things for me first... her reward is being released into the park to play. Every dog, in every situation, has a motivator. It is your job as a dog trainer to find what that is.

 

That said, obviously if you have a goal you want to try to pick an individual who has motivators that are easier to provide. In my agility dogs I want food motivation above all else. I also really like toy motivation. I also look at personality. I want a confident, happy dog that doesn't have major problems with people or other dogs. If I was looking for a therapy dog I would also look for a calm disposition. Kili would be a terrible choice despite her "trainability" because she's a bull in a china shop. Just the other day she knocked over a small child that was visiting us because she tried to play with the little girl the way she plays with me... paws up on the chest!

 

I did not choose either of my dogs. I simply got lucky with Summit. I asked the kennel assistant to choose a dog for us that fit our needs at the time, primarily a dog who would be good in the house, liked to be active but didn't NEED to be (I was still in school at the time), that could get along with my rabbits, and that would not bark when we were gone (our landlord lived upstairs and wasn't originally too keen on letting us get a dog). I just got lucky that he also turned out to have an interest in training and agility. Kili on the other hand was acquired specifically with agility in mind, but I basically let her breeder choose for me. She looked for a confident puppy that didn't shy away from new objects and was fearless on her agility equipment. Picking a puppy is a bit of a different game than an adult dog. In some ways... you don't know exactly how they'll grow up or how their personality will change, on the other hand you get to help steer them and shape them to the kind of personality you want.

 

You're right about the motivators... The more I think about Regis, the more I remember (I was 7 when we got him so it's all a little fuzzy). I was determined to teach him "agility" so I set up a few low jumps (starting with poles on the ground) in the backyard and lured him over with a treat. I raised the poles slowly and we jumped over them together and he got a treat. I used to think it was the treat he was after, but the more I think about it, the more I remember he wasn't food motivated at all, but loved to spend time with me and make me happy. I was his person :lol Dusty's motivation was small fuzzies - if it didn't move or squeak, she wasn't interested. :rolleyes:

 

I guess what I meant by trainability (I keep changing my question! Hah) was just about the test required for therapy dog work - temperament and disposition are more important, but I have test anxiety and the thought of preparing both myself and my dog for a test makes me cringe :lol (See what I mean about me maybe not being suited to this?)

Mom of bridge babies Regis and Dusty.

Wrote a book about shelter dogs!

I sell things on Etsy!

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ETA: As Sambuca notes, every dog is trainable. In a "meet the people" situation, some dogs *don't* respond to a person much. That doesn't mean they aren't trainable, just perhaps that they're a bit more distractable or more affected by new situations. I LOVE working with greyhounds because 99.9999999999% are food motivated, usually sooner rather than later, and that makes it easy to get the behavior you want.

UPS will be delivering you a very large box tomorrow. Brees will be inside. Enjoy!

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I would agree with what's mentioned above, and I'll just add my own experience.

 

I didn't really think about doing therapy dog work all that extensively until our trainer mentioned it. I would absolutely agree that the dog has to have the personality in him/her--Padfoot is the perfect therapy dog in my opinion--he would gladly leave me or my husband for anyone of any size who will pet him but is not overly boisterous about it. The only time he "jumps" is when we first get up in the morning or first let him out of his kennel when we get home from work, and even then it's more of a rearing horse than a jump at you.

 

We didn't pick Padfoot, our adoption group has a link with a local (very well respected) shelter so we adopted him through there-we kind of did everything backwards. Adopted him, then got the support system. He was the only greyhound there but we decided that if his personality wasn't what we were looking for when we met him we would use one of the greyhound specific adoption groups in our area. He was very friendly, gentle, and OK being handled in any way.

 

That is also a huge part...they MUST be OK with being touched anywhere. Especially in nursing home environments, you can never really expect how the person will touch them. They may or may not have complete nervous control and sometimes they end up patting the dog very hard, or they can only reach a certain area of the dog because of limitations of equipment like the very end of their muzzle.

 

I know that it wasn't necessarily the smartest thing to do meeting a dog for the first time, but in order to see how he would be with those types of situations, we touched and gently tugged his tail a bit, looked in his mouth, at his paws, and in his ears. Of course all of this was done very slowly, cautiously, and gently, but he couldn't care less. Padfoot is the type of dog that is happy as long as you are touching him. He has been easy to train thus far but we have only worked on the basics, nothing fancy, and he is food motivated. If you want to see how motivated they are when you visit them you could ask a volunteer or employee of the group to give you a handful of kibble and see how he/she reacts to it.

 

As far as Lupin goes, when we talked with Scooby about adopting a dog one of our goals was to also get them into therapy dog work. That covers a wide gamut of personality traits: they should be fairly confident, good with children, good with people, and pretty laid back. Luckily the woman who takes care of the dogs at the Residencia knew she had the right dog for that. It is easy to tell that in time he will make a great therapy dog. He is definitely more timid than Padfoot, but in time I'm sure he will become completely confident and not timid at all. That being said, on walks, he still wants to approach any person we see, but after they pet him for a couple of seconds he comes right back to me and leaves the rest of the pets for Padfoot, who has moved to leaning on the person usually. :)

 

Basically, I think it's more important to look for a dog that is calm, comfortable being handled, and likes people of any size and can be OK dealing with unexpected situations, like people running around, dropping things, lots of loud noises. I try to expect the worst possible scenario to make sure that the dogs would be okay even there was an emergency when you were visiting the nursing home or hospital.

 

There is a dog out there for you with these traits for sure, just be honest with your group in the expectations you have for the dog!

 

To break it down completely--for the test as far as Padfoot's temperament and not training is considered he had to be OK with:

--people making loud strange noises (dropping pans, hula-hoops, plastic duct work)

--running AT him to pet him and being very loud and erratic in their movements

--being touched on the tail, ears, back, feet

 

This is the link for our test form: http://www.petsandpeoplefoundation.org/volunteers/
Scroll down a bit and you'll see the test form for dogs on the page.

 

As for test anxiety: I was SO nervous, we had just moved 10 days prior, adopted Lupin 2 days prior, and I hadn't been able to work with Padfoot consistently and intensely for at least a month. Here and there I was able to do a little bit, but very little training happened up to the move and after because I was doing it all myself. I would say what made it so much easier was remembering that if we didn't pass, we could always retake it and there would be no penalty. Also, find yourself a trainer that you really like if you don't already have one, and ask them to help you with teaching the dog the specific things you need for therapy dog work. I have a great relationship with my trainer...she is so so nice and does nothing but encourage you...even if she is telling you that you're doing something wrong, she is so positive about it! That's what I needed.

 

Sorry to post so long, I hope this is a little helpful and not too verbose! :)

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Padfoot the greyhound fr. Coach Venom, Joined his forever family: 10-1-13

Lupin the galgo, Joined his forever family: 7-18-14
And the reptiles: Bernie the Bearded Dragon and Tonks the Russian Tortoise

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As for test anxiety: I was SO nervous, we had just moved 10 days prior, adopted Lupin 2 days prior, and I hadn't been able to work with Padfoot consistently and intensely for at least a month. Here and there I was able to do a little bit, but very little training happened up to the move and after because I was doing it all myself. I would say what made it so much easier was remembering that if we didn't pass, we could always retake it and there would be no penalty. Also, find yourself a trainer that you really like if you don't already have one, and ask them to help you with teaching the dog the specific things you need for therapy dog work. I have a great relationship with my trainer...she is so so nice and does nothing but encourage you...even if she is telling you that you're doing something wrong, she is so positive about it! That's what I needed.

 

Sorry to post so long, I hope this is a little helpful and not too verbose! :)

 

Not too verbose at all, and definitely helpful! I think my biggest problem is the test anxiety. I could have the most perfect dog with the best temperament who is completely and reliably trained, and I'd still be thinking "I'm sure I'm going to screw this up!" :rolleyes: It's why I haven't taken the GRE yet and why even ordering the practice book yesterday just about gave me a heart attack :lol There's....math.

 

Anyway, reading all these great responses has helped me see that what I should do is adopt the right dog for me and then, maybe, if I'm lucky, my pup will also have the temperament to be a therapy dog. If not, perhaps a M&G dog. Not the same, but it's something :lol

Mom of bridge babies Regis and Dusty.

Wrote a book about shelter dogs!

I sell things on Etsy!

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Not too verbose at all, and definitely helpful! I think my biggest problem is the test anxiety. I could have the most perfect dog with the best temperament who is completely and reliably trained, and I'd still be thinking "I'm sure I'm going to screw this up!" :rolleyes: It's why I haven't taken the GRE yet and why even ordering the practice book yesterday just about gave me a heart attack :lol There's....math.

 

Anyway, reading all these great responses has helped me see that what I should do is adopt the right dog for me and then, maybe, if I'm lucky, my pup will also have the temperament to be a therapy dog. If not, perhaps a M&G dog. Not the same, but it's something :lol

I think you're totally right! And regardless you'll love them and that's what's important :)

 

I think the idea of taking the GRE now would freak me out too...I got it in right before they changed the format. You'll do great! :thumbs-up The best thing to do is just go through those free practice tests so you can get the format down. Once you know HOW to take the test, the actual content is much easier.

GT_signature4_zpsfaaf7821.jpg

Padfoot the greyhound fr. Coach Venom, Joined his forever family: 10-1-13

Lupin the galgo, Joined his forever family: 7-18-14
And the reptiles: Bernie the Bearded Dragon and Tonks the Russian Tortoise

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My Toni isn't a "trained" therapy dog, but we do visit the Memory Care and Skilled Nursing units at a retirement center every month. She's turned out to be very good in this environment, even though she's not the ideal dog, on first look, for a therapy dog. Toni has space issues, she plays roughly, she bites when she's excited, she barks and talks all. the. time. At home. But she is a prototypical "people dog." She LOVES people, kids, nurses, staff, random shoppers on the street. The entire world is there simply to meet and pet Toni while she's out and about. And she's super gentle and affectionate with them. In fact, the more fragile they are, the more careful she seems to be. So while she's not the dog I would have initially chosen, she's turned out to be pretty great.

 

I would also add that choosing a training program/therapy program is as important as choosing the dog. Some tests are easier than others. The Delta Society probably has the most stringent requirements, but there are also other programs that are easier and give greyhounds a break on some of the sitting rules. Do your homework about what is required in your state, too.

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

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Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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There is something out there that you can do with every dog, trust me, except possibly for the unremittingly-spooky-when-away-from-home.

 

 

 

P.S. I will have Brees call you when she gets here :lol :lol :lol .

 

 

 

P.P.S. Yeah, as others have said, if you really want a therapy dog then those who love everybody & are bombproof or close to it are a good place to start.

Edited by Batmom

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Guest normaandburrell

My daughter owned and trained therapy dogs and she said my last grey would have been a good therapy dog except for one thing. He was calm and loved to be petted by everyone, which is essential for therapy dogs, but he was afraid of shiny floors.

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Yes! Shiny floors, walkers, wheel chairs, all sorts of equipment that makes funny noises, small spaces, vacuums and other cleaning equipment, weird looking physical therapy equipment, sometimes gnarly looking bandages and wrapping, food in rooms and large food transporatation carts (the hardest one for Toni!), people whose behavior is NOT normal, people who are sick, people who don't react at all OR react too much/large/loudly.

 

We've run into all of those during our visits. Toni is completely unfazed as long as there's a hand around to pet her! Whiskey is great with the people, but I don't take him as often because all the accoutrements scare him some. So a calm and trusting personality is very important.

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

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Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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I would say what made it so much easier was remembering that if we didn't pass, we could always retake it and there would be no penalty.

 

This. Plus the trainer at my class told us that one of her own dogs failed the first time, and for me that took most of the pressure off. I went into the test thinking of it mostly as a practice run for Milo. Much to my surprise, he passed.*

 

*The examiners had to look the other way on one part of the test. On the leave-the-food-on-the-floor walk by, I said "Leave it," and Milo said, "Are you CRAZY? Those are CHICKEN NUGGETS!" I had to administer a not-so-subtle body check with my knee. I think they went ahead and passed him because, as one examiner said, "He is just too sweet not to be a therapy dog."

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Ellen, with brindle Milo and the blonde ballerina, Gelsey

remembering Eve, Baz, Scout, Romie, Nutmeg, and Jeter

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