go down to the information forum and at the bottom is a service dogs area. in those posts are a lot of great links for therapy and service dogs.
you'll need to get certified by one of the two major organizations and to do so you'll have to decide where you want to go with your dog. ask those facilities which certifications they will accept. A CGC is also a great start and sometimes is required. the two biggies are below.
After reading some it sounds like it's best to get involved with the societies and apprentice or visit with someone with their dog and without yours a few times just to learn the ropes. You'll also need some specialized training that you should start as early as possible. so start reading and talking with these places.
your dog will need to know how to get out of the way and tuck his tail to be sure he isn't injured, not put paws on unless asks since some people have very fragile skin, never ever eat anything off the floor, and many other things to avoid injuring someone however innocently.
there are some neat yahoo groups too that you can join and chat about therapy dogs.
Look up a local trainer and see if they might know. Research local dog clubs in your area, and it's pretty common for at least one of them to also teach about therapy work. First and foremost, I would get her CGC. Ask a Petsmart or PetCo trainer(IF they are any good...I'm disappointed with every one of these except one in my area who is phenomenal, and she happens to be a good friend of mine); some of them may know more about the local dog clubs and could send you in the right direction. If you know of certain hospitals or senior care centers that are visited regularly by therapy groups, call up the hospital or care center and ask what days they visit. Meet up with them when they do come and talk to them if they have the time.
where do you want to work with your dog? retirement homes, hospitals, childrens' reading? call one of those facilities and ask what organizations come to their facilities and are approved. they will require some certification and then you get in touch with the certifier they work with. it's always a good idea before certifying to do this to be sure you don't go after a cert they will not honor anyway. most places here accept both US TDI and Delta but not all do.
Breed clubs will also be a great resource to you. Is there a Ca version of akc or do you guys use akc? you can also look up dog show wins and see who the top 10 breeders of your dogs' breed are that are winning titles there. Contact them and ask who they work with to certify therapy dogs. your vet or the Ca version of the SPCA might also since rescue dogs like the Vick dogs often end up in therapy work.
Last the TDI and Delta society might be able to tell you who their Ca counterparts are since I bet people living near the border might cross over some to do therapy work.
We don't have any breed clubs or petsmart, or anything like that, and we only have one dog training that I know of, other then the trainer for 4-H, and the trainer is a friend of my mom's so I think I'm going to email him if I can't find any info anywhere else. I did email the saint johns ambulance to ask them about it. And to answer your question, I would like to volunteer in a hospital, and/or nursing home.
i would directly call those hospi tals & nursing homesand see what certified organization comes there. if you become involved with one of the organizations you are often able to get cheap insurance. something to consider in the event ur dog accidently injures someone. if someone rolls over their tail and they jump and knock someone down or they touch a paw to someone's very fragile skin it's sometimes a very good idea to protect yourself financially. i have an umbrella policy to cover dogs, accidents on my property etc too just in case.
it is something you need to consider before making active visits with your dog to a facility. i would also ask the facilities what provisions for dog vac's, bathing, insurance they require to come visit their facility. all the good intent in the world won't get you in the door unless you comply with their standards. so it's best to know what you need to do before going to a lot of work only to find you need to do differently.
:dogbiggrin:Good on you Snooks. My Black Lab Baxter and I are Therapy Dogs through Delta Society Australia. I intended on going with my older Golden Ret, Lab X but she is old and went down hill between registering and the assessment day. I took a young bouncy Baxter to have a look at what the temperament was purely for experience, and come back the following year and have a crack at accreditation then. We passed easily, and now visit a palliative care facility once a week.
The funny bit is that it is the best training and greatest improvement in my dog that I have ever seen. Patients and visitors comment on how much he has improved over the last few months. I even notice dramatic improvements weekly. He was known as the excitable one, but now he is just the favourite one with a big personality. He still is a bouncy lab everywhere else, but as soon as the bandanna goes around his neck, he is a polite, attention seeking, well mannered dog that I am proud to call my partner.
If any are interested, do it. We won the community award for 2008 for something I feel I get more out of than I put in!:dognowink:
what a great story. i've done a lot of volunteer work without a dog and got so much out of it exactly as you say. I thought bringing a dog into it could only be more wonderful. how awesome that you were awarded such a high honor too. congratulations!!!!
i thought Delta was international too so this also still sounds like a option for Alee to investigate. making someone else's day a little better is always worth the comparatively small effort it takes to do. i'm looking very much forward to it. thanks for the words!!:dogbiggrin:
If I am permitted to volunteer doing pet assisted therapy and do not need rex to be certified should I still have a type of identification on him saying he is a therapy dog? And If yes do you know any good brands of vest or harnesses or any good patches i could use?
it would not be good ettiquite and might royally make some people mad if you represented him as a therapy dog and he was not certified. it's like wearing a police uniform, it's not honest and in many places illegal and subject to serious prosection. if he's not certified then he's not a therapy dog. meant kindly.
not to sound stodgy but many people in the service dog and therapy dog part of society work very hard to be accepted into institutions and businesses and go through rigorous training to assure the public that their dogs are not only safe but respectable members of society and have earned, through impeccable and extensive training, the right to be there. they are considered ambassadors of service and therapy dog community and they are where the public gets their perception of how these dogs comport themselves.
people with service and therapy dogs are subject to GROWING of grief over "fake" dogs because more and more people are being purposely deceitful and saying their dog is an emotional support dog etc. so they can take their uncertified dogs into businesses and facilities that do not allow dogs. Not only is this dishonest it creates a huge amount of hassle and discrimination toward people that have a legitimate right and need to take their dogs into facilities.
buying or having ur dog wear any working dog vests, badges, or id cards is not only warned against on all of the websites that sell these items but could earn you a ban from buying and some legal prosecution. ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act not sure of other like international laws names) laws and violations are a hot topic these days where partly because most people have a blurred line between service and therapy dogs legal rights. Therapy dogs are not allowed free access to all places humans are as service dogs are.
Should you be questioned or asked for credentials you are required to carry them on you and your dog at all times. Having anything other than genuine id may get you in a lot of trouble. especially if there is an incident involving ur dog or you are discovered misrepresenting your dog. the business may decide to really crack down on all animals and make life harder for people that already have it much harder than the rest of society or they may ban therapy dogs and many people lose the benefit.
Wal-Mart is having a huge brew-ha-ha right now over some people that lied about their dogs being certified and Wal-Mart started refusing entry to service dogs and hassling people that were disabled. they actually issued a statement asking for clarification on what exactly a service dog is and that they were refusing entry because so many people were claiming their animals were emotional support/therapy dogs. so not only has the disabled community rallied against Wal-Mart, jobs have been lost at Wal-Mart, and disabled customers are seriously angry and engaging in litigation as they should and have every right to do.
Mostly this happened because people don't stop to think about how their momentary convenience affects thousands and thousands of disabled people. I just this week got a disabled placard for my car for the first time though i needed it years ago i felt i could get by without so i did. although i don't "look" disabled most of the time I've had a few exchanges already in parking lots because many people abuse the handicap parking system. here i am getting out of my car without a cane or wheel chair and i get glared at a called names "look at that b*tch she isn't crippled," clearly audible, when i actually have to work really hard at not being stared at because of my disability. I'm lucky i can pass for "normal" more than some can. Often I exhaust myself doing so because i don't like being stared at or pitied.
so don't misuse the therapy dog vests, equipment, id, and other things because you will make life harder for those that come behind and beside you. 10 years ago service dogs were not often discriminated against. now it's not a rare thing to be interrogated very unkindly when entering a business and even having police called because of past abuses.
if you have an agreement with a facility to bring an uncertified animal into a facility then they should in no way be wearing equipment reserved for or resembling certified animals. It's like wearing a security uniform and having people assume you have some authority when you do not. I know it's not something a lot of people think about until they are given a perspective from inside so I respectfully offer it.
just google service therapy dog ADA litigation if you want to see how many cases there are pending and what a mess it is. after overcoming resistance to the ADA when it was passed; disabled and therapy dog handlers now must overcome the ever broadening spectrum of uncertified pet animals that are flooding into society as carrying purse dogs and other animals has gotten trendy.
hope i didn't come across as unkind (did not mean to) but those that wear the certifications should earn them and others should not take away from their meaning by diluting that hard-earned distinction. you have a lot to contribute and much good to do. i did not mean to imply u weren't honest, just did not know hence u asked. that is nice. i've gotten a lot of info in a short time so i share. there are those extremists that want only 1 org to certify and only for the blind. so all kids of extremes and situations. i just wish u trouble free rewards 4 ur work and success however you proceed. :msnwink:
i thought about this...how about a regular harness and/or collar with embroidered wording on it. love to be petted, pet me, name, nursing home x friend, any number of things can be said without wearing a cape or vest. my name is rex please pet me. etc. many of the capes or vests are hot or inconvenient. many working dog owners would prefer not to "dress" their dogs but get too much grief when they don't mostly by the public petting them and distracting.
i think i have some of those links if you are interested?? :dogbiggrin: