Are you looking for information on therapy dogs? There are many reasons to involve German Shepherds in therapy work. Aside from curing loneliness and depression regular visits from a lovable pooch can lower blood pressure, lower heart rates and ease the effects of Alzheimer’s among seniors.
Special needs children benefit by becoming more self-reliant and sociable from being around pets.And, not only does it benefit the two-legged, but pooch therapists get the chance to spread some of that unconditional "puppy love" to all those welcome recipients.
So, if your German Shepherd is a "people dog," what are you waiting for? Here are some ways to get her started spreading that furry sunshine right away as a trained therapy dog.
First, you need to test your dog to see if he/she has therapist potential. Take your dog on a leash to a place where there are a lot of people, such as a park, and see how your GSD reacts to, and interacts with, people petting her. See if your dog responds appropriately to your commands while in a hectic environment.
Here is a checklist of basic questions concerning information on therapy dogs that your answer should be a resounding "yes" to before you go any further. The main one being: Is your German Shepherd happy to be around people? Ascertain if your dog needs any special training before doing therapy work.
Some dogs automatically have what it takes and that includes being well behaved, well socialized and in good health. You and your dog should start out by joining a professional organization such as Therapy Dogs Inc. or perhaps a local organization, which provides loads of support, instruction, insurance and other services needed by owners of therapy dogs. Another issue to consider is that many facilities might prefer that your German Shepherd is first registered with a professional organization before allowing you to interact with their residents/patients. Contact hospitals, nursing homes, retirement residences, hospices, schools and any other special needs center in your area that could benefit from and welcome therapy dogs. Find out how to go about applying. If you can, tour the facilities and get to know the staff and residents first, find out how receptive they would be to visits from a therapy dog and most importantly, whether or not they require your dog be certified. Next, bathe your dog close to the time of each visit, make sure his coat is free of parasites, brush his teeth and trim his nails. Brush and comb your dog immediately prior to each visit. Last but not least, make sure your dog is current on all it's vaccinations before making therapy visits.
Teach your dog a special verbal or physical cue before each and every therapy visit so that she'll know what her destination is going to be and what to expect while out. She'll soon come to eagerly await the visits and the special "alone" time with her guardian and best buddy - you.
Well, it's almost "alone" time. It'll be sort of like a "Fido and Me" class. Just you two and a room full of people eagerly awaiting interaction with your well trained German Shepherd. And if you're still interested in learning more, there is plenty of other information on therapy dogs online.
"Dogs, the foremost snobs in creation, are quick to notice the difference between a well-clad and a disreputable stranger." - Albert Payson Terhune 'The Coming of Lad'
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