Puppies and Dogs For Sale in UK

PAT (pets as therapy) Dogs

So you would like your canine friend to become a Therapy Dog? Does the thought of your little pal bringing joy to all the people that he/she visits make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?

Well, for you and your dog to make it you are required to go through an evaluation process, sounds daunting, I know, but if you have a good, solid relationship with your dog and can control him/her you will not have a problem.
We will run through the basic categories/exercises that you and your dog will be expected to complete in order for your dog to become a Therapy Dog.
Yes, there is a lot of work involved but just think how rewarding it will be when you witness people’s faces light up when you visit with your dog.

As soon as you enter the ‘test area’ you and your dog, we will refer to you as ‘the team’ are being observed. You will be required to be clean and tidy (that includes you too not just your dog!) and your dog will need to be toileted beforehand as he/she will fail if the desire to go to the toilet enters into his/her head.

A dog exhibiting any tendencies of aggression towards other dogs or people has instantly failed; signs of aggression can include snarling, growling, lunging, baring teeth and continuous barking. A handler observed correcting their dog harshly is an immediate failure; also a handler not obeying the poop and scoop rule will be failed.

Your dog must be wearing a flat styled buckle or snap on collar during the complete duration and be attached to a 4’ or 6’ leather or nylon web lead. The dog must not be wearing a  choke chain, as these are not permitted.
Keep your dog close to you constantly, never let an extendable lead stretch to its fullest point. Handlers are not allowed to tempt their dogs with food titbits at all.

The most important person to you and your dog during these exercises is the evaluator/appraiser, basically the person who will decide whether your dog is made of the right ‘stuff’ to become a Therapy Dog.

In the centre of the room you will find your evaluator. The team are required to approach in a quiet manner and introduce themselves. Your dog must continue to be quiet and under no circumstances jump at the evaluator but remain, sitting or standing, whilst yourself and the evaluator say a few words.

Your approval will be requested for the evaluator to examine your dog, your refusal is a fail. A calm, steady attitude will be sought from the dog, its head will be patted, the ears fondled, both paws lifted for the nails to be observed and the dog’s body and tail stroked. If your dog is small he/she will be picked up and popped on a table to be examined.

The dog must not show shyness or animosity to touch; a slight shifting away is acceptable as this is normal behaviour for certain breeds. The evaluator will assess the dog’s response for any indications of distress during handling, any snarling or growling is a failure, and so is an unduly stressed dog.

Next a course will be shown to the team for them to copy and walk; the route will include both right and left hand turns and an about turn with at least a stop somewhere in the middle and at the conclusion of the route.

The dog is expected to walk in a mannerly way on a loose lead, the handler is permitted to talk to the dog to reassure and keep him/her close. Some biscuits will be positioned up off the floor and the handler must demonstrate control over the dog, but not via physical methods, by walking by them.

The dog is placed on a short lead for the following exercise; the team must walk amongst a crowd of people. The handler is allowed to talk to the dog to ensure he/she stays close. The dog must remain positive and can show interest in the crowd but is not permitted to alter their movement. If the dog demonstrates any shyness or forces itself onto the people it will fail.
Four pedestrians will go to numbered areas and walk back and forth; they will walk from their area to the other side and then return. The team will be instructed to walk around, passing closely to each individual area.

During these exercises your dog must demonstrate the ability to accept being petted without becoming over excited and also showing that the handler can calm their dog quickly, when required.

The dog will be beside the handler, sitting or standing; the evaluator will walk toward them and enquire whether they may pet the dog. They will lean over the dog to lightly pat their head, and then walk completely around the team returning to the front. The dog will be expected to show no more than a passing interest in the movement, any hint of aggression, growling, snarling or lifting of the lip or indeed rotating to chase the evaluator’s movement is a failure.

The team have a short period of play or praise after which the handler must demonstrate that the dog can be instantly calmed when requested by the evaluator. The handler may use a toy, petting or praise and the dog must calm straight away. If the dog chooses to disregard the handler by not calming down it is a fail.

Your dog is required to prove its ability to deal with strange dogs and people, to show it is not fearful of new situations.

Within a set area four handlers, each with a dog, will walk in varying directions. When they come close to you and your dog you will be expected to control your dog, you may talk to your dog. The evaluator will be looking for signs of aggression and any dog that displays growling, snarling or lunging will be a fail.

This exercise is to determine whether your dog can handle being in a situation with various people coming and going, including a child and people using crutches. The various people can pet the dog but only if he/she stops to say ‘hello’, the team will walk around with the dog nearest the crowd. Eventually the crowd will make their way toward the team slowly, purposely to greet the dog; the dog should show no sign of fearfulness or aggression.

It is important that your dog can accept wheelchairs and lots of sudden noises occurring around him/her whilst visiting. If an object is dropped what is your dog’s initial reaction? If he/she runs away and cowers this is not a good reaction but if he/she runs away but then returns to the object to investigate then this is very good.

They will be tested for their response when a wheelchair heads towards them and when the person attempts to give them a biscuit. The dog must receive the treat gently and be patient; if the treat is refused this is not a failure, should the dog lunge for the treat or snatch at it then this would be a failure.
Various items will be dropped or pushed over behind the dog so he/she is not expecting it to happen, the appraiser/evaluator will be checking for displays of fear and aggression.
The dog should remain calm but display an interest in the people around him/her and show some excitement, any sign of aggression and the dog fails.

Becoming a PAT dog involves a lot of work for both you and your dog but it is so rewarding to offer such joy to people when you visit.

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