Therapy Dog Question

Discussion in 'General Mastiff Discussion' started by Pastor Dave, Mar 8, 2018.

  1. Pastor Dave

    Pastor Dave Active Member

    Chevers.jpg Does anyone have any tips about taking their mastiff to a nursing home...I am open to any advice. I do services at various nursing homes in our area, play guitar and do some happy songs and give some biblical thoughts. I have seen mastiff's as therapy dogs, and I think I and my Mr. Chev would enjoy doing this...and the clients of the nursing home might enjoy this, too. Any thoughts are welcome..thanks and have a great, Christ-filled day.
    Nik likes this.
  2. Boxergirl

    Boxergirl Well-Known Member

    Hi Dave. You're in Pennsylvania? Is that right? Usually for legal reasons your dog needs to be a certified therapy dog with an organizations such as Therapy Dogs International. There may be other organizations in your area. Maybe ask at the nursing home what their policy is and if they work with any particular organization. In the meantime, there are basic skills that you can work on that would be required to pass the test for certification. You already know how rewarding it is to do the visits yourself, and it's even more rewarding to see how the joy your dog gives people. I wish you the best of luck.

    Maybe this link will give you some helpful information.
    Nik likes this.
  3. Boxergirl

    Boxergirl Well-Known Member

    I also wanted to add that usually there are certain rules about what gear your dog can use. The last I knew, only harnesses or flat buckle collars were acceptable. No prongs or chokes. I don't remember if you use a prong or choke, so I thought I'd mention it in case you need to transition away from either of them.
    Nik likes this.
  4. Nik

    Nik Well-Known Member

    Boxergirl has more info on this then me but when I looked into it I found that you need to get your Canine Good Citizen cert and there are also therapy dog training courses and certifications as well. And of course you know Mr. Chev's personality and whether he is suited to it better than anyone.

    I did a lot of work towards this with Diesel who just adores making new friends but he needed to age out of his puppy energy before I even would consider it. He is actually starting to mellow out quite a bit now it is something I may readdress and finish up once we move. Though I think he personally would enjoy scent work and agility even more than therapy work so that is something to consider when I plan out our activities.

    Kahlua, on the other hand, is not suited to therapy work so I won't even consider doing it with her. She doesn't like strangers to touch her and while I am certain with more desensitization and training we can make sure she would be bomb proof it will never be something she is happy or comfortable with and I have no desire to force her to do anything that makes her unhappy or uncomfortable. Agility on the other hand is something that increases her confidence and brings her happiness so that is an activity I will do with her.
  5. Pastor Dave

    Pastor Dave Active Member

    Thanks for the information. Yes, I am in Pennsylvania. Joyce and I took our black Labrador, Ebony, to a nursing home to do some entertaining, jump through a hula hoop, and do other tricks she was good at. There was no questioning by the nursing home about her certification and whatnot. I will look into this further...Mr. Chev is an affection sponge, and loves to meet new and different people. He "woofs" when someone is at the door, but besides that he is basically a "softie." Once I had to rescue him from a little white "Sir Barks A Lot" neighborhood dog (not the correct name). This do was not a lot bigger than a loaf of bread, but this dog put Mr. Chev to flight, cowering on the back deck. Anyway....thanks again and have a great weekend.
    Nik likes this.
  6. DennasMom

    DennasMom Well-Known Member

    Definately talk to the homes in your area - some may only need a CGC cert, others may require the TDI or Pet Partners certification - which might require you to work with a mentoring team and take an additional test or two.

    Denna has her CGC cert, and has been to a nursing home - but just to visit my own grandma. She got lots of love from many of the other residents and workers, too.... but... she does occasionally bark at random people, and I would NEVER want her to scare a resident, so I scratched that off our list of things to do.

    I've also read that the homes like it if you can be consistent with visits... if the residents start expecting you to be there, and you miss a visit (i.e. for business travel, which I do frequently)... it can upset the residents just with their disappointment of missing the dog... so... the idea got scratched again for us. :(

    There's a great mastiff therapy team (family, really) here in Washington - if you're on Facebook, look them up: Sherman the Therapy Dog. He's Awesome! And his human and dog family is pretty amazing.

    I see Sherman even has a book, now!

    Nik and Jarena like this.
  7. Pastor Dave

    Pastor Dave Active Member

    I am a regular at several nursing homes....I watched a TV show on the "Doggie Channel"--titled "Which Woof's for You". The lady who owned 3 mastiffs talked about the therapy "mastiff" dog thing, and it seemed valuable. Anyway...thanks for the tip, Deena's Mom. I will check with the local nursing homes to check requirements. Someone told me, "Forgiveness is easier to get than permission." Phew...... Anyway, thank. I will let you all know! Have a great day.

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