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Old 01-01-2017, 03:22 PM   #1
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Therapy dog training

Does anyone know anything about therapy dog work? We have a really sweet dog who I would love to be able to take to nursing homes or hospitals (I also think it would be good for me/DS), but I'm having a hard time getting anyone to allow us to be evaluated and pass the test with a baby. So far I haven't heard any rules, just that it's probably too much for me to handle the dog and the baby, not that anyone has observed or anything. I feel like for the next year or so baby will be perfectly happy strapped in my carrier, leaving my hands free for the dog, and after that we'll hopefully have enough experience to figure out a plan for when DS isn't happy in the carrier anymore. Does anyone have any experience with this or know who I could talk to?

ETA: yes, a babysitter is not a bad plan. We live far from all our family, though, and I don't have anyone reliable enough that I could use so I could volunteer very routinely. Besides, I think old/sick people like babies AND dogs...

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Old 01-01-2017, 05:49 PM   #2
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I don't have any advice for the dog portion of it since my dogs would not make good therapy dogs, but you may want to check with the local nursing homes/hospitals first. The ones in my area do not allow any children to come in with the volunteers. I volunteer at a facility that does skilled/long term care, specialty hospital, and inpatient/outpatient dialysis. They will not allow any children due to the risk of disease (many of the patients have MRSA and/or c-diff). I would check with the ones you might be visiting to see if they have a strict no children policy when volunteering.
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Old 01-01-2017, 06:27 PM   #3
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Re: Therapy dog training

Maybe find someone who would be willing to accompany you. That way it wouldn't be a dog and a baby to 1 adult. Might make others feel more confident even if you are ultimately the one caring for both baby and dog.
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Old 01-01-2017, 09:33 PM   #4
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Re: Therapy dog training

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Originally Posted by Teddyandnick View Post
I don't have any advice for the dog portion of it since my dogs would not make good therapy dogs, but you may want to check with the local nursing homes/hospitals first. The ones in my area do not allow any children to come in with the volunteers. I volunteer at a facility that does skilled/long term care, specialty hospital, and inpatient/outpatient dialysis. They will not allow any children due to the risk of disease (many of the patients have MRSA and/or c-diff). I would check with the ones you might be visiting to see if they have a strict no children policy when volunteering.
Ah, see that makes sense and is a reasonable concern! I'm just irritated that the evaluating organization here couldn't come up with that and instead says it might be too much for me to handle - they didn't even give me a chance. I'll look into that, thanks.
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Old 01-01-2017, 10:16 PM   #5
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Re: Therapy dog training

The local nursing home here allows children. I would just keep trying places. And another adult or even a teen going with you might make others more comfortable with the idea. Good luck!
I volunteered at our nursing home before I had children and it was very rewarding.


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Old 01-02-2017, 02:44 PM   #6
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Re: Therapy dog training

We just called and asked if dogs and kids were allowed. We never had a nursing home tell us no to either one. Also our dogs were never certified therapy dogs, they just loved people. One suggestion that I have is put the baby in a stroller while you are there. The carrier worked ok but I wasn't able to bend over. I found in the carrier everyone would touch the baby because they were right next to the baby. In the stroller they could still see the baby but they couldn't touch them as easily. Obviously most of the time I had no issues with touching (within reason) but some of the residents had issues with hand washing or medical conditions. It was nice to have the option of leaving the baby out of the room or to the back while being able to bring the dog close. It was also helpful to have one because if the baby fell asleep or I had to use the restroom I didn't need someone to watch them. Also the other issue was that some people weren't gentle with the dogs and needed to be closely supervised and shown repeatedly how to treat the dog. So having the baby separate allowed me to handle situations as they came up.
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Old 01-02-2017, 06:52 PM   #7
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Re: Therapy dog training

Good ideas. Thanks for the input - I think I'll just call around a bit
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