RIDGEBACKS AS THERAPY DOGS
Do you have a well-mannered dog with a lot of love to give? Your dog brings you so
much joy to you, so why not share that joy with hospitals, nursing homes, libraries,
and schools? Becoming a pet therapy team is a great way to give back to the
community and share the love of dogs with others!
Therapy Dog Prep Class
This class is for handlers who are interested in becoming a therapy dog team with their dog. The curriculum combines a mix of lecture and training exercises. We will focus on the skills needed to successfully participate in animal assisted activities and what behaviors to work on in preparation for a therapy dog evaluation. Many of
these skills build on the intermediate obedience skills, while others may be brand new to you and your dog. Exercises will include: polite greetings, approaching people using medical devices (wheelchair, cane, walker), challenging “leave its”, and exposure to scenarios typically encountered during therapy work. This class will help in proofing obedience behaviors, introducing real life distractions, and teaching new skills necessary for reading your dogs’ body language on visits. Therapy Dog Prep class is designed to specifically prepare for work as a therapy dog team and teaching the handler to be their dog’s best advocate. In class we will touch upon therapy dog certification programs and requirements while working methodically towards developing the advanced relationship
that you and your canine companion must have in order to engage in animal assisted activities. You will learn how to have a positive therapy experience that benefits you, your dog, and the eventual recipients of your visits.
Dogs can either have a Canine Good Citizen certificate or MUST have completed a basic obedience class and be reliable on the essential behaviors: sit, down, stay, come, walk calmly on a loose leash, non-reactive to humans and other dogs, and accepts touching. If neither of these apply, then you will need instructor permission.
Gina Fisher, Lead Therapy Dog Trainer, has been involved with therapy dog programs since 2014. Currently, Gina and her registered therapy dogs Mya, a Rhodesian ridgeback, and Story, a Labrador Retriever, engage in a variety of activities including visits to schools and Read with Me Programs. She is also a Pet Partners team evaluator and community leader of Pet Partners of Great Atlanta where she leads an incredibly dedicated group of volunteers while providing them a supportive community group. Please contact Gina at firstname.lastname@example.org