Danny and I have been doing all of this pet therapy for a layer of reasons. We love training together, showing off dog tricks, and making others smile and feel comforted, but the roots for this project? It is for my Girl Scout Gold Award! I’ve just been informed (through a comment on this blog, actually) that through all of my endeavors, I’ve received the Gold Award!! I’m so pumped and I know Dannyboy is too!
Although I’m at college now, Danny and I are gonna try to do pet therapy when I come home for the holidays!!
Thanks everyone! Don’t go anywhere!
The last private sesh of pet therapy training was last thursday! For about 30 minutes Danny and I went through the therapy test with Robin, performing each task about 3-5 times just to stick some extra training in there. I only fed him sparingly because treats cannot be given during the actual test and I wanted him to adjust his mindset that he won’t be getting food every single time.
We ran through our usual routine like I’ve been posting about, and Robin said if she were to be harsh on us she’d give us a 21.5 out of 24 and you need at 17 to pass! It was .5 point off for getting up during the lay down and stay, and 2 off for not following me closely enough/sniffing the ground too much during our loose leash walking.
Of course, I’d like to get a perfect 24, but at least we’re gonna pass! I’m very confident but still slightly nervous…
Ugh, I’m not feeling so great about being stuck in Level Two for so many days. I’ve seen new dog teams cycle through already, and it makes me feel set back. Also, my membership at the doggy school runs out on 10/26. Which means I either need to zoom through four levels in four weeks or pay an extra ~$250. I don’t know how I can come up with that money, since it’s for Girl Scouts and all.
Anyway, on Saturday 9/28 Danny and I attended our fourth session of Level Two. These unfamiliar faces were becoming more and more familiar. There was even another toy cockapoo there that day! How weird! Danny was much more focused and held the lay-down position as the go-to position for when he’s not doing anything. When he got antsy, we did a silent game of Touch My Hand When It’s In Different Spots. We practiced some of the walk-backwards-turn-treat-keep-dog-on-left-side movements before discussing the recall command. For this, I had to give Robin my dog’s leash, and run away shouting DANNY NOW NOW DANNY NOW (because I’m using “now” in lieu of “come”). Once I got far enough away and while I was still running away, Robin let go of Danny’s leash and sent him bounding towards me. He made it to me, but definitely looked at the other dogs as if in consideration of bounding towards them instead.
We also did some of the work for “stay” but in a pose position (standing on all fours). This one is much harder for Danny to grasp, but he’s getting there!
I came so close to purchasing a front-clip harness that day, but they are $26 and I’m on the hunt for similar yet less expensive versions. Anyone know where I can find one??
OUR FIRST CLASS IS IN 10 HOURS.
It’s a 45 minute Level One class, and I’m very nervous. I’m afraid that Danny won’t be able to focus on the class because he’ll be too nervous/anxious about the other handful of dogs in the room. I hope he makes me proud! We fed him only half his dinner tonight (he doesn’t get fed breakfast) so hopefully he’ll be nice and hungr…I mean eager to oblige tomorrow! Crossing my fingers anyway..
The main idea here is to-obviously-become a certified pet therapy team. In order to become certified, Danny and I must pass the Creature Comfort Pet Therapy Test at Morris K9 Campus. Because he isn’t quite ready to just take this test, I chose to enroll the two of us in obedience class.
The obedience classes at this particular school are offered through a Levels Program. Basically, we start at Level One and graduate at Level Six, and because Danny is a bit advanced, older, and only trying to work on reliability not skill, the head trainer said we’d progress through the levels pretty quickly. That made me happy. The Levels are each offered three times a week at various times and you’re allowed to attend as many of the classes at your level as you’d like. At this place, you pay for several months at a time and can attend as many classes during your membership as you’d like. I love the flexibility! Because I worked hard to clean and reorganize my house with my mom, I earned the $229 needed for Danny and I to have a two-month membership.
Before enrolling in Level One, however, it is mandatory to sit through a human-only Orientation Presentation so that owners understand what to expect through this obedience program.
Why am I writing this blog? That’s easy. I want to share my experiences as I train my dog, pass our therapy dog test, and visit facilities.
I’m trying to get as much traffic as I can so that others will be inspired by me and my dog and will want to promote some dog therapy of their own! Spread the smiles, spread the idea. Nobody’s more loving than man’s best friend!