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Leo is an 11 month old Norwich terrier / Papillion mix

 Norwich terrier / Papillion mix Leo and Therapy dogs

Leo

Leo is 11 months old. He is a very loving, friendly, gentle little dog.
Leo is very good with everyone – both dogs and people. This makes Leo is a perfect candidate for a therapy dog.

 Norwich terrier / Papillion mix Leo and Therapy dogs

Leo and his Parents practicing for AKC/CGC

Leo and his Parents practicing for their AKC/CGC (American Kennel Club – Canine Good Citizen)

 Norwich terrier / Papillion mix Leo and Therapy dogs

Leo very friendly with people & dogs

Therapy dogs and their human handlers create a caring atmosphere just by showing up for visits or other therapy work.

Therapy dogs provide a variety of services which often include, but are not limited to:

  • Providing unconditional affection to those who need it (e.g., people in prisons and shelters, particularly domestic abuse shelters)
  • Promoting a general feeling of comfort and well-being (e.g., for the elderly, those ill in hospital and children)
  • Interacting with those who have difficulty in communicating (e.g., psychiatric patients, nonverbal patients)
  • Improving focus (e.g., for people diagnose with depression and Alzheimer’s patients)
  • Stimulating memory functions, particularly for Alzheimer’s patients
  • Motivating the physically challenged to perform basic physical functions (e.g., brushing, patting)
  • Aiding and encouraging speech functions (e.g., for stroke patients)
  • Providing practice for specific physical therapy functions (e.g., offering food, throwing a ball)

Therapy dogs provide these services among a multitude of settings such as homes, prisons, children’s residential facilities, domestic abuse shelters, senior citizen programs, special education settings, mental health centers, adult car e facilities, nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and hospitals.

Temperament is the most important factor in locating and training a good therapy dog. A dog that is friendly is a promising candidate for the position. Therapy dogs must be well behaved (e.g. no running around, jumping, licking people) as they will be working with many people who are physically or mentally unable to deal with the stress and challenge of an unruly animal. These dogs must be adaptable to different situations and be prepared to work as seizure therapy dogs, assisted therapy dogs, or other specialized canines.

Step one to become a therapy Dog is to pass the AKC/CGC test which is designed to cover the different areas related to training therapy dogs. Sometimes additional training is also required

You can find a lot of information about therapy dogs on the internet or in the books such as:

Therapy Dogs: Training Your Dog to Reach Others by Kathy Diamond-Davis