Monday, May 18, 2009

Delta Therapy Testing

Yesterday I spent most of the day being part of a "crowd" at therapy dog testing. Passing this test is required of any dog+handler team before they can visit hospitals, nursing homes, schools, etc. , for which they must ne certified. I had never seen testing done before and I found it fascinating. The dogs are put through all kinds of situations, such as having a guy in a wheelchair roll right up to them, a guy in a walker who is unsteady, etc. The crowd is needed for two tests: one where as the dog is walked across a room, we all start speaking loudly and wandering all around the dog and handler, getting in their way, etc., Another bit is all of us gathering around the dog in a tight circle, kneeling down to pet the dog all over at the same time. It takes about 20 minutes to put each dog through all of the "challenges." Yesterday I think we had 12-15 dogs, and all passed. However, there are two levels: Predictable, which means the team is only allowed in circumstances where it's known certain things will occur, such as having school kids reading to the dog. Then there's Complex, which means the dog can go into any situation at all. I was inspired to start one of my dogs in training. 8-)

Jennifer

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