#021: Training to be a Therapy Dog in Seattle with Hailey and Darrel

by | February 14, 2022 | Therapy Dog Talk

Training to be a Therapy Dog in Seattle with Hailey + Darrel

Curious why a future Therapy Dog in Seattle first focused on becoming a skateboarder and certified Trick Dog?

In this 21st episode of Therapy Dog Talk, I chat with Hailey and her rescue dog, Darrel, as they work towards becoming a certified therapy dog team in Seattle. We dive into their unique journey, where they first focused on trick training and skateboarding before moving on to therapy dog training.

Hailey shares how she discovered that Darrel needed more time to mature before he could excel in obedience training. Instead of pushing him, she decided to let Darrel set the pace and find what he truly enjoyed, which led them to trick training. Now, Darrel has his AKC Trick Dog Performer (TKP) title, and you can watch him skateboard on his Instagram, @darrelthedoge.

Throughout our conversation, Hailey talks about her experiences working in dementia care and how she realized the incredible benefits therapy dogs can bring to those living with memory loss. She’s excited to share Darrel with others and see him bring relief and happiness to people in need.

We also discuss the importance of making every part of their day intentional for training and the reality that the journey to becoming a therapy dog isn’t always a straight path. Hailey reminds us to be patient, listen to our dogs, and enjoy the process.

After listening to this episode, you’ll gain valuable insights into the world of therapy dog training, as well as the importance of understanding your dog’s needs and interests to help them become the best therapy dog they can be.

In this episode, we discuss …

  • Why Hailey decided to focus on trick training as a precursor to Therapy Dog training.
  • How Hailey tries to make each piece of their day intentional for their focus work and training goals.
  • How the journey to Therapy Dog is not as linear or flawless as we often perceive it to be.

Key moments you won’t want to miss:

  • [03:05] We discuss Darrel’s initial lack of interest in obedience classes and how Hailey adjusted her approach.
  • [04:07] Hailey shares how listening to Darrel and letting him progress at his own pace led her to focus on trick training.
  • [05:40] We talk about Hailey’s dedication to making every part of their day intentional for training and focus work.
  • [06:34] Hailey explains how her work in dementia care introduced her to the amazing benefits of therapy dogs in memory care settings.
  • [08:35] We discuss the idea that training a dog is a long process and not always a straight path.
  • [09:30] Hailey and I talk about the differences between the training stories we often hear and the reality of our own experiences.
  • [14:28] Hailey shares her strategies for preparing Darrel for noise reactivity and teaching him how to respond appropriately.
  • [17:47] We discuss Darrel’s love for meeting new people and his constant desire to be pet and loved on.
  • [19:21] Hailey explains how Darrel has the amazing ability to tune into her emotions and provide comfort.
  • [20:24] We talk about Hailey’s excitement to share Darrel with others, bringing relief and happiness to those living with dementia.

I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I do. Give it a watch or a listen and then let me know in the community which part you found the most helpful!

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Therapy Dog Talk is a podcast where I interview a different team each week via Instagram Live. If you enjoyed this episode please find us over at Apple, Google, or Spotify and give us a follow after you leave a review.

Do you know someone who would make a great guest? Be sure to reach out and let me know.

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