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 joined one of our original Instagram friends Hailey to talk about her plans for training her dog Darrel to be a Therapy Dog in Seattle.

When Hailey realized that Darrel needed to mature more before he would be ready to progress in obedience training, she thought it would be fun to focus on agility instead—but he wasn’t on board. For Hailey, it was important to take things at Darrel’s pace and to listen to him to learn what he enjoyed. So they had fun learning trick training instead and he earned his AKC Trick Dog Performer (TKP) title. (Check out @darrelthedoge on Instagram to watch him skateboard.)

Working in memory care, Hailey has seen firsthand how Therapy Dogs can benefit those living with dementia and is looking forward to sharing her dog with others to bring happiness to people who are experiencing extreme stress.

If you’re ready to hear about Darrel’s freelance therapy work as Office Dog, let’s dive in:

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] Darrel’s initial lack of interest in obedience classes.
  • [04:07] How listening to her dog and letting go at his own pace led Hailey to focus on trick training.
  • [05:40] Hailey’s focus on making every piece of their day intentional.
  • [06:34] How Hailey’s work in dementia introduced her to Therapy Dogs and their benefits in memory care.
  • [08:35] The recognition that training your dog is a long process and not linear.
  • [09:30] The difference between the training stories we hear and our experiences.
  • [14:28] Hailey talks about preparing Darrel for noise reactivity and how to respond appropriately.
  • [17:47] Darrel’s love for meeting people and his desire to be pet all the time.
  • [19:21] Darrel’s ability to tune into Hailey’s emotions.
  • [20:24] How Hailey looks forward to sharing her dog and seeing him bring relief to those living with dementia.
  • [22:45] A reminder to take your time with training and to listen to your dog.

I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I do. Give it a listen and let me know 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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