#023: Reactive Dog Coach Jess and her retired Therapy Dog, Dio

by | February 28, 2022 | Therapy Dog Talk

Reactive dog owner coach Jess and her former Therapy Dog Dio

Ready to hear how a reactive dog let his person know that he didn’t want to be a Therapy Dog?

If so, then this is definitely the episode for you.

In this 23rd episode of Therapy Dog Talk, I have an insightful conversation with Jess Adams, a mental health therapist and reactive dog coach, and her rescue dog, Dio. We discuss their incredible journey to Animal Assisted Therapy and how Dio’s reactive nature led to the creation of Handlers and Humans, a group coaching program that helps dog owners and trainers navigate the emotional side of working with reactive dogs.

Jess shares how she initially planned to incorporate Dio into her therapy work, but over time, she realized that Dio found it too stressful. This realization, along with the challenges they faced during their training journey, led Jess to develop her coaching program for other dog owners experiencing similar struggles.

Throughout our conversation, we explore the importance of understanding our dogs’ needs and preferences, as well as the crucial role of self-care for both humans and dogs. Jess also opens up about her emotional struggles while training Dio and the value of seeking support from knowledgeable trainers.

After listening to this episode, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the unique challenges and rewards of working with reactive dogs in Animal Assisted Therapy, as well as valuable insights on how to support your furry friend and yourself throughout the process.

In this episode, we discuss …

  • How tunnel vision can impact seeing what our dogs need and enjoy.
  • Why we need to be able to cope with our own emotions in order to be there for our dogs.
  • How being a reactive dog owner and a therapist led to group coaching for the human side of dog training.

Key moments you won’t want to miss:

  • [02:31] Jess talks about her background in Animal Assisted Therapy and how she planned to include Dio in her work.
  • [03:34] We discuss the common challenge of starting the Therapy Dog journey without knowing the first steps to take.
  • [06:21] We explore how Therapy Dog training helped Dio adjust to life as a reactive dog.
  • [07:02] Jess shares the moment she realized Therapy Dog work was too stressful for Dio.
  • [10:19] Jess explains how their reactive dog journey is connected to their Therapy Dog journey.
  • [10:47] Jess opens up about her emotional struggles while training Dio.
  • [12:30] We emphasize the importance of seeking support from knowledgeable trainers to understand dog behavior.
  • [15:48] We discuss the amazing feeling of being connected to your dog and having them check in with you.
  • [18:00] We talk about Dio’s love of play and his friendship with the family cat.
  • [20:04] We discuss why it’s important to understand self-care for both ourselves and our dogs.

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

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