What’s it like to be a Therapy Dog in Training? Taylor is here to share her experiences and expectations with her Labradoodle.
In this second episode of Therapy Dog Talk, I chat with Taylor about her adorable Australian Labradoodle, Benson, and their journey as a Therapy Dog team in training. We dive into Taylor’s experiences with therapy dogs while leading a college chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and how it inspired her to pursue therapy dog work with Benson.
Throughout the episode, we explore the importance of enjoying the work as a Therapy Dog team and the various training programs, including the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) certification, that help prepare dogs for this rewarding role. Taylor shares her commitment to training and acknowledges that it’s only worthwhile if Benson loves the work, too.
We also discuss the different requirements and opportunities in various volunteer organizations, and Taylor’s desire to register with Pet Partners due to her comfort in clinical settings. We emphasize the crucial role of the handler’s confidence and the need for both handler and animal to enjoy pet therapy for it to be successful.
Towards the end of our conversation, we get real about the challenges and uncertainties we face during our training journeys. Taylor shares her insights on managing separation anxiety and how Benson’s interactions with neighbor kids have helped him prepare for therapy work.
After listening to this episode, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the joys and challenges of training a Therapy Dog in a non-linear, imperfect journey, as well as valuable insights on how to set your four-legged companion up for success in this fulfilling work.
In this episode, we discuss …
- Taylor’s experience working with Therapy Dogs during her college years.
- Keeping an open mind is crucial while training to become a pet therapy team.
- Training a Mini Labradoodle during a global shutdown and its challenges.
Key moments you won’t want to miss:
- [00:45] Taylor shares her background with NAMI and how it led her to therapy dog work.
- [02:14] We discuss the Canine Coach program and how it prepares dogs for the CGC exam and Therapy Dog evaluations.
- [03:55] Taylor and I open up about our non-linear, imperfect training journeys with our dogs.
- [05:08] The challenges of training a dog during a global pandemic and its impact on Taylor and Benson’s journey.
- [06:33] We compare the different requirements and opportunities in volunteer organizations like Pet Partners and Therapy Dogs International.
- [07:49] Taylor explains her comfort in clinical settings and her desire to volunteer with Benson in that environment.
- [09:20] We emphasize the importance of the handler’s confidence and the need for both handler and animal to enjoy pet therapy.
- [10:25] Taylor shares her experience managing Benson’s separation anxiety and his interactions with neighbor kids to prepare him for therapy work.
- [11:40] The importance of the dog enjoying the work and Taylor’s commitment to training only if Benson loves it.
- [13:10] We encourage listeners to approach training with an open mind and no expectations, as both the handler and the animal need to enjoy pet therapy for it to be successful.
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!
Mentioned in this episode:
- Canine Coach
- Canine Good Citizen (CGC)
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
- Pet Partners
- Therapy Dogs International (TDI)
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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.
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