Whoever said you cant teach an adult Labrador new tricks has not met Tori and her pups Lucy and Burt.

In this 24th episode of Therapy Dog Talk, I had the privilege of speaking with Tori about her experience in certifying her adult Labrador Lucy to be a Therapy Dog at age 6. Burt may not be a Therapy Dog, but he’s learning new things, too!

Tori started her blog Wear Wag Repeat 9 years ago when Lucy was only 1. She loves to try new things with her dogs and even sets goals for what she’s going to do with them each year. After regretting that she did not certify her previous dog Lola for Therapy Dog work, she couldn’t miss the opportunity to train and certify Lucy.

As with most of us, COVID disrupted their visits but Tori didn’t let that stop her and was able to make a pivot from assisted living to college students. Lucy found her groove in her new environment and they resumed their work.

If you’re ready to hear about Tori and Lucy’s journey to Certified Therapy Dog, let’s dive in:

In this episode, we discuss …

  • How an encounter with a child let Tori knew Lucy had the right temperament for therapy work.
  • What Tori used as a (not-so-secret now) trick to help Lucy pass her therapy test.
  • Tori’s reminder to enjoy the ride and to remember that there are always opportunities.

Key moments you won’t want to miss:

  • [01:40] How regretting not certifying her previous Labrador Lola as a Therapy Dog inspired her to volunteer with Lucy.
  • [03:30] Lucy’s reaction to a child with special needs while out on a walk.
  • [03:37] The tendency of our pups to behave better for others than they do for us.
  • [04:21] Tori’s former Tinder date started a class called Therapy Dogs of Pittsburgh to sponsor training for other dogs.
  • [06:15] Tori shares what’s going on in the Therapy Dogs International (TDI) bandana patch.
  • [06:46] What the certification process is like with TDI.
  • [07:41] Tori shares what it was like to get back into Therapy Dog work after the pandemic.
  • [09:05] The difference between visiting with college students and seniors citizens.
  • [10:42] How being a senior dog can impact therapy environments that are right for Lucy.
  • [11:19] The role getting back into therapy visits played with Tori’s K9 in 90 strategy.
  • [12:28] How she adjust to each of her two dogs’ strengths and needs.
  • [15:02] Tori’s sneaky trick for passing the TDI test with her adult Labrador.
  • [17:06] The importance of a dog’s temperament when it comes to therapy work.
  • [17:43] Tori shares how volunteering with Lucy has been therapeutic for her.
  • [18:44] The helpfulness of a guide of talking points while on visits.
  • [20:25] Considerations for what to wear while visiting with your Therapy Dog.
  • [21:20] Tori’s advice to not rush into therapy work as soon as your dog turns 1.
  • [22:15] Find the volunteer environment where your dog can excel.

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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