Many people use therapy dogs for many different situations. People who have therapy dogs may need their therapy dog to help with conditions such as autism, social therapy, or anxiety. Some dogs are trained to be therapy dogs so they can assist with the elderly. Moreover, many dogs are trained to be the best companion they can be for members of our service and civil workers who often suffer from conditions such as PTSD. Therapy dogs provide comfort and affection to their owners, and some therapy dogs go to places such as group homes to provide the people who live there the same comfort and affection. Studies show therapy dogs are beneficial in opening hearts and minds of people around the world. Children with autism who struggle socially seem to connect with therapy dogs when they do not have an emotional connection with people.
My dog is uncomfortable around people in general, and rather scared of men. I realize that this is not the ideal temperament for a therapy dog, but my dog is extremely eager to please. So, I believe that if I asked people to offer my dog a treat, he would eventually warm up to people. Is this a good idea? Or is therapy dog training not right for my dog?
Hello Ethel, Honestly there is no way to know for sure until you try. It is very unlikely that he will ever get to the point where he can be ready for the unexpected from people, which is an important therapy dog skill. Dogs who used to be afraid of people have been rehabilitated and gone on to become therapy dogs before though. I would highly encourage you to begin getting him used to people by having them feed him treats either way. He might surprise you and become a good candidate for therapy dog work with time and practice, but either way it will still help him to overcome his fear, which makes the training time worth it and will make him a pleasure to be around for people in general. Just go into the training with low expectations of him being able to become a therapy dog. Simply focus on enjoying the time and training with him, and pursuing the goal of him learning how to enjoy people more and be less anxious and stressed. If he responds well to that, then take the next step in the training, and go at it one step at a time. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My dog won't sit still for a second and won't listen I shout at him and do everything I can but he just want do it he can't do ANY tricks plz help me
Hello Donna, does Bruno have something that he loves, like a really great treat or toy? To teach Bruno to sit, you need to first teach him what the word sit means. First go get an item that Bruno loves., then attach Bruno's leash to his collar to keep him from wandering off, but keep the leash loose. To keep your hands free you can place the leash handle on the floor and step on it or you can tie the leash handle onto something secure nearby. Show Bruno the wonderful treat or toy that you have, then put the item right in front of his nose and slowly move the item from his nose towards the back of his head, so that he has to look all the way up to keep his gaze on it. If he looks away or jumps up for the item bring the item back to the front of his nose and repeat the motion slowly. Do this until he lowers his bottom to the floor while looking up. As soon as his bottom moves towards the floor tell him "Sit", and when his bottom touches the floor praise him very enthusiastically and give him the treat or toy as a reward. You can make this easier by practicing this in a corner so that he cannot attempt to backup, but has to sit down in order to keep his eyes focused on the reward. This may take several tries before his bottom hits the floor, be patient, sooner or later he will sit down. You can also teach him to sit by telling him "sit" any time that he begins to sit on his own, and then praise him and reward him right when his bottom touches the floor. He will need to practice this often, somewhere without distractions at first. A good place is inside your home, in a calm room. Once he can sit reliably in a calm place, then you can begin to practice in slightly harder places, such as your own backyard, then in your neighborhood, then at parks, in pet stores, and everywhere else. The more you practice, the better he will be at doing it when you are somewhere with a lot of distractions later on. After you have done all of this, if you are certain that he knows the command really well, but is simply choosing to not obey because he would prefer to be doing something else, then to help him sit you can do the following: Attach a leash to his collar, command him to sit, then stand right in front of him, blocking his view. Now wait. Keep the leash tight enough that he cannot go around you but loose enough that it is not constricting his throat at all. If he tries to look or go around you, simply step in front of him and continue to wait. If more than fifteen second go by, you may repeat the sit command again, but do not continue to tell him to sit over and over. Eventually he will get bored and will likely sit. For some especially stubborn or distracted dogs this can take up to thirty minutes the first time. For most it only takes five minutes or less. Be patient. When he does finally sit, praise him enthusiastically and reward him, then allow him to stand back up, and then repeat the command again until he focuses on you or sits more quickly. Practice this often in everyday life to help him to learn to obey the command readily. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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