Let A Wagging Tail Bring Joy To Someone In Need Learn About Dog Certification For Visiting

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Let A Wagging Tail Bring Joy To Someone In Need Learn About Dog Certification For Visiting

by Ruth Bird

Dog Certification and Visiting plays an important role in the well being of many people. Certified dogs often play a major part in Animal Assisted Therapy Programs as well as volunteered visits. The visits by certified dogs can:
- Increase the self esteem and
- Decrease the anxiety levels of patients who could be injured, confused or even scared.

These dogs are sociable and well-trained, bringing a lighter mood to a somber situation and often being used as a diversion for patients undergoing uncomfortable or painful circumstances.

Certified visiting dogs can help children and adults alike on a multitude of levels as they provide unconditional love and emotional support. It has been well noted that children in particular respond positively to the presence of a friendly dog.

Requirements for a Dog to be Certified

- First of all a dog needs to have the ability to pass the American Kennel Club?s Canine Good Citizen test.
- They need to pass a variety of social and obedience tests including but not limited to sitting quietly and allowing a stranger to shake their owner?s hand, as well as petting the dog, brushing them and examining them.
- As well as passing regular health requirements, the dog should know many basic commands and obey them regardless of the distractions posed by the examiner.
- They should be able to greet another dog in a non-aggressive way.
- Responses to sudden caresses or movements should be calm and patient.
- The dog should not be nervous, shy, clingy or aggressive in any way.

Type of Nature a Dog Needs For This Work

In order for a dog to participate in this type of work, they need a strong bond with their owner first and foremost. It is a team effort and the owner needs to be just as comfortable as the dog in the presence of strangers who may be seriously ill.

The dog itself needs to be gentle, calm and obedient. They should be used to socializing with people of all ages and races as well as other dogs.

Certified dogs need to be friendly and able to receive rough handling or be exposed to shouting, screaming and sudden movements without snapping, growling or barking.

It is advisable for the dog to have attended obedience classes with other dogs. The dog should be able to control themselves and be controlled by their owner with just a word or gesture, despite the nearby distractions.

Expectations for a Certified Dog

There are many behaviors expected from a certified dog.
- They should have the potential to be used as a therapy dog in a hospital or home setting as well as taking the occasional break in every day routine to take part in a volunteered visit.
- The owner must have total command of the dog but should be able to leave the dog with a stranger for a short period of time if needed.
- The dogs need to provide gentle and affectionate love and support to those that need it the most by helping the patient progress and often providing a channel between patient and caregiver especially in cases where communication is not possible.
- They should be able to meet strangers, accept petting from a crowd of people, respond positively to any form of contact and immediately obey the commands of their owner.

Rules and Expectations of a Visit

The main rules that a certified dog must obey during a visit include the following:

? Instant obeying of owner?s commands
? Quietly and calmly allowing the patient to pet and touch the dog
? Only jumping onto a chair if commanded to
? Non-aggressive behavior
? Ability to perform basic commands such as sit, stay, shake paw etc.
? Remain well-controlled despite of distractions or disturbing events
? Take exceptional care around respiratory equipment and wheelchairs
? Staying calm during a walk or around other dogs and children who may be excitable themselves
? No jumping at people or other animals
? Allow the patient to take the lead in regards to how much contact they wish for

During a visit, it is essential that the dog is prepared for the unexpected at all times as it can be an inconsistent atmosphere. A lot of dogs do not have the personality to suit this and can become withdrawn or hostile so the correct manner and temperament is extremely important.

The patient could easily need the use of a cane, crutch or wheelchair and the dog should be able to confidently walk alongside these types of peripherals without become anxious.

The basis of the visits is to give the patient a distraction from their condition and hopefully aid their recovery and increase their comfort. The dog should bring a tranquil and soothing effect to the visit; easily socializing with the patient and making them feel accepted. It is imperative that the dog does not reject the patient but instead allow them to have as little or as much contact as possible. The dog should also be impeccably clean in case of infection.

The dog should not jump on a chair unless commanded to and should never jump up at or rush at a patient. Snapping and growling is strictly forbidden and instant obedience is of the utmost importance. It is crucial that the dog allows the patient to hold their leash, pet them roughly or gently along any part of their body and be loud without the dog becoming alarmed. A patient may be clumsy, loud, and rough and have jerked movements; a certified dog needs to be prepared for this and more.

Visiting dogs often encounter people who are withdrawn and avoid social interaction so the dog has the potential to bring them out of their shell and in touch with people socially. These types of visits can become tiring or stressful for the dog so the owner should know their dog?s limits and respond accordingly.

These visits do a lot of good for people who are depressed or inhibited and leading a solitary lifestyle. The elderly can garner a sense of companionship especially if they do not have frequent family visits. A child with difficulties reading or speaking can talk to a visiting dog without receiving judgment or negativity in return.

Many people respond better to visiting dogs than to people and often remember the visits fondly afterwards feeling an overall beneficial effect to their mental and emotional state. It can take some people a while to respond to the dogs but if they do, the benefits they reap are worth the effort.

Ruth is actively involved with the internet and she finds it very exciting. Her passions are people and pet health. She is a wife, a stepmom a dog owner and a business person. She is married for almost 30 years to Chris who has been, and still is, battling the monster MS. Two of her dogs are Certified Therapy Dogs. She is currently working from her home.

Her About Page http://www.mimfreedom.com/aboutus.htm

Her home page: http://www.adventuresingoldenland.com/Visiting

Her Pet Blog http://www.happypetstop.com/blog

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