Therapy dog work is always encouraged and needed in our communities. So how does your dog participate in such a rewarding experience? There are 13 steps or testing requirements that your dog needs to pass before they can receive certification.
What to bring : 6 inch leash is a must. No corrective leashes or corrective harness.
The test is to stimulate the experience one goes through in a hospital or retirement home. DEMONSTRATING CONFIDENCE AND CONTROL, THE DOG MUST COMPLETE THESE 13 STEPS OF THE TDI TEST. Phase 1 is group work then Phase 2 is based on an individual skills.
Also remember that at check-in, before beginning Test 1, the owner must present a current rabies certificate and any other state or locally required inoculation certificates and licenses.)
The dog must wear either a flat buckle or snap-in collar (non corrective) or a harness (non-corrective), all testing must be on a 6ft leash.
TEST 1: TDI ENTRY TABLE (Simulated as a Hospital Reception Desk)
The dog/handler teams are lined up to be checked in (simu- lating a visit). The evaluator (“volunteer coordinator”) will go down the line of registrants and greet each new arrival including each dog. At the same time the collars must be checked, as well as nails, ears and grooming.
This is to simulate the arrival at a facility where the coordina- tor first greets the visiting dog team and instructs the handler on proper grooming before a therapy dog visit. The dogs must permit the evaluator to check the collar, all 4 paws, ears and tail which must be lifted if applicable. The dog must be friendly and outgoing upon meeting the evaluator, willing to visit without being invasive and show impeccable manners.
TEST 2: CHECK-IN AND OUT OF SIGHT
The handler is asked to complete the paperwork and check in. At that time a helper will ask the handler if he/she can help by holding the dog. If the handler prefers he/she can go with the helper and places the dog with a stay command. The dog will be out of sight of the handler. Another helper will take charge of the dog. The helper can talk to and pet the dog. The dog can sit, lie down, stand or walk around within the confine of the leash.
TEST 3: GETTING AROUND PEOPLE
As the dog/handler team walks toward the patients’ rooms, there should be various people standing around. Some of the people will try visiting with the dog. The dog/handler team must demonstrate that the dog can withstand the approach of several people at the same time and is willing to visit and to walk around a group of people.
TEST 4: GROUP SIT/STAY
The evaluator will ask all the participants to line up with their
*If the dog is on a longer leash, a knot must be made in the leash to mark 6 ft. The handler must drop the excessive leash.
dogs in a heel position (w/dog on left), with 8 ft. between each team. Now the handlers will put their dogs in a sit/stay position. The Evaluator will tell the handlers to leave their dogs. Handlers step out to the end of their 6 ft. leash and wait for the evaluator’s command to return to their dogs.
TEST 5: GROUP DOWN/STAY
Same as test number 4, except dogs will now be in a down/ stay. The dogs must stay in place as ordered. These exercises will show how well the dog responds when other dogs are present.
TEST 6: RECALL ON A 20 FT. LEASH
All handlers will be seated. Three dogs at a time will be fit- ted with a long line. One handler at a time will take the dog to a designated area and downs the dog. Upon the command from the evaluator the handler will tell the dog to stay. The handler will walk to the end of the 20 ft. line, turn around and upon a command from the evaluator will recall the dog. For all practical purposes the recall is one of the most impor- tant obedience exercises for the dog to master. If a dog does not come when called the dog is not obedient and cannot be trusted in public.
TEST 7: VISITING WITH A PATIENT
The dog should show willingness to visit a person and dem- onstrate that it can be made readily accessible for petting (i.e. small dogs can be placed on a person’s lap or can be held; medium and larger dogs can sit on a chair or stand close to the patient to be easily reached).
For this part of the test a wheelchair or bed can be used. The evaluator will supply a rubber bathmat and a towel.
TEST 8: TESTING OF REACTIONS TO UNUSUAL SITUATIONS
The dog handler team must be walking in a straight line. The dog can be on either side, or slightly behind the handler, the leash must not be tight. The evaluator will ask the handler to have the dog sit (the handler may say sit). Next the evaluator will ask the handler to down the dog. Continuing in a straight line, the handler will be asked to make a right, left and an about turn at the evaluator’s discretion.
The following distractions will be added to the heel on a loose leash.
a. The team will be passing a person on crutches.
b. Someone running by calling “excuse me, excuse me” waving hands (this person is running up from behind the
dog. It could also be a person on a bicycle or on roller blades). c. Another person should be walking by and drop some- thing making a loud startling noise (a tin can filled with pebbles, or a clipboard). At an indoor test one could use a running vacuum cleaner (realistic in a facility).
d. After that, the team should be requested to make a left turn.
e. And a right turn.
f. After the right turn an about-turn, going back in a straight line.
TEST 9: LEAVE IT; PHASE ONE
The dog handler/team meets a person using a walker, the dog should approach the person and visit. The person with the walker will offer the dog a treat. The handler must instruct the dog to leave it.
TEST 10: LEAVE IT; PHASE TWO
The dog handler will resume walking in a straight line with the dog at heel. There will be a piece of food in the path of the dog. The dog must leave it.
TEST 11: MEETING ANOTHER DOG
A volunteer with a demo dog will walk past the dog han- dler/team, turn around and ask the handler a question. After a brief conversation, the two handlers part.
TEST 12: ENTERING THROUGH A DOOR TO VISIT AT THE FACILITY
The dog handler team is ready to enter a door to the facility. The handler first has to put the dog in a sit, stand or down stay, whichever is appropriate for the dog. If there is no door available, an area simulating an entrance should be marked. A person should be able to go through the entrance before the dog/handler team.
TEST 13:REACTION TO CHILDREN
The last phase of the test shows us if the dog will be able to work well around children. The dog’s behavior around chil- dren must be evaluated during testing. It is important that during the testing the potential Therapy Dog and the chil- dren are not in direct contact. This means the dog can only be observed for a reaction toward children running, or being present at the testing site. The evaluator must designate an area at least 10 feet away from the dog and handler. The dog may be walked, or put in a sit or down position. The children will be instructed to run and yell and do what children usually do while playing.
If you can pass the 13 tests you now have joined an amazing group of dogs and dog owners! So if your dog can pass these requirements, find your local TDI evaluator and get started!!!!
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