​Training Dogs for Therapy

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Skills Therapy Dogs Could Be Taught:

(Taken From Volunteering With Your Pet)
  • Go see (a person)
  • Let's go
  • Shake
  • Speak
  • Put your head down
  • Put your head HERE
  • Give kisses
  • Accept a hug
  • Paws up
  • Jump up (onto surface)
  • Get off
  • Sit
  • Down
  • Stand
  • Sit stay
  • Down stay
  • Stand stay
  • Come front
  • Heel (for walking in crowded halls)
  • Easy (for taking a treat gently; facility permission and handler's discretion)
  • Leave it
  • Give it to me
  • Take it to
  • Get it
  • Turn around
  • Crawl
  • Get under or in
  • Go potty right here (place specified outside)
  • Tug or pull (as in removing a glove)
  • Find it

Signs of Stress in Therapy Dogs

(Taken from Volunteering With Your Pet)
Stress shows they either need more training or exposure to certain environments; if the animal continues to be stressed even after conditioning, they may not be suitable to be a therapy dog
  • panting
  • pacing
  • shedding
  • diarrhea
  • urination
  • licking the lips
  • coughing
  • sneezing
  • turning away/avoiding eye contact
  • trembling
  • shaking (as though the animal were shaking off water)
  • yawning
  • sweaty paws
  • increased or decreased activity
  • scratching
  • "spacing out"

Tricks for Entertaining During Therapy
(taken from http://www.loveyourdog.com/tricks.html)
  • shake
  • turn around
  • speak
  • crawl
  • play dead
  • beg
  • kiss
  • roll over
  • take a bow
  • say hello
  • wave
  • go to bed
  • cross your paws