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 Post subject: When A Therapy Dog Gets Upset UPDATED
PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 10:48 am 
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I Rescue Cockers
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Location: Westchester, NY
Cody has been certified as a therapy dog for a little over a year (he passed the test at one day past his first birthday making him the youngest dog in our area to be certified). He is also my most "sensitive" pup. He was the pup we couldn't "pop" in training class because he'd just melt. A couple of weeks ago we went to a nursing home and one of the patients on the floor had just had a major health crisis so bells started going off, people were shouting and running, EMT's came rushing past with a stretcher, etc. We have been there when little stuff happened but this was major and we got caught standing in the middle of it. Cody is now very tentative about going on the floors. He'll go into the lobby and into the program room there just fine. He'll go into the therapy rooms as well. He meets a lot of the regulars there but if I go towards the elevator I see him tensing up. So....Anyone with ideas of how to help him recover? Should I just keep to the first floor until he loosens up? Should I insist he go to the floor so he can see everything is okay?

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Teddy - 11/11/03
Annie - 2/13/05
Jennie - Gotcha 9/14/11
Cody - 9/2/08
Monkey Cat - 1993 - 2013
Cori - My First - 1/2/91 - 12/15/03
Maxine - My Angel - Gotcha - 9/5/09 - 7/28/11
Maddie - Good Boy - Gotcha 6/17/12 - 7/25/13


Last edited by Vickie on Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: When A Therapy Dog Gets Upset
PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 10:52 am 
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I'm not an expert, as you well know. But this makes me think about the counter-conditioning we did in the "shy and fearful" class. PM me if you'd like a run-down on how we worked with fears of things and events. Isabel has benefited enormously from this technique.

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 Post subject: Re: When A Therapy Dog Gets Upset
PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 10:55 am 
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I Rescue Cockers
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Thanks Jean....PM coming

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Teddy - 11/11/03
Annie - 2/13/05
Jennie - Gotcha 9/14/11
Cody - 9/2/08
Monkey Cat - 1993 - 2013
Cori - My First - 1/2/91 - 12/15/03
Maxine - My Angel - Gotcha - 9/5/09 - 7/28/11
Maddie - Good Boy - Gotcha 6/17/12 - 7/25/13


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 Post subject: Re: When A Therapy Dog Gets Upset
PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 12:32 pm 
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I most definitely agree with Jean - some counter-conditioning and de-sensitization would probably work well in this situation. A great book is "Cautious Canine" by Patricia McConnell. It's available from her website (http://www.patriciamcconnell.com) for less than $10. It's a small booklet, so not a ton of reading and it's not too technical either.

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 Post subject: Re: When A Therapy Dog Gets Upset UPDATED
PostPosted: Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:15 am 
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Okay - my Cody pup is willing to go to the nursing home, go into the first floor program room and will NOT go to the elevator. It has been a while now and I have taken him other places and even on other elevators but the elevator at the nursing home is a no-no. I tried giving him treats when he walked past it or looked at it or even stood there when the doors opened and someone got off (from a distance). It really is funny becasue as I said he will even go into elevators in other places. There is one elevator I can't stand as it's circa 1920 and as rickety as can be and he hopes right in like a kid on a ride at an amusement park. So I have stopped worrying about it. He will go other places and see people in the program room only at the one place but I'm not going to try and push it any further.

Now my question is - do you think it's better to let the sleeping dog lie ( :roll ) and move on or do you think it's worth trying to desensitize my sensitive pup?

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Teddy - 11/11/03
Annie - 2/13/05
Jennie - Gotcha 9/14/11
Cody - 9/2/08
Monkey Cat - 1993 - 2013
Cori - My First - 1/2/91 - 12/15/03
Maxine - My Angel - Gotcha - 9/5/09 - 7/28/11
Maddie - Good Boy - Gotcha 6/17/12 - 7/25/13


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 Post subject: Re: When A Therapy Dog Gets Upset UPDATED
PostPosted: Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:46 am 
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Honestly? If that's the only elevator he refuses to go in, I wouldn't bother trying to push it. If it's just one flight of stairs, and he's fine other places, I would let it go. If he's happy on his visits otherwise, that's the most important thing.

You're a great dog mom Vickie!

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Kelly & the KLAD Cockers
Farley, Grace & Jack Jack
http://www.kladphotography.com


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 Post subject: Re: When A Therapy Dog Gets Upset UPDATED
PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 9:35 pm 
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I want my dog to be a therapy dog someday. :( I think they're cool.

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Money will buy a fine cocker spaniel dog, but only kindness will make him wag his tail.


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