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Therapy work

Discussion in 'General Dog Forum' started by Shalista, Mar 16, 2019.

  1. Shalista

    Shalista Active Member Registered

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    So Bax returns. He works as pseudo therapy dog on weekends going into my local nursing home to say high to the residents. He's very affectionate and mostly polite.

    His problem is that he's very inconsistent. Some days he goes in and he wants all the love and affection. Other days he's a mercenary and will do nothing without chips. today he was a lunatic pulling on the leash and wanted nothing to do with my residents.

    my initial thought was some kind of uniform, like service dogs wear so he's known when he was "working" it was time to pay attention to the residents.

    however, I posted on a different forum about it and they insisted that he should be in a sit or a down anyway.

    my problem with that is two-fold.

    1. bax has a really bubbly and vivacious personality and the residents react and respond to it. they love him because he puts his paws up on the leg and gives them wuffly kisses. if hes just sitting or laying down the residents will miss out.

    2. hes 13 lbs. if he goes into a sit or a down the residents wont be able to REACH him.

    I was thinking of teaching him to lay in their laps but his nails are pretty long even at the best of times after a fresh trim and skin tears are to big a risk in this population. thoughts?
     
  2. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    Why?

    Do you feel, in your gut, that the residents would benefit from Bax behaving like a model therapy dog (whatever that means), or are they better relating to him as he is, on that particular day, warts and all? I wouldn't want to interact with a dog who felt he was just doing his job, if that made sense. So make a feature of 'Cheeky Bax, he only loves you for your treats today but don't worry, these are really healthy ones!'

    Of course, you know your residents and what would benefit them most best, and also what your employers expect. But I know Bax can be a stresshead and you don't want to be making him do something he's not happy with.

    Could he sit on a stool next to the residents so they can make a fuss of him, rather than him going on their laps? Or could you cover their laps with a thick blanket to protect them from his claws? He might even come to recognise the blanket as a sign that he is 'at work'.

    Or... I don't suppose he'd accept wearing little bootees?
     
  3. Shalista

    Shalista Active Member Registered

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    a blanket is an excellent idea! ... but i worry cause he likes to put his paws on their chest for face wuffling and those claws.......

    what i also do is i pick him up and hold him for them but his patience is limited for that particular activity. maybe i just need to practice holding him more for more extended periods of time..... he used to HATE being picked up, now he.... kind of tolerates it.... if it means more treats.....
     
  4. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    Hmmm, I feel holding him is dodgy as he's being forced into close contact and isn't in control. I think I'd work on the bootees approach, accustoming him to them very gradually with lots of treats (not that I've had any joy getting J used to wearing socks/boots for his corn). But you know him better than I do, of course - I'm just thinking of how J might react if he was held up close to a stranger who then patted his head!
     
  5. Mad Murphy

    Mad Murphy Well-Known Member Registered

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    I cant help with the claw problem although Ive taught Murphy to 'step up' so I can ask him to step onto a footstool or chair if I need him to.

    My point was the value of dogs in therapy, my MIL suffered alzhiemers. In 2009 I went to the UK with my three dogs Oscar BC , Benny beagle and Remy JRT crossy thingy.. My MIL was incontinent, had no idea if she had eaten, what day of the week it was, much less how late it was and she carried out one word conversations with those around her.
    Within a few days of our arrival she had bonded with my dogs each in a unique way, she learned that Oscar loved to be brushed and she would spend ages just gently brushing his coat and talking to him , Benny loved food and he would beg, but she would look at her watch and tell him the time adding 'its not 5oclock yet no dinner for you until then..' As he sat next to her on the sofa she would read the newspaper to him and ask his opinion on the articles she read..

    Remy delighted her by playing fetch she would roll a soft ball across the room and squeal with delight each time he bought it back 'what a clever doggy you are'she would say. She knew their names and what they liked to do she enjoyed their company and blossomed in those weeks we stayed with her..

    I was no one, a nurse or carer the 30+ years Id known her vanished but the doggies oh yes she knew who they were and when we left she kissed each of them goodbye calling them by name and waving them off.

    Let the residents interact with Bax in a safe way but in the way they and he feel happiest a dog in a static sit might just as well be a stuffed toy!
     
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  6. Biker John

    Biker John Well-Known Member Registered

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    I am a voluntary driver for my local Hospice, often this entails taking people in to the day centre for some session then taking them home again after. Sometimes, and only when I know the person is a dog person, frequently they have had dogs all their life and miss them now, when I'm picking them up at the end I take Folly in with me. When I do she gets a lot of fussing from most of the patients, she loves the attention and the patients get a lot out of it. She is very gentle with them just standing close looking at them while they stroke her and talk to her.
     
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  7. Shalista

    Shalista Active Member Registered

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    Bax is very active with them, he likes to smoosh himself against their hands and put his paws up on their chairs for wuffly kisses. i have on resident that calls him "our dog." or "My dog." he loves him so much and theres a couple that ask about him every day even if he hasnt been in in weeks. he just has so much personality and is so lively with them id hate to turn him into a stuffed animal with just a sit.
     
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  8. Ari_RR

    Ari_RR Well-Known Member Registered

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    My 2 cents - I would be careful with how much contact Bax can have with the residents, and make sure they can really handle it if something goes wrong. Some folks can be very fragile, including skin. Our new puppy at 12 weeks accidentally touched an elderly lady with his paw - and she had a bruise or a scratch after that encounter, was not happy. Accidents do happen, and it only takes one to spoil a good thing.
     
  9. Shalista

    Shalista Active Member Registered

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    are you saying i shouldnt bring bax in?
     
  10. Ari_RR

    Ari_RR Well-Known Member Registered

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    No, not saying that, he is such a positive influencer.
    Just to be careful and perhaps selective in how much contact he has with which resident.
    Maybe yours are all fairly strong, and can easily get a hug from a little rat terrier without a risk of damage.
     
  11. Shalista

    Shalista Active Member Registered

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    yeah im careful to, like for the bedside visits i try to limit it so he doesnt climb all over and i try not to let him stand in peoples laps. ill usually just pick him up and hold him. i do like the idea of a nice thick blanket in peoples laps though, that might work.
     

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