Aw, he didn't pass (but we had fun!)

Discussion in 'Dogs - General Dog Chat' started by RD, Nov 7, 2006.

  1. RD

    RD Are you dead yet?

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    Dakota had his TDI testing today and passed the CGC, training (1-minute downstay in a BUSY hallway with people greeting him!!! I was so proud of him) and soundness portions of the test with flying colors, but unfortunately still doesn't cut it as a therapy dog.

    He did so good though, I was very proud of the way he interacted with the people at the nursing home. He was comfortable about allowing all sorts of people to touch him and was willing to approach everyone. He was unsure about a couple people initially, but he trusted me enough to do a sit beside their wheelchair. He did a perfect heel the entire time and while he wasn't on his *absolute* best behavior (he licked three times. grrrr) he was pretty darn good.

    The evaluator said he shows tremendous promise but is too young and a little high strung. She said he was one of the most stable Borders she's met, but that he moves too much ( :rolleyes: He's a BC!) and he has a habit of going in front of me to greet people, when he should stay at my side. I know I'm supposed to be a good sport and I'm fine with her decision for the most part (I totally agree he's not ready yet) but I have to bitch about this. He can't leave my side, yet people always call him forward. I got marks deducted as a handler for not correcting him for it, but wtf would I want to correct him for? The people obviously wanted to see him or they wouldn't have called him. People squeaked at him and patted their legs and told him to come, and he did. Not once did he approach someone who didn't call him or show interest. In fact, he went out of his way to be quiet and still around a lady who was obviously afraid of him. He's intuned to people. So, what am I supposed to do? Scold him for listening to people, yank him back to my side and tell the person not to pet the therapy dog? Argh. That's my only gripe about the testing process. Everything else made sense.

    The nursing home residents adored him and since he doesn't have to be TDI in order to visit there (just CGC) that's where we're going to volunteer. If he gets better about not approaching people, we'll re-test next month! Overall a good experience, he loved the residents and made a few good friends :D
     
  2. Snark

    Snark Mutts to you

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    That's great! We always took our dogs to visit my great aunt when she was in the nursing home. She was always happy to see them (even if she didn't always remember us).
     
  3. Tracer Tong

    Tracer Tong New Member

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    You'll nail it next time.
     
  4. dr2little

    dr2little Moderator

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    It sounds like you had every reason to be very proud of your boy.

    The bit about you not correcting him when he drifted past your side to greet...it's frustrating, but he did soooo well at everything else. With the motion sensitivity and activity level of a border, a little extra pride is certainly in order!:hail:

    I think it's just so cool that you're doing what you are with your dogs. Great work!!:D
     
  5. RD

    RD Are you dead yet?

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    Colleen, yes, motion sensitivity is very common with the breed. Dakota's no exception - if something catches his eye, he'll whirl around to give it a better look. He does the "BC EYE" and crouches when he sees something suspicious, which I suppose could be interpreted by some as skittishness, but it's just Dakota's way of sizing things up. It's just him, he can be rather "slinky" (figures he'd show more eye in a nursing home than he does on geese!) I don't want to act like I know everything, but I do know my dog very well and I know he stayed very calm. He's a bit high strung and very active, which I doubt I could ever change. I didn't know it would be such a big deal since he's 100% under control, but meh. We'll see if we can work on it. If not, we'll drop this (I'd like to always visit the nursing home though, everyone enjoyed that) and go back to agility, which allows him to be himself - crazies and all :D. If I get a calmer dog in the future, I'll know what to work on for therapy work. I love the idea of brightening people's day like that.

    During the "strange people" (including a mentally handicapped man with tremors, in a huge cowboy hat and wheelchair) test, he got a little shifty eyed but trusted me enough to go visit. I was proud of that especially. None of the loud noises fazed him, he had a tin plate full of pennies dropped on the tile floor beside him and he flinched, gave it the eye and moved away.

    He was very very good. I'm impressed with him and after the unusual situations he was put in, I'm as confident as I can be in his stability.
     
  6. Lizmo

    Lizmo Water Junkie

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    Ohhh well.......he did AWSOME!!! :D

    It really sounds like he would be a GREAT Therapy Dog!!! :)

    LOL, Lizzie does the "BC eye, crouch" too! :p

    I would REALLY like mabe if Lizzie when she gets older and is not as " gotta go gotta go" that she will be a Therapy dog! Or if not my next dog IS going to be a therapy dog! :)
     
  7. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

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    Sounds almost like you had an examiner who might have been looking for reasons not to pass a BC.

    They were much more reasonable at UT when I had Bear tested - and their test was done in a room where he was separated from me! They thought he was a bit much (at 110 pounds) and a bit active for hospital trips, but decided he would be perfect for visiting runaway shelters and shelters for abused women and children. And he was. They loved him, even women and kids who had been afraid of dogs. He did a lot of good for a lot of kids. Don't give up, and check around to see what other therapy programs offer.
     
  8. RD

    RD Are you dead yet?

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    Renee, it kind of does seem that way, but I can't figure out why. BCs may be entirely foreign to her - she has an elderly Sheltie (sweet dog, VERY insanely calm. Polar opposite of Dakota) and the other therapy dogs at the hospital are either toy breeds or retrievers. No herding breeds. She was very nice, and all she would explain is that she didn't think he'd be 100% safe because he would walk up to people who called him. :confused: No idea . . . .

    The runaway and womens' shelters sound like a great place to go, I'll look into that. The kids would especially love Dakota and his trick demonstrations, and Dakota is very loving and playful with children.

    Dakota is a bit active for hospital visits (they do seem to want very sedentary dogs) but we actually weren't planning on *doing* many room-to-room visits. The reason the hospital wanted Dakota was for their AAT program. :shrug: I'm not entirely sure why she didn't think he would cut it there, though. Ah well.
     
  9. ~Tucker&Me~

    ~Tucker&Me~ and Spy.

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    Ah well, their loss ;)

    Congrats, glad you did so well :D

    ~Tucker
     
  10. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

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    Dakota would be wonderful with those kids. They've been through Hell and they need some diversion that makes them laugh and forget some of the horrors even if just for a few moments. You should see their mothers' faces light up too. It does so much good.
     
  11. kidsanddogs

    kidsanddogs New Member

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    Testing can be very subjective and vary between organizations. I don't know who you tested with, but you always have the option of getting tested by a different group, like Therapy Dogs International (TDI). It sounded to me that your dog did very well, albeit a little immature. I have never heard of not allowing your dog to approach a patient. That's exactly what we want them to do, on command. My collies are always encouraged to walk up to a patient. Maybe your tester wasn't quite sure of his stability if he was to do that.

    Check out my site below for links to the national organizations and you might find a testor in your area. TDI doesn't test in a facility. One important thing for you to do is to realistically evaluate your dog's strengths and weaknesses to determine the best setting for visits.

    Anyway, I think you should be VERY proud of your dog. Whenever there is a test involved, it's always subject to an evaluator's interpretation. Keep at it, keep socializing your dog, and continue to always train. The more you train and bond, the better a therapy dog your boy will be.
     
  12. PWCorgi

    PWCorgi Priscilla Winifred Corgi

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    I agree with Tucker, it's their loss.

    I also agree about seeing if you could got to a different program or ask about a different situation. When we do therapy work, the calm dogs got to nursing homes, mental hospitals, and regular hospitals, and the more energetic dogs go to the childrens camps that we do. For the children's camps (they have a different one every month, each dealing with something different, everything from cancer, to loss of a parent, to spina bifida) we take the agility equipment, frisbees, etc. which the kids absolutely LOVE!
     
  13. Kanga

    Kanga New Member

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    I think a congratulations is in order. You did a great job with your dog.

    I do believe these sort of tests are subjective. Perhaps another tester will like your breed of dog.

    Don't give up just after one little setback.
     
  14. sam

    sam New Member

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    Well he got his CGC - that's a great accomplishment. Good job!
     
  15. RD

    RD Are you dead yet?

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    Kidsanddogs - Actually this was through TDI.

    I guess her problem with Dakota approaching was the fact that I didn't tell him to. He just did when the people called him over. I thought that was a good thing, though. He didn't strain or anything to get to them, he just broke his position at my side and went to whoever was calling him.

    I have a hard time believing that our evaluator would be prejudiced against the breed. She founded the program for the hospital here and is very knowledgable about procedure. . . Perhaps she didn't want him just because he's young and active. He's not out of control by any means, but he isn't a lazy, senior dog either (most of the dogs in the program are over 8) She'd like to re-test him and so would I, but if they want to make him into a sedentary, unresponsive dog that will sit still just so patients can feel soft fur and have no other interaction with the dog . . . it's not for him. He wants eye contact, he wants to rest his head in their laps, he wants to give a single kiss, etc.
     
  16. Lizmo

    Lizmo Water Junkie

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    RD what you said that Dokato wants to do is IMO what a Therapy Dog is! ;) :D
     
  17. Rubylove

    Rubylove Training the Trainer

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    Ohhhh that's lovely! I think therapy dogs are a wonderful, wonderful idea. We would love the babies to be involved in something like that - we both work in medicine, and Max works in Neurosurgery, where there are many stroke patients and similar who have dogs but can never see them anymore because they are institutionalised.

    Max arranged to have one of his patients (brain cancer, not stroke) have their dog brought in to visit. The patient was healthier and more alert for DAYS after his dog's visit than he had been for weeks before that. There is no doubt that it is beneficial, it works, it should be used wherever possible. And cats, too - make wonderful therapy animals, especially for children and the elderly.

    I am so thrilled that you are getting Dakota involved in this, even if `technically' there wasn't a pass. Jeesh! The peeps on this site are just so darn lovely!
     
  18. Zoom

    Zoom Twin 2.0

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    Congrats on the CGC anyway...and you will get the TDI before too long! But in the meantime, the two of you should bask in the happiness you are bringing to people.
     
  19. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    RD! You should be proud. He did very well. On that one thing, you can teach him to only go forward with your "OK" even if someone calls him. That way you'll have complete control. You can practice in case that same person tests next time or another one who has a thing about that. All in all, he sounds like he'll make a fine therapy dog. And what a good experience! You guys are doing a really neat thing!
     
  20. bubbatd

    bubbatd Moderator

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    I NEVER had to keep any of my TDI dogs at a heel !! Yes, they were when I walked into a room where I always asked if they'd like to visit with my dog . Once the hand went out or they'd nod ... they'd have free leash to visit . Of course no dog was allowed to climg on them .... except many wanted Bubba on their beds. Another good place to visit is a Youth Correction Home . Had many successful visits in the past . Sure sofened a lot of hard hearts ! Many had only owned chained out " mean " dogs. These were group visits and I'd always bring brushed and combs. You could really see a change of attitude after group grooming !! I think these were my personnally saddest visits . So many lost souls because of bad parenting .
     

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