Therapy Dogs – Born or Made?

sunrise 1-12

As many of you know I recently presented a seminar on animal assisted therapy in Naples Florida. (Yes, it'll be out as a DVD later this winter. Happy Dance!) One of the motivations for doing the seminar was the number of clients I had who wanted me to help them prepare their dog for therapy work. Sometimes it was like swimming downstream on a warm, cozy river. Their dog was a perfect fit and ended up doing wonderful work in the community. Other times... well,  it was reminiscent of trying to paddle up a cold, frothy waterfall. The fact is, therapy work can be hard work, and it takes a special kind of dog to be both good at it and to enjoy it. The directors of AAA and AAT (AAActivities and AATherapy) will tell you that one of their greatest challenges is working with people who want to Read More

Willie’s Exercises & Honoring Your Dog

This video tape of me and Willie doing his exercises reminds me how important it is to "honor your dog." (I think that is originally Kathy Sdao's phrase, and I just love it.) The video shows us doing two exercises, "Flex" and "Paw," both designed to strengthen his shoulders before the surgery. We first began doing one set of 10 reps each with very short durations, about 2 seconds max, and have worked our way up to 10 seconds duration for the first set and 5-6 seconds for the second set. But the therapist warned me to watch for signs that we were pushing it too far, and those showed up recently, which we caught on video.  Watch the video first, then I'll tell you more about it. It's a little under three minutes. We cut out about 30 seconds just to keep it short, I'll describe more about Read More

The Food-All-Over-the-Floor “Method”

Treats on K floor

I mentioned earlier that Willie has re-injured his shoulder. He's going in for a consult with my "sport medicine vet" on Wednesday, but meanwhile I am playing the not-always-so-fun game of keeping him quiet and not stressing his shoulder. Our two most challenging times are when he is waiting for his dinner and when he is greeting someone he loves. Otherwise it's not too difficult. Leash walks outside? Trivial. Around the house? Harder, but very doable, (though not so good for my getting things done, but I sure have caught up on a lot of television lately!) I lie down on the living floor and rub Willie's belly for several hours every evening (when we would normally be playing with toys in the house, after our walk or sheep work outside.) Otherwise he's chomping on food out of a hollow toy Read More