Pet therapy does not involve just any pet interacting with a patient or child. Standards for the training of the volunteers and their animals are crucial in order to promote a safe, positive experience. Trained volunteers will understand how to work with other medical professionals, teachers, librarians and principals to set goals for the patient or student and keep records of progress. Animals that have been appropriately trained are well socialized to people, other animals, medical equipment and odors.
Austin Dog Alliance believes the success of any pet therapy program rests on the training level of the dog and the handler. We have chosen to require all dogs that we place to have passed the Delta Society Pet Partners Evaluation. The Delta Society is an international, not-for-profit organization that trains and screens pets for participation in animal visiting and therapy programs in hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and schools. After extensive screening and testing, Pet Partners are provided with one million dollars of commercial general liability insurance.
Our Pet Dog Manners classes will get you started with basic obedience and manner skills needed to be out in a public environment. If your dog already has solid obedience skills (sit, down, stay, leash walking, interacting with strangers and other dogs), you can start with the Pet Therapy 6 Week course.
Our 6 week pet therapy class is taught by Certified Proffesional Dog Trainers who are also Delta Society Pet Partner evaluators/instructors that have hundreds of hours of pet therapy experience in a wide variety of settings. During the 6 weeks, we help you and your dog become a team so you will feel confident in a variety of challenging situations. We will also cover techniques and tips for handling the human aspects of pet therapy.
Some of the topics to be presented in the class will include how to:
- successfully give a presentation to a group of children with your dog at your side
- train your dog to behave in restaurants and other public environments
- work side by side with other pet therapy teams
- handle your dog in a room full of excited pre-schoolers
- handle your dog in a hospital room
- teach your dog to leave food on the floor
- groom your dog to meet Delta requirements
- prepare for all aspects of the Delta Pet Partner evaluation
- walk down a crowded hall with your dog with confidence
- prepare for a visit (documentation, equipment, supplies)
- teach your dog to sit quietly and properly interact with nursing home residents or a child reading a book
- help your dog become accustomed to being handled by strangers
- determine which visiting environment will be best for you and your dog
To learn more about pet therapy and to determine if your dog is ready for the Delta Society evaluation, we offer a pet therapy seminar.
If you have questions regarding which class would be best for you and your dog, please contact us.