Animal Assisted Therapy Dogs
Animal Assisted Therapy Dogs assist physical and occupational therapists in meeting goals important to an individual’s recovery. Some tasks that these dogs can help to achieve include gaining motion in limbs, fine motor control, and hand-eye coordination. Animal Assisted Therapy Dogs typically work in rehabilitation facilities.
DireWolf Guardians has successfully trained an animal assisted therapy dog named Bonnie Lee. She was originally trained as a hearing dog, but was repositioned as a therapy dog due to unforeseen circumstances. After placement as a therapy dog, Bonnie Lee did not maintain active status through recertification and is, therefore, no longer active within DireWolf Guardians American Alsatian Dog Training Program. DireWolf Guardians American Alsatian Dog Training Program does train and place American Alsatian Dogs as Animal Assisted Therapy Dogs, but only upon appoved application and with the clear understanding that the certified Animal Assisted Therapy Dog remains the sole property of DireWolf Guardians at all times in active service until retired from the program in writing.
Certified handlers of a DireWolf Guardian Animal Assisted Therapy Dog graduate must first submit an extensive application package with letters of support/recommendation. If the application passes, they are granted a telephone interview, approximately 45 minutes in length. If they pass that they are granted an in-person interview which can last between 4 and 6 hours. If they pass this, they report for two weeks of intensive training – with daily tests – both written and practical to assess the mastery of the material on an ongoing basis. Handlers must pass the public access test to graduate. This test is extensive and rigorous and involves having to think on one’s feet in unpredictable situations.