Therapy Dog Training?

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A lot has happened the last few days/weeks in my puppy training life. Exactly two weeks ago I received a call from our Orange County GDA group leader asking me if I’d like to puppy raise another Guide Dog. I was a little hesitant, but excited at the same time. If you’ve been following my blog then you know I decided to raise Derby from the “D” litter and picked him up last Friday.

Derby Working HardDerby’s been great since I picked him up. The last couple days he’s done really well at my office (and of course he’s a hit with all of the employees). He also sleeps through most of the night (exact opposite of Stetson)…a few whines and moans here and there, but usually he falls asleep very quickly. He does really well at “table up”, is starting to wait at doorways, and has actually gone over to and waited at the back door to go outside twice already. YAY FOR DERBY!

Stetson Career Changed

Just this afternoon I found out that Stetson has been career changed. I was caught totally by surprise…I worked really hard with Stetson and thought he had many great qualities that would help him become an excellent Guide Dog. I was so overwhelmed when I received the call I was pretty much tongue tied. I have several questions I’d like to ask our puppy manager Louise to try and find out exactly what went wrong with Stetson. Did he really not want to work as a Guide Dog?

I do have mixed emotions about Stetson not making it as a guide dog. I was really looking forward to his graduation and meeting his blind partner. I was excited that he was going to help someone get around in their daily lives and be a constant companion. I had dreams of him doing great things in his life…the good thing is we had a back up plan and Stetson will still get a chance to use his training and help people.

Stetson The Therapy Dog

Stetson the Therapy Dog has a nice ring to it! I always wanted to train Stetson best I could. We attended every training class offered by Tammy (Puppy Kindergarten) and Ramona (Basic Obedience). Stetson Colby and the MatterhornIn total Stetson finished 2 puppy kindergarten classes and 4 basic obedience classes. Stetson and his buddy Dustin both received their Canine Good Citizen Certificate back in February. All of this training including the socialization Stetson has gone through makes him a perfect candidate as a therapy dog.

Our group meeting a couple months back focused on what to do if your dog is career changed. One of the options from this meeting was therapy dog training. I learned a couple important points:

  1. There are different therapy dog programs – depending on where you and your dog would like to visit might determine what program you should get involved with.
  2. READ – a program where kids read to your dog.

There’s additional information on our Orange County GDA group website on career change opportunities including therapy dog certification. Several of the dogs in our group already have their therapy dog certification and over the next couple weeks I’ll try and find out which certification will best suit Stetson. So…the journey continues for Stetson!

In a couple weeks time I went from a one dog household to a three dog household. Tomorrow I’m going back to Sylmar to pick up Stetson and while I’m sad he’s not making it as a guide dog I’m happy to have him back home.

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8 Comments

  1. Awww that’s too bad. It’s never easy when a dog gets dropped, but at least you know it had nothing to do with you. It sounds like Stetson is just a loving boy and will love being a pet!!! But the shattered dreams hurt too…I’ll be thinking about you guys.

  2. @Tonka and James, the word I got back was the Stetson was “too soft/too sweet” to handle the training.

    @Denise, do you know why Stuart was dropped?

  3. Hi Colby, I was down at GDA today Tonka has a thing with one of his ears and asked how Stetson was doing and they said he had gone home. I was shocked since I didn’t read your blog yesterday. Do you have any details or stories for us that you can share? Glad you brought him home.

  4. So, Stetson, you got yourself out! I did too. I’m a therapy dog now, too. Good luck with your new career, you will enjoy it. I get to go to libraries and lay around while kids read to me. It is great “work”!

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