Discussion on how dogs are good for our mental wellness. We will cover the different types of legal support dogs and the laws they fall under. We will also discuss how the role of therapy dogs have expanded in the past 10 years.
AIR (Attitudes in Reverse) is an organization whose mission is this: Educate about mental health disorders, to prevent suicides, but just as important is to educate so that no one is misjudged or criticized because they have a biological-based brain illness. All people, no matter what their differences, should be treated with respect and kindness.
Miki, AIR Co-Founder Tricia Baker’s Service Dog, has accompanied the Bakers to every community event where the family exhibited to Start THE Conversation, Reverse Attitudes and Save Lives. It immediately became apparent that Miki broke down barriers to communication about the sensitive topics of mental health disorders and suicide.
The New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome and Associated Disorders, its directors and employees know, assume no responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, objectivity, or usefulness of the information presented. We do not endorse any recommendation or opinion by any member or physician, nor do we advocate for any treatment.
Now, I’m going to turn it over the introduction of our speaker to Barbara Chabner
Thanks, Kelly, and good evening, everyone. Thank you all for joining us tonight for air syrupy Dog’s Paws For Mines by Tricia Baker. After a 20 year corporate career in marketing, following the tremendous loss of her son Kenny, Tricia recognized the need for educating our nation’s use about good mental health, and with her family started attitudes in reverse or air, which includes the air therapy dogs pause for minds program. Tricia believes that attitudes in reverse is Kennedy’s life purpose, and she is driven to educate as many students across the country as possible.
She is also a Certified Youth Mental Health First Aid instructor, educating adults who work with children about the first signs of mental health disorders in use. Tricia runs the National Therapy Dog Program Air Therapy Dogs Pause for Mines, which is recognized by the American Kennel Club. She’s also a Certified Professional Dog Trainers, Knowledge Assessed, and a K C canine good citizen evaluator and certified era therapy dog evaluator, dogs, are a very integral part of Tricia’s, work with air, included in educational programs, at schools and presentations at conferences to air. Dogs also provide crisis support in schools after the loss of a student.
It is my great pleasure to turn the program over to Tricia Baker, who will speak on air therapy. Dogs, pause for minds, Tricia.
Thank you so much, Barbara and Kelly. I just want to just confirm everybody can hear me, and see my screen, and that I did everything I needed to do technically.
So thank you so much for inviting me to be here.
It’s an honor for me to, to talk about our programs and also for us to share dogs.
So our journey started, always loved dogs, always had dogs. But the journey really started.
When my son kenney was diagnosed at the age of 15 with a mental health disorder, and he struggled and he, he worked really hard to get well.
But unfortunately, we did lose him to mental health disorder and suicide, and after he died, his memory was met with a lot of discrimination, so we knew we needed to change things. And that was the start of attitudes and reverse. Are air mental illnesses like air.
Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there.
We started out going to small little town town events. Are, you know, a school event here there?
And what we found, this is going back 11 years ago, people really didn’t want to talk about mental health or suicide prevention. You know, they’d walk up and they see what you’re all about, and they would make a face. And, you know, they would just, almost like they would run away like they were afraid of catching something.
Then we started bringing maciel along with us, Mickey is my service dog, He’s also a certified therapy dog, but he started coming everywhere with us. And what we noticed was this amazing thing that people would come up to pet the dog. They talked to Mickey. They’d share stories about their dog, and they’d ask us then what’s air all about.
And then we would share, and it, nine out of ten people had their own story that they would share after the interaction with the dog.
So we knew that it was important, that we include dogs and everything that we do, and, and all of our programs just continue to grow and grow, and dogs are a partner in everything.
So let’s talk a little bit about how dogs are good for our mental wellness.
You know, about 15 years ago, People really weren’t studying the benefits of dogs because they lived with us, Right, We didn’t study them, science scientists didn’t feel is important to study.
But then, all of a sudden, people started to look at the dogs a little closer.
And so I realized, you know, maybe we need to study this relationship. This human animal bond that we have.
And what we’ve discovered is that when you interact with a dog actually just looking at a dog, releases oxytocin in your brain, that’s the relationship hormone, the lactating hormone.
When you interact with a dog, it releases serotonin, dopamine, and it lowers your cortisol level, which is your stress hormone.
And what I think is really, really interesting is that when you interact with your personal dawg, it also increases those same good de stressing hormones and lowers your dog’s cortisol levels. So the dog’s brain has the exact same responses, the human brain, when we interact with each other. And that’s through this relationship that we’ve created through domestication.
So I also want to talk a little bit about the three types of support animals.
These get confused all the time. It’s really important to understand what the titles are and what laws they fall under.
All right, so let’s first talk about an emotional support animal they’re referred to as essays.
So what’s an emotional support animal? An emotional support animal is any animal that the presence of the animal alone will help to mitigate a person’s disability.
Now, the emotional support animal does fall under two different laws. The first one is the Airline Carrier Access Act.
And you maybe you see more and more dogs or animals on airplanes.
The airline’s allow animals to fly in the cabin with the person.
If you have a dog, the little dog can actually sit on your lap, or if you have a bigger dawg, usually they sit in the bulkhead, but they do fly.
I know a lot of the airlines are starting to crack down on essays, because more and more people were bringing all sorts of animals. So an emotional support animal does not necessarily have to be dawg.
It can be any animal, it can be, it can be fish, it can be a bird, it can be a cat For those who have anxiety, Maybe they don’t go out much, but it can be any animal.
And then they’re finding that people were bringing some of the exotic animals on airlines.
So they’re starting to limit them two well trained dogs and they’re looking now for a certification that the animal has been trained.
Then the other law that it falls under is the Fair Housing Act under the US Department of Housing and Urban Development under HUD.
And what that means is that the animal can live in notepad housing with a person with a disability.
And the person with the disability, All you need to do is have a note from your doctor, stating how the animal helps you with the disability helps to mitigate the disability.
You do not have to disclose to the landlord if you’re living in Apartments, you do not have to disclose what your disability is, Just, how does the animal health.
And then this, the animals can live in Notepad. Housing can fly on airlines.
And people cannot ask them to be removed unless they disturb the, the area, they they make a disturbance on the airline or if they’re not well behaved dogs or if they show any sign of aggression while living in notepad housing.
All right, the next type of support animal is the service dog.
So, sometimes, people get these kind of two, so I want to make sure I’m really clear and how we describe the difference.
So, again, the emotional support animal.
It is an animal that is not test train. It’s just the presence of the animal alone will mitigate a disability.
Whereas the service dog, the service dog must be task trained to perform at least one task that’s going to help to mitigate a person’s disability.
The service dog is or falls under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
It is restricted to dogs or miniature horses. Those are the only two animals that can be a service animal.
Up until 2010, it was any animal just like the ESA, and they were finding that people were bringing their boa constrictors into the grocery store.
And people knew that. we needed to change things.
So the other thing that’s different about the service dog, or if it’s a miniature horse, it also allows full public access. So anywhere human is able to go, the working service dog is also able to go.
Now, I’m sure everyone’s familiar with the seeing eye dogs.
They help people who are blind or have seeing issues. There are hearing dogs that help people with tasks to help them.
If they can’t hear, dogs are trained to alert their owners, know, when the phone rings or if the doorbell rings. So it helps them with their disability.
But there are more dogs that are being trained now for invisible disabilities.
Psychiatric service dog.
And it can be could be a little channel.
We’ll talk a little bit more about the psychiatric service dog, but first, I want to talk a little bit about the public access test.
So the ESA, as well as the service dog.
Neither one has any type of state or federal certification.
A lot of it is done on the honor system.
And that’s why a lot of people can get in trouble with their dogs.
They, they do not require, um, there’s no organization, or no overseeing body that requires a level of training for these animals.
There is a Public Access Test, but it’s all voluntary.
And things that are on that Public Access Test, with the service dog is, you know, you want to make sure your dog can go two different types of locations through different types of doorways, right?
You think you go to a store and you have the electric doors that open, or, you know, you have all different types of situations.
You want to make sure that the dog is able to travel on different types of public access, You need to be able to be on a bus to be on a train service, dogs can also fly on an airplane as well.
And when we’re training dogs, we always look at it to different levels of training.
We want them to be able to be able to work with no public access, transportation on the ground, and then once they achieve a certain level, if the handler, the person who needs the service dog, needs to have a higher level, be able to fly with a dog, that that requires additional training.
Because you don’t ever want to put a dog just on a plane, and then traveled to say California for six hours, because you have no idea how the job’s gonna respond.
It’s important to understand that aggression, 95% of aggression is all fear based, so if you put a dog on a plane, and they are nervous or afraid, you might wind up with a dog that, that bites, and that has happened in the past, and that’s why, again, airlines are cracking down on on all types of dogs.
So, disqualifying behaviors, dogs who demonstrate boisterous behaviors that are growing are showing teeth, biting, brush and excessive or inappropriate elimination.
Um, those are dogs that will not pass again, but this is a voluntary test.
Now, this test is, it’s interesting, because, as I said, people, there is no governing body, federal, or state, for service dogs to be trained.
And more and more dogs are being trained for psychiatric service dogs.
And under the ADA, they don’t want to discriminate.
So, basically, it says that you can either train your own service dog or you can hire a trainer to train your service dog.
So what you have to do when we’re training a psychiatric service dog, it’s a little challenging, because alls, people who need a seeing eye dog have very similar needs so that the dog is trained in a very similar way.
But when you have a psychiatric service dog, which you have to do, is, we do a lot of interviews, and we’ve placed a few psychiatric service dogs.
We’ve done a little bit of training with psychiatric service dogs, but what we’ve found is, it’s, it’s really challenging, and we want to make sure we promise a dog that we’re able to promise, at a certain level.
When we do work with the psychiatric service dog, you gotta identify what is the need, know from the disability.
And then, what can the dog do to help that person with that need?
And then, we have to figure out, how do we train the dog to help the person with that need?
So it’s a little tricky.
We did work with one rescue, and we placed the dog with the young lady who needed mobility support, as well as a psychiatric service dog.
So we did find a black lab, who one of our volunteers train for over a year, and when we place this dog, the dog was amazing.
The dog could decorate a Christmas tree.
The dog could pick a coin up off the floor.
The dog would help her retrieve her medication. when she was having a difficult time.
getting up, getting out of bed, the dog would help, what’s called grounding.
So, if someone’s having a panic attack or an anxiety attack, what the dog will do is the dog will put their body and apply pressure on the human body to help alleviate the anxiety.
The other dog, the dog actually was trained as well, to find her car in a crowded parking lot if she became disoriented.
So it’s actually really amazing what you can train dogs to do.
So, as I said, we had a couple of other service dogs that we were working with.
But we just found, once we placed them in the family, they became pets.
So, we just recognize that training at a psychiatric service, dog level, is extremely high.
And you have to have a, a true commitment from the family. You know.
We always tell everybody that the psychiatric service dog is like somebody’s wheelchair, right. You’re not gonna have people coming up and talking to their wheelchair, touching their wheelchair, using their wheelchair.
It’s like, that person needs that wheelchair in order to function in life, And that’s the same thing with the service dogs and the psychiatric services. Again, it’s, it’s hard for them.
because of the invisible illness.
A lot of times, people will come up, and they, they don’t even accept the fact that you have a service dog. You know who they said, Mickey.
Is my service dog after I lost my son.
I was having panic attacks, and so I bring him everywhere with me. I don’t need them as much anymore.
But I would go places and people which is automatically touch him and it’s like, I’m sorry, he’s working and then they’d get upset.
So, when you have a psychiatric service dog, you have to be ready for people to approach you, Talk to you, tried to touch your dog without permission.
Um, and you have to always be ready to be your dog’s advocate.
As well, you know, no one should ever touch a dog without an owner’s permission. And if it’s a service dog, people should respect the rights. That when you say no, my dog is working, please don’t touch him right now.
So those are the messages that we try to get out there so that, you know, people can benefit from having these service dogs in their life.
So now let’s talk about therapy dogs.
So that’s my little micky what’s a therapy dog?
So a therapy dog is a dog, doesn’t fall under any national laws.
There’s different therapy dog organizations and air dog’s Paws Reminds as one of those national organizations were recognized by the American Kennel Club.
And therapy dogs go places and they make people smile.
And that’s all they do.
And this is a picture of Mickey on my mom’s lap when my mom was in a nursing home.
For two years, she didn’t talk. But when Nikki would go visit, she would say dog or doggy. So that’s how we got her to at least talk. And we think, too, that she recognized us.
But she loved Niki.
And he always loved to go visit her.
But dawgs therapy dogs help people in hospitals, nursing homes, in libraries, research shows that children who grow up reading to dogs, grow up to be more confident readers.
Any facility wear the presence of a dog.
We’ll help somebody, is where we like to bring therapy gods, our focus at air dogs is we’re in schools.
And I’m going to talk a little bit of them a little bit more about some of the programs that we do.
But it’s amazing that, you know, Dawgs, how they just make people happy.
So I just want to stress, not every dog can be a therapy dog. As a dog trainer. A lot of people show up in class, and they have a dog.
And they’re like, I want my dog to be a therapy dog, and we look at the dog again.
Some dogs have mental health disorders just like human beings do.
Some dogs have anxiety disorder. Some dogs have OCD. No. So we want to make sure that a therapy dog actually enjoys what they’re doing.
We never want to put a dog in a situation where they feel stressed or they feel uncomfortable.
So we want to make sure people recognize the fact that not every dog can be a therapy dog.
So, well, what happens if you want your dog to be of therapy dog? All right, so these are the requirements.
The dog must be at least one year of age.
Dogs, believe it or not, puppies or puppies only until about six months of age and then, from six months, to about 18, to 24 months.
And then after 24 months, then they’re considered adults.
So, you know, we want to make sure that the dog is mature enough.
Some dogs that one year of age, are mature enough, are one little pomeranian, Henry.
He passed his test at one year of age. My other dogs were older.
They were between 2 and 3 before they passed their test.
So the dog must have lived with the handler for at least six months.
And that’s because, if someone rescue’s a dog, you may not know the dog’s true personality right away.
So we want to make sure that the dog has live with the owner for a while and you start, you know, your dog and you’re going to understand whether or not this is something that they’re actually going to enjoy.
Any dog that has a bite history, that seems like common sense, right? Is excluded.
Then, we want to make sure, too, that the dog is all up to date on their health, on their vaccines and that they get an approval by their vet, that they’re healthy in order to go different places.
So, covert has actually changed things a little bit for us, because a lot of the places where we would go, typically with our therapy dogs have shut down.
They’re starting to open up now and we’ve implemented some new rules for visiting with our therapy dog.
Typically, we allow two people padding at a time but now with covert, it’s one person petting at a time, and we’re asking, everybody either use a white right before they touch, or just use some hand sanitizer before they touch.
And then when everybody’s done patting, then we wipe the dog down.
With a rooming wipe, we just want to make sure that we’re keeping everybody safe, including the job.
The, some of the studies have showing that dogs are not, they don’t carry, and they don’t transmit. There were a couple of stir stories early on. But there really hasn’t been any more stories like that.
So some organizations like air dogs, we require that the dog also earns their HVAC canine good citizen certification.
So that’s just one more level of training.
We want to make sure that when dogs go out, no matter where they’re going, that the handler is feeling confident, and that the dog and the handler had this great relationship, where they can go different places, and they can make lots of people smile.
So when we test, when we test with the K nine good citizen test, we’re actually just testing the dog.
But when we do our therapy dog tests, we’re actually testing the dog and the handler together as a team, because we want to make sure that they have this great relationship.
When dogs’ go out on therapy visits, they shouldn’t be concerned about their environment. Their focus should be on their handler.
And it’s this relationship that they developed through training that’s going to allow them to do that.
No, We want them to be able to say hello to people, of course.
But I always give my dogs permission to say hello, so they just don’t go pulling on the leash and jumping up on people, because sometimes we might interact with people who are a little bit nervous around dogs.
So we don’t ever want anyone to be scared of our dogs.
So I always teach them of Go say, hi, Q that they’re able to then go say, hi.
All right, so you always want to make sure that, again, they’re focused on the owner.
The other thing, too, about it’s this relationship of trust, is that I remember I was down the sure I want to event.
It was national, night, out, and the police were there.
And they brought all their equipment, and I didn’t know they had a cannon, and they shot off their cannon. Well, they scared me, and they scared my dog.
My dog looked at me. I looked at him, and we were both able to recover fairly quickly.
And that’s because of this relationship, this bond that we have.
He knew I had his back.
They knew I wasn’t gonna let anything oram him.
And that’s really what we want as dogs go places doing therapy work, because they’re going to be in buildings they’ve never been in before. They’re going to be walking on surfaces. They’ve never walked on before. They’re going to be smelling, smells. They’ve never smell before. They’re going to be hearing things.
You know, and, and just so you dogs don’t generalize.
So, what that means is if you do all your training at home, in your kitchen, or in your family room, and you take your dog to a new environment, it doesn’t translate.
So, a real quick, for instance, Mickie, when we finally did take his his test, I drove an hour and a half north pouring rain to go take his test.
And we were in a brand-new school, and the surface of the floor was completely different than anything we’ve ever been on.
And when I asked them to do a Down’s first thing that they asked us to do, he looked at me and he says, I’m not going down on that. I don’t know what that is.
And they allowed us to go through the rest of the tests. And by the end of the test, he felt comfortable enough with me asking him to go down.
But just because the dog knows something at home, doesn’t mean they’re going to know it in class and happens to us all the time in our dog training classes.
People look at me in class when their dogs are not listening to them. And they’re like, but he doesn’t perfect at home.
It’s because dogs don’t generalize the behaviors, not until we do them over and over and over again, and then we work on getting them to do them in different environments.
All right, so now let’s talk about what type of dog makes a good therapy dog, or support dog.
So, that’s a really broad question.
It can be any breed of dog.
It can be a rescue?
It can be a dog purchased from a breeder.
You know, my dogs, I used the rescue, all of my dogs.
But, now that all my dogs, you have a job and need to go places, I have gotten my list for, I have five dogs now. My last four have come from breeders.
Breeders, where I know the temperament of the parents, and in many cases I know the temperament of the grandparents, um, so that I know when I bring the dog into my home, that they’ll be a good candidate for therapy work.
But, but my dogs previously were rescues and they were also good dogs to do therapy work.
It’s just you have to be, you have to be a little more caught. You have to be cautious.
Because when you rescue a drug, you just don’t know what their story is, and they may be a super therapy dog.
Or they may be that Shai dog or that dog that has anxiety or the dog. Maybe that was never socialized around men.
So they’re afraid of men So you just don’t know but a dog from rescue or a dog from a breeder.
Any breed, as I say, I had a little pitfall.
When I first doing I started doing dog training.
She was not a therapy dog right away.
But, it was funny, because she would watch me as I walked out, every single day with my other dog who was a therapy dog, and she had the sad look on her face.
So, at the age of 13, I certified her, and we would go places, and people would say, Well, what tricks does? she know? And I would say she’s 13! She walks around you, Petr.
That’s, that’s what she does, and she enjoyed it, and she did it for about 2.5 years.
And I, we did looser around.
Just shy of 17, but she, she really enjoyed it and you little people mix Our dog makeup now. I have three little dogs.
I have three Pomeranians, two of them were actually donated to us by a breeder in Texas, who had three children with mental health issues and she wanted to give back.
So, she donated dogs to us with the purpose of them being therapy dogs.
And the little dogs can actually be really nice. We go into schools and say, We talk to kids.
And what you can do is you get them to sit on the floor, you can put a little dog on their lap.
I always keep one hand on my dog so that my dog knows I’m staying connected with them.
But a lot of times kids like the dog on their lap.
Usually when I’m going to visit with older students, high school students. That’s where I bring the little dogs.
When I go visit younger students, Right, little dogs break easy.
So I bring my £60 collie and he lies on the floor and kids can pat him. They can lay on him, you know, and they enjoy him. And I feel he’s, he’s safe.
So depending upon where I go is going to determine which size dog that I bring.
So it’s not really about what type of dog you want to look at the individual dog and figure out, is this job going to be happy doing this work? A lot of times, dogs are just happy being with you.
And if I have to do therapy, weren’t just to be with my own, or well, I’m going to do it. And I’m going to have fun.
So there’s two different types of therapy work that you can do with your dog.
So the first one is referred to as …, or Animal Assisted Activities.
And that’s the Casual, Meet and Greet.
Wear your pet.
You just walk, say, into a hospital or a nursing home, and you go from patient to patient and a pet, and you visit.
So that’s, there’s no goal directive therapy, in that. it’s just, it’s just saying hi to people.
And having people smile when they get to meet your dog.
And then there’s animal assisted therapy, which is becoming more and more popular.
It’s a goal directed intervention by a health professional and the therapy dog is built into as part of the treatment plan.
So here’s my Mickey. So Mickey was the he received our first National Award.
He received an award from the American Kennel Club for the work that we were doing with students. I have to say when he received this award back in 20 11, Dawgs really weren’t going into schools back then.
They were going into nursing homes and hospitals, but we really expanded their visiting ability in schools and partnering them with programs. So I just want to share a little video with you.
So one I want to share with you about that video is at, you may notice that there were a lot of different people holding Mickey.
And I think that’s one of the key things to a good therapy. Dog is just their adaptability.
Yeah, pretty much anyone can hold him, and he doesn’t show any signs of stress or anxiety.
He’s very, very adaptable.
As I said, I think it’s the key to finding a really good therapy dog. And a lot of that comes from him.
He knows I’m not bar and it’s, it’s that relationship.
So he trusts that I’m never going to put him in harm’s way. I’m never going to get, put him in the arms of somebody who I know. It might hurt him.
So after we started working with Nikki, and we started going to schools, we just started seeing more and more of the responses that people had to the dogs. So we knew we wanted to keep growing our programs.
So these are the different programs that we do currently in schools.
Well, not all of them in schools, but the mental wellness program.
We have programs from kindergarten through 12. We also have some programs that we do on college campuses.
We’re also just recently, within the last year, implemented the facility and school therapy dogs.
Because more and more, people are starting to see the benefits that dogs have on children in school. And so, more and more counselors are coming to me.
And I’ll talk a little bit more about our one of the big projects we’re working on right now.
The other thing that’s that we do this has been really bittersweet. It’s been really hard.
When there’s a loss of the student in a school, we are called in to bring the dogs.
And there have been quite a few sadly student deaths.
And I hear it over and over again, that, you know, the counselors are there, Counselors are brought in from outside the district, and then there’s, the students just don’t talk.
And then the dogs come in.
And there’s a whole different atmosphere that the kids will sit on, the floor with the dogs and pet, and then the counselor’s sit on the floor with the dogs and the kids.
And that the grieving process actually starts.
We also do lunch and learns, where we go to businesses. We like to talk, to adults. And our goal was to reach parents. You know, part of the struggles we face.
We do mental health programs for kids.
But how do we educate parents so that they can recognize signs and symptoms?
So we offer our programming to different businesses, and then we bring dogs right, so everybody likes to see is coming in because we have dogs and then the emotional support dog. So as I said earlier, we don’t. we’ve provided a few service dogs.
We’ve done some training, um, right now, all we really commit to is we’ll help people with their dogs to train them to the level of an emotional support dog.
And we don’t promise anything, but we help them do behavioral assessments, and then we help them with training. And, you know, once we see that they’re at a level first. First of all, is that canine citizens, second goals, therapy, dog certification and then final is that EASA certification.
So these are some pictures from our our K through 12 programs, this is Goober, that’s Google, one’s Goober, that’s hardly there.
You can just see all the smiles.
So, we do a program.
for our middle and high schoolers, it’s quot coming up for air.
And we talk about mental health.
We talk about signs and symptoms.
And we talk about statistics, about not getting help, And then we talk about signs of suicide.
And it’s a tough topic.
But what we find is, after the program, the kids have time to pet the dogs.
And they can come up, they talk to the handler’s, they’ve got the dogs.
Very often, young people will share how they’re feeling when they’re interacting with dogs. So we ask all our handlers to be youth mental health, first aid certified. So, if they hear something that might alert them, they can then talk to the counselor and refer the student to the counselor.
We’ve also recognized the fact that suicide rate of those 12 and under has actually doubled in the last 10 years. So we knew we needed to incorporate more programs for younger students. So, we have the Mental Health Toolkit, which we talk about different coping mechanisms.
And one of those is hugging your pet then the last program that we just rolled out.
While Mickie and friends go to school, it’s exploring emotions through the eyes of a dog.
So, what we’re going to do, is we’re gonna go to schools, talk to little ones about dog emotions.
And as a dog trainer, what I’ve learned is that behavior is not much different between a human versus a canine versus a chicken. I went to chicken Camp for a week, and that’s where I, I, the old dawned on me, that behaviors of behavior.
We want to recognize good behavior, warded and then the negative behavior.
We’re either going to ignore it or correct it quickly, and then not dwell on it, and we want to move on.
Those are the programs, every one of our programs.
We bring dogs with us, and I will tell you that we have been told that the retention rate for our coming up for air program in high school and middle school, it can be months where the administrators have told us the typical programming.
That retention rate is maybe two weeks.
But ours is months because they is so that the students associate the material with the dogs.
So this is our school facility dog program.
As I said, we have a couple of dogs that are been certified to work with counselors, but, hope Well, Valley was the student about two years ago, and the superintendent was one of those people who saw the magic that the dogs performed when they came in, to help the kids with their grieving process. So, he approached me, and he, his goal, was to have at least one certified dog on every school campus, every single day.
So six administrators would come every Monday morning at seven o’clock on their own time and we spent time with them and training their dogs and it took a year, But now we have six dogs and they’re all certified.
And we’re now working on the second cohort of eight dogs. So when it’s read to the dog day is doctor Seuss day.
If it’s finals or midterms, or if it’s just, you know, date is to meet a dog, they have teams of dogs now that are always available.
Near the crisis support dogs.
I said, sadly, you know, we’ve been doing too much of this, and we go, not just for the students, but we also go for the staff.
No, There’s a student that’s, that’s boss, staff, very often, no, feel that gilts, you know, what if I had done something, what did I miss?
So, we’re there for them, as well, This is my colleague, … silver lining. You can see how he lays down, I taught him to do his side. He lay on his side while the students are pending him.
So our Lunch and Learns for professionals.
So again, we come in, we do a presentation.
But we bring dogs with us, all right, so everybody loves seeing the Dogs’, it’s really amazing.
I was in one high school, and, know, I heard what a student’s talking and they’re like, oh, there’s dogs, why their dogs in school?
And and then the students said very excitedly, oh, air is here, like they were so excited that there was a mental wellness program in the building because of the jobs.
And that’s what our hope is, is to build up this, you have to have more dogs at school so that kids are just happy.
So that’s it for me. I’m very happy to answer any questions that you might have.
You can reach me at Trisha at air dot NGO, and again, I am happy to answer questions.
OK, thank you very much, Tricia. Thank you for that informative presentation. We’ll take a few questions. So can any breed of dog be a therapy dog?
But as I said, it can.
It’s more dependent upon the individual personality of the dog.
I have three little dogs. I have three pomeranians, I love Pomeranians, I never thought I’d love Little Dogs. But once I had my first one, it’s like, I fell in love with them, but I still love my big dog.
Um, and I do determine based on where I’m going, which dog that I’m bringing with me.
So, really, any any read?
You just, you always want to make sure you understand your dog really well.
Some dogs are super high energy.
and they may not be able to do say, one of our programs was: my dogs will have to sleep in the crate for an hour.
Well, I’m doing my presentation.
And then when I’m done. then they pop up and then they do their interaction with students.
So, if you have a dog that has too much energy, then maybe you are going to say a hospital where you’re always on the move. You don’t stay. And the dog doesn’t have to be quiet.
So, you want to think about where you’re going, and then no, can your dog be able to adjust or, you know, be flexible enough to be able to be either in a hospital or in a school, or no, a library, read to the dog program.
That’s another thing where, you know, we had an hour of reading, well, my rule was, the dog had to be on their Mac quiet, nobody was allowed to touch the dog for 50 minutes, because it was Atta respect.
We wanted to make sure that every student was able to read, and everybody listen. And then when all the reading was done, than the dog was allowed off of their mat and the students were allowed to interact.
So you have to kind of figure out, if you have a dog already, you know, what would your dog like to do?
And then figure out, where would you like to go?
And if you have something in mind, then maybe you can find A match your dog up with what your, your goals are.
OK, and that kind of leads into the next question How do you find a dog that has the right temperament to be a therapy dog?
That’s a really good question and.
So if you are looking for a dog specifically with the purpose of being a therapy dog, there are many dogs and rescues. that could be really lovely dogs.
You may want to consider finding a dog trainer or a behaviorist that can help you identify a dog with the right temperament before you bring the dog home.
The other thing you might have to do, too, is if you bring home a dog, just understand that the dog might present in a way, once they’re home Uncomfortable in a way that may not be conducive to doing therapy work.
So you have to kinda, I guess, lower expectations in the beginning, until you could figure out your dog and whether or not.
It’s, it’s something that your dog is going to enjoy doing.
You can also research through a breeder.
Now, I always tell everybody, there’s good and bad readers, there’s good and bad rescue’s. So you want to make sure you, wherever you get your dog from, you’re doing your research.
You know, I, I know all of my readers.
I have relationships with them, you know, before I bring home a dog. Like I said, those two little palms that were donated to us.
I had been talking to that Brita for three years on Facebook.
And we had a lovely relationship, and I knew all of her dogs and I never met them.
I knew them all, I follow them on Facebook and I followed her stories and I trusted her.
I think that’s really key is that you build up a relationship with somebody where you trust, again, I know people in certain rescue’s.
I have wonderful relationships with them and I trust them so that this way I can, I would send anybody to them to find a dog because they’re going to be honest.
You know what I saw happening since the pandemic I don’t know if everyone knows this but everybody got a puppy during the pandemic everybody where they rescued a dog.
And what that led to was a shortage of dogs in need of homes.
And so, sadly, I know of at least 12 dogs that were put in homes that shouldn’t have been put in homes.
It was wanted to.
We’re aggressive, and, but a couple of the other ones just needed to be in a home where people knew dogs as opposed to putting them with somebody who had never had a dog before.
But some dogs have, if they don’t have a strong leader, they’re going to become the leader.
So, So, just do your homework See, if you can come up, you know, develop a relationship with someone, whether it be through a rescue or, You know, a breeder. If you have an idea of the type of dog that you like.
And, You know, and somebody who you can trust, know, Rescue’s, like I, I work a lot with the Trenton.
Oh, my gosh, I can’t think of it. It’s easel, I’m sorry, Ewing Animal Shelter.
And what’s nice about edo it is that every Saturday morning, they do a training session.
And you can go up there every Saturday morning and you can watch every dog. And you can meet every dog. And you can go back week to week and you can start to build a relationship with the dog before you decide to bring the dog home.
The other thing that some rescue’s or shelters do is they allow you to foster before you actually adopt the dog. So, you foster the dog, you bring the dog in to your home and you start to figure out the personality of the dog.
And if you think it might be a good fit, then, you know, you adopt the dog and it becomes part of your family. And then you go off on your therapy dog journey.
But just understand, it can be any The individual dog is what we’re looking at.
So it could be any breed, any size dawg, no rescue, or breder.
OK, thank you. So it sounds like a lot of, it has to do with kind of Z, I believe you said in the beginning, so that, the relationship between the dog and they know, and the owner finding that kind of, right.
So I have a couple more questions. It seems like a lot of what you do is in schools, But you did mentioned that. You go to other settings as well. Is there any particular age that is more sort of responsive to emotional support animals or therapy dogs? Or is this something that’s kind of effective across the board?
Yeah, I find it’s universal, You know, whether I’m there with little kids or whether I’m there with the staff.
No, we go to help staff.
I also have volunteered at the Penn Medicine Hospital, and we did a lot for the staff.
Because there’s a lot of greif, there’s a lot of heartbreak in some of the departments, and we would go, I would go to the OB department, just for staff, not for patients, but just for staff.
Um, because this, this relationship, they just, They make you feel good. It’s just something.
Well, the research, you know, shows all these chemicals get released when you interact with the dog and they just make you feel better. So, you can have a really horrible day and then you interact with the dog for a few minutes, and it does make you feel better.
OK, yeah, I think that’s an important point, again, that, that, that you raised earlier, that, there is, there’s really a, there’s a physiological response that occurs. that.
that, you know, that, that is, in part, creates the impact that these animals have was with people. Then, I think, one last question, how long does it take to train a dog to be a service dog, or to get them sort of ready to be a therapy dog?
OK, so now that’s two different things, alright, so just, service dog is, is very different.
It could, it will take years to do a service dog.
Therapy dog is easier.
Remember a service dog has full public access and is trained, task trained to work to mitigate a disability.
So, it, it can take, I would, say, at least 2 to 3 years to fully train a service dog, and then there has to be time for that, the handler to be trained, and then they work together For therapy dogs. Again, it depends upon the individual dog like my little Henry, Palm, Chester. He, at one year of age, he took his test. He passed. He was good.
The other dogs were between 2 and 3, so you have you want to let the dog mature.
Henry just was born, an old little old man, and that’s why he’s has always been very mature.
Ann, um, it takes.
And again, this is very individualized.
You know, if people are going to work with their dogs every day, especially when they’re young, it’s going to happen faster.
If they’re working with them maybe every couple of days, and they’re not really working with them, it’s obviously going to take a lot longer.
You know, and every dog is an individual.
Some dogs love to train some dogs.
Remember, I said earlier, some dogs will have, might have ADHD. I’m convinced dogs have 80.
Some of them have ADHD where they have a really hard time focusing on on the handler, and it can take time for them to mature and grow out of that.
Sometimes it might take a really long time, and then some dogs may never grow out of that.
But I want to say it between a year to two years is a good amount of time to expect to train your dog, to do therapy work.
Just remember, six months, they’re no longer puppies six to approximately 18 to 24 months. They’re teenagers.
And then, between that 18 to 24 months, they become adults.
They become more mature depending upon the breed and the individual dog.
You know, so around that age is where I would say, as long as you continue with your training, you will be able to get them within the time.
Now, the dogs that I’m working with, and hope, the valley and the school dogs, it’s about a year that we do, but the dogs that are coming to me have had some sort of training previously.
So, we’re not starting no completely from scratch, and we’re not starting with little puppies that are, you know, bouncing all over the place. So, they’re mature dogs with a little bit of training under their belts, but it takes about a year.
OK, Great. Well, thank you very much. I think that’s all the questions we have for tonight. Thank you very much again, Tricia. We appreciate your, your being here tonight presentation. We think everybody else for attending. And I’m going to turn it over to Kelly again just to wrap up the evening.
Hey, we have 1, 1 submission more where the woman says, I currently have a seeing eye puppy that I have raised and is now a certified therapy dog.
He works with students at my school, since I am a teacher, and he has C, G, C, are there any other tests that I should look into for him?
Yeah, well, I would also just double-check insurance.
So there’s a lot of therapy to most therapy dog organizations do not cover.
The therapy do it when they go to work.
So make sure you’re covered by insurance. Maybe your school is covering you by insurance.
So, just, as I said, I would check that out because you wouldn’t want something to happen and then find that no one’s covering you with insurance.
Um, you know, if you wanted to do more, that we only require the first level, the CDC and then the therapy test.
But there’s additional we like to do trick training with the dogs because what we find is all kids love to see dogs do tricks. So we do the trick title with the dogs, there’s different There’s the community canine good citizen.
There’s, there’s a couple C G C levels that if you wanted to do more training, you could, but no, we only require that those to get, I don’t know what your school requires. No, This is very individualized.
And you know, a lot of it’s, it’s depending upon what your school is looking for.
Great. Terrific. Thank you.
Thank everyone for joining our webinar Air Therapy: Dogs Pause for Mines. There is an exit survey, which we need everyone attending to fill out. The webinar blog is open now and available for the next seven days on end JCT’s website for any additional questions that were not covered in tonight’s presentation. That website is WWW dot … and J C T S dot org. Also, an archived recording of tonight’s webinar will be posted to the site.
Our next presentation, non medical Treatment of Ticks, an Overview of Cognitive Behavioral Intervention Therapy and the wreckers Tourette Syndrome Clinic will be presented by the Clinic Director, doctor Graham Harkey and is scheduled for October 21st, 2020. Thank you. This ends tonight’s webinar.
Thank you, Tricia, for your presentation. Thank you.
Thank you, everyone, for attending tonight.