Photobucket Photobucket Therapy dogs spread happiness, love, and cheer to people who otherwise might be lonely, sad or slow to heal. This is the journey of Cayman, a longhair miniature dachshund and his journey and experiences visiting becoming a therapy dog.

Did you know that pet visits often spark good memories of a person's own pets? Dogs often can reach people and children who have withdrawn from the world. It's been suggested by science that petting a dog can lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety and stress, and promote healing.



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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Soft Claws, Rally and New Obedience Classes

I found the coolest thing online. I have seen these Soft Claws in the past but never really thought about how beneficial they would be, especially for a therapy dog. They are these soft caps that are glues onto a dog (or cat's) nail to dull the sharp edges to protect floors, people, doors, and even from scratching themselves (think hotspots or itchy skin that is irritated already). When you have a therapy dog, they are expected to be well behaved and not jump on people but you always worry in the back of your mind that one day, your dog is going to scratch the patient and that does not make for a pleasurable experience, one of the main reasons for having the dog visit the patient in the first place. I decided I would definitely get these for Cayman even before he begins his therapy work. He is still a rambunctious puppy and we are still working with him to not jump on people, especially on Shaylee, our two year old daughter. Even though he is not broken the skin, since me manage to keep his nails at a reasonable length, they still can leave ugly marks down your legs. So I have a rep from the company sending me a sample nail cap in black, clear and blue- the only colors I was considering (I am still unsure of the blue…) in the two sizes I think he would wear. This way I can see the product up close and try one on him. Perhaps I will even get them for the cat (who really, really needs them) and Zoey (she’d look great in the pink ones). I noticed that Petsmart carries them on their website to be ordered online so I will have to be smart and look into whether it’s more affordable to buy them at the store (if available) or order online, and if so, which website has the best deal on them.

I also discovered that certain organizations are eligible to receive tax deductions, such as some therapy dog groups. And when I searched the IRS website, I was delighted to see that Therapy Dogs Incorporated was included (strangely Delta Society was not or at least I could not find them)! So I started a spreadsheet of everything I am (have) bought for Cayman that is therapy dog related for tax purposes. So far I got my “The Canine Good Citizen- Every Dog Can Be One” book as a material item, and Cayman’s “Therapy Dog in Training” bandana listed as supplies. I may or may not be able to use them towards my tax deductions but I would rather have it all together, just in case. And if nothing else, it’s a good way to see how much I am spending to go this, since I can get a little over my head when I have my heart set on something. I think I am going to put my dog training classes on there as well (not the Petco puppy training class since that is more just dog ownership related) as well as the mileage used to get to the training classes and when he actually begins working as a therapy dog- the mileage to get to the establishments we are visiting (you can deduct the cost of driving at a rate of $.14 per mile), and of course the Soft Claws (equipment).

Speaking of dog training classes… Nils, my husband, has agreed to treat me (and Cayman of course) to dog obedience classes with our local AKC dog club- the Dog Obedience Club of Lee County (DOCLC) for Christmas. The class that we will be attending starts January 7th. It’s a 6 weeks for $60, every Wednesday night, in which he will learn the basics of obedience, a step above what he learned already at the Petco course. He is also going to attend the intermediate obedience classes which are $20 for 20 weeks of training in which he will learn a lot of what’s covered in the CGC certification tests as well as Rally. For that price, you can’t beat that! And I have seen the dog’s in action at this past weekend’s Responsible Dog Ownership Day- the dog’s are geniuses and so obedient!

And the best part of the DOCLC is that after you complete the 20 week intermediate course, you can apply for membership with DOCLC and pay only $30 a year in membership fees and get to go and train at the club as often as you like for no charge! And with what you learn in the classes, you can go on to competitions of the various dog sports and win titles and prizes! What fun!

Rally. That’s another subject I would LOVE to get Cayman into as it looks like such fun! It’s a dog sport in which the dog and handler complete a course of exercise stations. The dog and handler can complete them at their own pace and the scoring is not as rigorous as traditional obedience trials. Plus the handlers are allowed to praise, talk, and encourage their dogs. Rally is an excellent link from the CGC program to obedience or agility competitions. Plus Cayman could earn titles like Rally Novice (RN), Rally Advanced (RA), Rally Excellent (RE), and Rally Advanced Excellent (RAE)! The woman that runs the DOCLC said Cayman would be excellent at it.

Oh and I almost forgot, Zoey finally got her haircut. She looks like a real poodle now. The only problem is Cayman tends to play a little rough with her. He is so used to that big plush coat to grab onto when he plays and now its gone. She has in more than one occasion got nipped a bit too hard when playing, so we are working on that. Cayman is at that bratty stage where he torments the other dogs to constantly play with him.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Soft Claws for Dogs (and Cats) are sold online at ~~ We carry all sizes and all colors! ~~ We have many 'special needs' dogs that wear the nail caps. They are very useful for doxi owners, should they ever experience back or nerve damage. When a dog is forced to drag their hind feet, it wears their nails down to the quick. Soft Claws nail caps PROTECTS the nail, and stops the pain! ~~ In addition, they help with traction on hardwood floors and also protect the floors finish.