Therapy Dogs International Testing Part 2

Today’s installment:


This exercise is a natural progression from Test 1 Accepting the Friendly Stranger. Now that your dog can handle the approach of a new person without jumping up we will move to having the stranger pat your dog. The friendlier the dog, the more difficult this can be.

I suggest one of two approaches, perhaps starting with the 1st and phasing into the second.

Phase 1 — the handler will hold a bit of food at the dog’s mouth which he can nibble on while the stranger starts to pat the side of his face and lightly touch his back. Note: most dogs do not like it when someone puts their hand over the dog’s head in preparation for petting them on the head. So start with petting the side of the dog’s face instead, gradually working toward the top of the head pat.
The distraction created by the food is often enough to keep the dog from jumping on the stranger.

Phase 2 — if the dog’s been taught to target your hand (touch) then the handler can ask the dog to “touch” his hand as the stranger ever so briefly pets him. Gradually increasing the duration of the touch & petting. Again, the touching gives the dog something else to focus on other than the approaching stranger. Gradually phase out the hand target.

Let me k now if you need me to review the targeting and touch exercises.

Good luck 🙂



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