Therapy Dogs International Testing Part 10Posted: February 8, 2012
TEST 10: REACTION TO MEDICAL EQUIPMENT (this is NOT part of the Canine Good Citizen test)
The dog must be tested around medical equipment (such as wheelchairs, crutches, canes, walkers, or other devices which would ordinarily be found in a facility) to judge the dog’s reactions to common health care equipment.
For some dogs seeing medical equipment and/or people moving in a manner they are not accustomed to is no big deal. For others they may be afraid. So it’s definitely a good idea to expose your dog to as many things as possible before testing. Ideally look for a dog training facility around you that has access to a variety of medical equipment. If there isn’t such a place, you’ll have to be more ingenious, perhaps checking with a local retirement facility to see if they would let you and your dog come observe people’s comings and goings. Some institutions are very strict about TDI compliance, while others are not so much so. You will want to make sure your dog is very solid in all other aspects of the testing before you even make this kind of request.
If your dog shows any concern about the equipment make sure you have lots of tasty treats and start feeding your dog as soon as he sees the equipment. You’ll approach this the same way as I suggested introducing the vacuum cleaner in Test 9 — desensitization and counter conditioning. As you proceed, if you can actually get the person using the equipment to toss your dog a treat all the better!
One thing to watch out for — many a dog has fallen in love with the tennis balls that may be attached to the bottom of a walker! If you have a tennis ball crazy dog you will need to train an excellent “leave it”. That training will be covered in our next session.
Good luck 🙂