©2015-2019 Caring Canines Therapy Dogs of Southern Vermont, Inc.

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Guidelines for Caring Canines Therapy Dog Club Handlers

  • Caring Canines Therapy Dog Club (CCTDC) is a non-profit organization.  Therefore, CCTDC registered dogs will not accept fees or compensation for therapy dog visits or for the personal financial gain of any member.

 

  • All dogs must be currently listed with Caring Canines Therapy Dog Club and handlers must wear their photo identification badge.

 

  • Handlers must have control over their dogs at all times.

 

  • All rules of the facility must be followed.

 

  • Do not interfere with the normal activity of the facility.

 

  • Handlers must check in with staff or supervisor when they visit.  Where relevant, ask if there are any residents you cannot visit.

  • If another team is visiting a person, please wait until the other team has moved away before you approach with your dog.

 

  • Handlers should avoid wearing perfumes/colognes.  Residents can be very sensitive to smells.

 

  • Be mindful that some people are afraid of or allergic to dogs.  Keep your dog close so that you do not surprise such people in hallways or rooms.

 

  • Always ask the resident’s permission before you visit with them or take your dog into their room.  Before entering a room, ask the resident if a therapy dog would be welcome.

 

  • Keep your dog close in order to avoid walkers, wheelchairs, canes and tubing.  A dog entangled in such equipment can do harm to the resident and itself.

 

  • Be aware of the resident’s physical condition so your dog will not be put into a position that could cause them harm.

 

  • Some residents are frail and may have brittle bones and sensitive skin.  Take care that you and your dog cause no injury.

 

  • Be aware of your surroundings and potential dangers.  Residents can grab collars, pinch skin, or squeeze feet/ears, etc., causing pain or discomfort for your dog.

 

  • When visiting a resident’s room, limit to one dog per room at a time.

 

  • If it is necessary to move a bed table, walker, phone, chair, etc. for your dog to be patted, always return items to their original place.

 

  • A handler must handle ONE dog at a time.  In other words, if you have two certified therapy dogs, you may only bring one in at a time.

 

  • Keep your dog’s nose off the floor.  One never knows what might be down there.

 

  • Be prepared with proper material to quickly clean up after your dog if it unexpectedly vomits, urinates, or defecates within the facility or on the grounds of the facility.

 

  • Respect residents’ confidentiality.  Do not discuss any personal or health information you may learn about someone you have visited.

 

  • Go with the residents’ needs in mind; be there to listen to them.  Often, asking if they have had pets is a good way to start a conversation.

 

  • Encourage residents, their family members and visitors, as well as facility staff, to pat your dog.  Many are dog lovers who miss their own pets and would benefit from touching the fur of a friendly dog.

 

  • Take the opportunity to educate interested observers about the value of therapy dogs to the emotional and physical health of residents.

 

  • Always wash hands, or use a hand sanitizer, before and after visits.  This is wise in order to prevent carrying something into, or out of, a facility.

 

  • Whether or not to let your dog accept treats is a personal choice.  However, please be VERY aware of how gentle your dog is when doing so.  If there is any chance that your dog might catch a finger with its teeth or grab the food in earnest, consider taking the treat from the resident to give to the dog yourself.

 

  • When making visits, please turn off your cell phone!  It is a distraction to being able to work with your dog safely and it is a common courtesy to the people we visit.

 

  • Remember that you are your dog’s advocate and observe its needs.  If your dog appears hot, tired, or otherwise stressed or uninterested, take your dog out of the situation and revisit at another time. 

 

  • Keep in mind that not all dogs are equally comfortable in all situations and that preferences may change as your dog ages.  Being alert to finding the best match for your dog and clients will promote a positive experience for all.