Q. What’s the best way to socialise my puppy?
Q. Will my dog have Public Access rights upon completion of the course?
A. No, unfortunately not. There is no legislation to support Therapy Dogs sitting the Public Access Test. Your dog will not need to gain public access, and we strongly discourage people from using their Therapy Dogs Australia therapy coat to attempt to take their dog into public access places.
Q. Do you train assistance/service/companion dogs?
A. No, we don’t. Search your state government websites for a list of approved trainers.
Q. Which course is right for me – Community or Clinical?
A. The Clinical Course is designed for Bachelor Trained professionals within either the Health or Education industries. The clinical course focuses on Animal-Assisted Interventions, clinical case discussion and a focus on current research. Therefore a high standard of prior clinical training is a must.
The Community Course is designed for all other persons who want to train their dog to a high standard and receive extensive knowledge about Animal-Assisted Activities, including all ethical and legal topics, canine welfare and Human-Animal Bond. The Community Course is suitable for non-bachelor trained counsellors, disability support workers and community volunteers (for nursing homes, hospital & school visits).
Q. What are you looking for in a Therapy Dog?
A. We are looking for dogs that are happy, healthy, friendly, confident and interested in being around people. Your dog must want to be a therapy dog. Therefore, we need to see that they are happy, confident, and interested in being around new people. Regarding their behaviours, we can help you train or manage most behaviours during the course (you do not need to bring an already trained dog to the course, we train them with you!). However, some issues will need longer than 5 to 6 days to overcome, including aggression and high anxiety. If you are unsure about your dogs’ suitability, please contact us for a pre-course assessment (we can do these via Skype if required).
Q. What are you looking for in a Therapy Dog Handler?
A. We are looking for handlers who can display confidence in handling their dog in various situations. Handlers need to be quick-thinking and able to apply previously learned information to problem-solve novel situations. We are looking for handlers interested in building AAT into a professional and ethical field that is considerate of the welfare of clients and canines, working together. AAT is more complicated than just “bringing my dog to work” and costly! If this is your driving force, we may not be the training company for you.
Q. What age should I train my dog?
A. We accept dogs into our courses from 9 months of age; however, dogs that graduate at younger than 12 months old will graduate as ‘learners’.
We train young dogs to help the dog and handler get off to the best start, with the skills and information they need to be a great therapy team. The reason teams graduate as ‘learners’ acknowledges that dogs will need ongoing training and assessment. We recommend that ‘learner’ dogs attend facilities (such as nursing homes) and workplaces. However, dog and handler teams should not be solely responsible for a client’s wellbeing, in a clinical sense (e.g. psychologist and dog working together with a client), until the team can work together confidently without being distracted by each other.
We re-assess learner teams when the dog turns 12 months old.
Q. Why should I do this training when there is no regulation in this industry?
A. It is important to us that as this industry grows, it is heading in the right direction. We aim to ensure that employers and clients can be confident that their human-canine therapy team has been trained appropriately and assessed to be safe. We keep a database of therapy teams so that clients and employers can look up what level of training that their therapy team has acquired. Further, it is crucial for most insurance providers that your dog has had an “appropriate” amount of training for inclusion on your certificate of currency. We also believe that creating a network of animal-assisted therapist graduates who are invited to attend peer supervision days (with their therapy dogs) will provide a level of support that may not be otherwise available to you.
Particularly for clinicians who are registered with governing bodies and need to be working within their scope of practice, you must have received some form of training in AAT before offering this service to your clients. It is also essential that pet dogs taken to the workplace without training and are not misconstrued as ‘Therapy Dogs’.
Q. How often will I need to be re-assessed, and why?
A. The frequency of your re-assessment depends on your dog’s age at the time of their initial training and their graduation level. We also take into account the individual ability of each human-canine team throughout the five and six-day courses. Teams who require more support will have an earlier re-assessment date. We re-assess dogs to promote ongoing training and safe and reliable canine-handler teams in the workplace, allowing our clients and referees to feel safe and confident working with TDA dogs. Typically, dogs will be re-assessed every 12 months; this can be done by video submission if required by interstate graduates.
Q. What happens if I am not re-assessed?
A. Your graduation certificate will expire on your re-assessment date. Therapy teams who have not been re-assessed at their due time may be removed from our referral database. We will be making it as manageable as possible to sit these re-assessments both financially and in terms of convenience, which is why they are available at our Group Training and re-assessment days. We will also do our best to make arrangements for our interstate attendees.
Q. Can I attend Group Training and Supervision without having participated at the five & six-day courses?
A. No, these days are reserved for TDA graduates (graduates of other similar training companies may be able to re-assess with us, please contact us to find out).
Q. Can I book individual supervision/training without having attended the 5/6-day course?
A. Absolutely. Samantha is also a board-approved supervisor and is available for secondary supervision for 4+2 or 5+1 provisional psychologists.
We haven’t answered your question? Please contact us!