Polish Lowland Sheepdog - pons - pon the dog






PON du MON BIJOU, Switzerland

  Breeder: Sabine Holdorf.





 Is your PON a good candidate for therapy work ?

Does your PON have a gentle disposition? Is he well socialized ?Would you consider him to be a cuddle bug or a people pleaser? If so, he may be an excellent candidate for therapy work. Therapy dogs bring joy and physical contact to those in need including children, the elderly and the sick or chronically ill. Therapy dog work is emotionally rewarding, gives back to the community and forms a strong bond between people and your PON. However, be aware that a certain amount of preparation is involved. Before starting on this path with your PON, you should consider your PON's personality as well as your level of commitment to training,  rules and regulations, and the type of work you plan to do in your community.

You should start your therapy dog goals with an honest evaluation of your PON. Training can help to modify behavior problems, but it is difficult to change the overall temperament of an individual PON. If you are going to be successful in therapy work you should have a strong bond with your PON who should also be well-socialized, outgoing and enjoy being around people. If your PON is shy with new people in general,  he may upset the people you wish to help with your therapy work. Your PON should also tend to be calm and not react with to sudden noises he may encounter  in hospitals or Senior assisted facilities. Any dog who jumps at people upon greeting them is not suitable for therapy work.

You should consider your individual commitment to therapy work because you will need to commit to a training program and depending on his current level of training this could involve a significant amount of work over several weeks or even months. Basic and intermediate obedience classes will be necessary to ensure proper behavior on therapy visits. Extended sits, stays and long downs will be necessary in the course of therapy work. Patients will want to pet your PON and sometimes give him big hugs. Your PON will need to be trained to handle these behaviors with consistency and patience. If you are unable to train your PON to meet certain standards, you will need to seek professional assistance from therapy associations.

Further, you will have to go through the process of becoming certified and obtaining insurance and other items. In order to become certified, your PON must take and pass a test administered by a recognized therapy dog organization. Different organizations have different requirements, but you will most likely need to register with one of these organizations to gain credibility and to have access to certain materials needed to complete therapy work. There is typically a fee involved to register and you will most likely be required to obtain liability insurance just in case. Some services include insurance in their fee structure while others do not so you will need to do your homework.

You will be ready to begin your work with training, testing, paperwork and certification. If you are a member of a therapy dog association then you might consider checking with them regarding places currently in need of therapy dogs. If there are no opportunities in your area then you might consider calling local hospitals and other facilities to promote your services. Inform local health care administrators of the many benefits associated with canine therapy. This type of therapy is unique in that it increases confidence and self esteem, decreases anxiety, brightens spirits, lowers heart rate and blood pressure and provides unconditional love to its recipients. Patients in critical care situations will not feel judged  by therapy dogs regardless of their health or appearance and will respond to the positive touch therapy provides to them.
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Canine Therapy Organizations




  Therapy Dogs International http://www.tdi-dog.org
A national registrar. Provides qualified handlers and their therapy dogs for visits. Training and testing programs.
  Fidos for Freedom, Inc. http://www.fidosforfreedom.org/
Fidos for Freedom is a volunteer assistance dog training organization in Baltimore. Includes information about volunteering, and service, hearing and therapy dogs.
  Furry Friends Pet Assisted Therapy Services http://www.furryfriends.org/
Delivering the love and affection of volunteers and their pets to enhance lives and reopen closed emotional doors of people with special needs. Where they go. How to help. San Jose, CA.
  Therapy Dogs Inc. - Helping People Nationwide http://www.therapydogs.com/
A national registrar. Helps dog owners use their pets for therapy work. Qualifications of therapy dogs. How to have a safe visit.
  Healing Dogs http://www.healinghelp.org/
Describes the psychological healing and support provided by service dogs, especially companion golden retrievers. Included are true stories and a psychology contest named "You vs Your Dog".
  Animal-Assisted Therapy & Activities http://www.animaltherapy.net
A guide to resources about pet therapy, courses, and the links between animal abuse, domestic violence and child abuse.
  Intermountain Therapy Animals http://www.therapyanimals.org/
Non-profit organization bringing animal resources to human needs. Specializing in animal-assisted therapy in the areas of physical, occupational, speech and psychotherapies.
  Pet Therapy Society of Northern Alberta http://www.pettherapysociety.com
Training, support, and coordination of volunteers and companion animals for animal-assisted therapy and animal-assisted activity. Offers visitation in healthcare settings, activity programs for clients with disabilities and literacy program for children.
  Dog Play http://www.dogplay.com/Activities/Therapy/therapy.html
Taking pets, especially dogs, visiting people in health care facilities; therapy ranges from mental and physical stimulation; petting the dogs, formal supervised therapy addressing a particular situation.
  Project Pooch at MacLaren Correctional Facility http://www.pooch.org
When incarcerated youth offenders train homeless dogs, both get a new leash on life. In Woodburn, Oregon.
  Pets on Wheels of Prince George's County, Maryland http://www.pgpetsonwheels.org
A non-profit organization dedicated to providing friendly pet visitation for residents and senior citizens of nursing care facilities. Events, volunteers, and donations.
  Hand-In-Paw http://www.handinpaw.org/
Provides registered Delta Society Pet Partner teams as therapeutic tools in medical, social service, and educational settings. An Alabama non-profit.
  Personal Ponies Ltd. http://www.personalponies.org/
This non-profit provides miniature Shetland ponies to terminally ill or disabled children. Active in most U.S. states.
  People and Animal Learning Services http://www.palstherapy.org
PALS, Inc. is a therapeutic riding program for children and adults with disabilities.
  TherapyPets - California http://www.therapypets.org/
Non-profit promotes animal assisted therapy. Benefits both the volunteer and those visited. Oakland, California.
  Pacific Animal Therapy Society http://www.island.net/~patspets
Pet visitations improve the wellbeing of the sick, elderly, lonely and shut-ins. P.A.T.S pets come in all shapes and sizes. While most are dogs, P.A.T.S. therapy pets include cats, rabbits, birds, goats, even a llama, a miniature horse, and a snake.
  The Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs http://www.golden-dogs.org
Non-profit organization evaluates, tests, trains, qualifies, and supports therapy dogs for the purpose of giving loving and empathic support in a variety of facilities where emotional service dogs are indispensable. Qualified members receive benefits including primary accident and liability insurance within the U.S. and Canada, therapy dog equipment, post card mailings, and quarterly newsletters.
  Jackie's List http://www.therapypets.com/
A directory of Animal Assisted Therapy programs and services. Site is in Fargo, North Dakota, but the list covers all of the United States.
  Utah Animal-Assisted Therapy Association http://www.uaata.com/
Non-profit organization based in Salt Lake City dedicated to bringing comfort, love, and hope to those in need through the miracle of the human-animal bond.
  Dog Visitation Program Overview, Children's Hospital Medical Center of Cincinnati http://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/volunteer/dog/
The Children's Hospital Medical Center of Cincinnati Dog Visitation program recruits, screens, and trains teams of volunteer dogs and their handlers to visit pediatric patients.
  Therapy Dogs http://www.dogplay.com/Activities/Therapy/therapyl.html
Links to therapy dogs, animal-assisted therapy, and animal-assisted services, from Dog-Play.
  North Star Foundation http://www.northstardogs.com/
A nonprofit that breeds, trains, and places golden retrievers with children who have developmental disabilities, autism, physical challenges, or emotional problems.
  Denver Pet Partners http://www.denverpetpartners.org
Training and evaluations for people and their pets interested in animal-assisted activities and therapy. Affiliated of Delta Society.
  Therapet Animal Assisted Therapy Foundation http://www.therapet.org/
Non-profit to facilitate use of animals in healing and rehabilitation of acute and chronically ill individuals. Education of volunteers, animals, and health care professionals.
  Dog-Play: Joining a Therapy Dog Group http://www.dogplay.com/Activities/Therapy/join.html
Finding someone to certify your dog is often a frustrating experience. The evaluations offered by the national organizations aren't always as frequent and convenient as you might like.
  Happy Tails Pet Therapy http://www.happytailspets.org/
Paws that Heal. What they do and how to volunteer. Atlanta, Georgia.
  Visiting Pet Program http://www.visitingpetprogram.org/
A New Orleans non-profit. Hospital and nursing home visits by a variety of mix-breed and pedigreed dogs and cats, guinea pigs, and rabbits. All animals have been temperament tested during Pet and Handler Evaluation Days.
  Dreamworkers, Inc. http://www.dogsaver.org/dreamworkers/
Helps dog and cat owners in the Atlanta area to volunteer their pets for animal assisted therapy and activity. Also helps find service dog volunteers.
  Visits to the Elderly from Active Therapy Visiting Dogs http://www.globalideasbank.org/site/bank/idea.php?ideaId=1212
The loneliness of the terminally ill and elderly is relieved by visits from approved dogs. The health benefits of pets. Over 4500 volunteers in the United Kingdom.
  Potential Benefits of Animal Assisted Therapy for Children with Special Needs http://www.kidneeds.com/diagnostic_categories/articles/animalassistedtherapy.htm
For children with special needs, the ability to interact with a dog, cat, or other furry friend can have a very positive impact upon their quality of life.
  Pets on Wheels, Fairfax http://www.fpow.org/
Volunteers and their pets provide pet therapy to improve the quality of life of area nursing home residents. Fairfax, Virginia.
  Caring Canines: Boston Pet Therapy Program http://www.caringcanines.org/
Typical visit to nursing home is four to six dogs in a community room. Other programs include a crises response team. Pictures of the animals and friends. Visiting Therapy Dogs, Inc.
  Service Dogs for Victims of Assault http://www.dogsaver.org/sdva/
Non-profit organization which uses dogs as therapeutic aids for victims of assault. Includes information about the dogs used and their training.
  Bark Avenue on Parade - Therapy Dogs http://www.barkavenue.org/
Provides certification and training to dog and handler teams as well as continuing education regarding animal assisted therapy. A non-profit charitable organization in St Paul - Minneapolis, Minnesota.
  Oklahoma Dog Programs http://www.dogprograms.com
Combines three sites. American Dog Obedience: school for therapy dogs and handlers. Reaching People Through Dogs: for educators, health care professionals, and volunteers around the US. Petworks in Progress: non-profit group of therapy dog volunteers in central Oklahoma.
  National Capital Therapy Dogs, Inc. http://www.nctdinc.org/
The Caring Canines: offers Animal-Assisted Activities (AAA) and Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) services, primarily to health care facilities in Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and surrounding areas. How to volunteer. How to have them visit a facility.
  Nationwide Therapy Dog Listings and More http://www.landofpuregold.com/rxb.htm
Articles about training visiting dogs and the benefits of pet therapy. Links to many groups in the U.S. and Canada and other resources.
  Companion Animal Association of Arizona http://www.caaainc.org/socialpettherapy.htm
Their social pet therapy program includes training and qualification for volunteers and their animals. Phoenix, Arizona.
  Paws With A Purpose http://www.pawswithapurpose.org
Non-profit pet therapy organization in Asheville North Carolina provides dogs to schools, hospitals, and retirement homes.
  Tails of Joy - Animal Assisted Therapy http://www.tailsofjoy.org
Provides therapeutic benefit to challenged people through the use of animals. Support and training in pet therapy. Connecticut. Volunteers certified by Delta Society Pet Partners or Therapy Dogs International.
  Nose-to-Nose http://www.nose-to-nose.com/
Book about a therapy dog in the United States, as well as general information about this form of training and service.
  Comfort Caring Canines Therapy Dogs, Inc. http://www.comfortcaringcanines.org/
Caring volunteers share the love of their canine campanions with others. Visits seniors, children, and hospitals in southeastern PA, NJ, DE, and MD area. How to socialize a puppy for later therapy dog work.
  animaLINK http://www.animalink.com
Michigan non-profit that works to improve lives through beneficial human-animal interactions. Program areas include therapeutic, companion, and working animal services.
  Pets on Wheels, Charles County http://www.ccpetsonwheels.com/
Arranges for volunteers and their pets to visit residents of nursing homes and provide pet facility therapy. Emphasis on patients with impaired cognitive abilities. Charles County, Maryland.
  Pals on Paws http://palsonpaws.org
A Minnesota chapter of (TDI) Therapy Dogs International in the northwest suburbs of the Twin Cities. Trained dogs and partners cheer patients and staff at local hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, and other facilities.
  Alternative Solutions in Long Term Care http://www.activitytherapy.com/pet.htm
Animal Assisted and Pet Therapy Web Site for long term care. Information on how to set up a pet therapy clubs with children Also government regulations, nursing home information, links and resources to get you started in pet therapy.
  Prescription Pet Program http://www.thechildrenshospital.org/give/volunteer/pet.aspx
RxPets dog assisted therapy started in 1984 by Children's Hospital and Denver Area Veterinary Medical Society. Almost half the inpatients at The Children's Hospital are offered a dog visit every day.
  Pets on Wheels http://www.petsonwheelsscottsdale.com/
A pet visitation therapy program serving some 16 health care centers in Scottsdale, AZ. The benefits of visits. How to start a similar program. Some members teach pet care to second graders.
  Dog B.O.N.E.S. http://www.therapydog.info
A network of Massachusetts therapy dog volunteers. How to get involved. Getting your dog certified. Links to sites in Massachusetts seeking therapy dog visits.
  Central Ohio Good Shepherds http://www.centralohiogoodshepherds.com/
COGS: Therapy dogs visit institutions, facilities, and other locations in the Columbus Metropolitan area. A TDI chapter. Photo gallery and a list of facilities.
  Helping Hounds Ltd. http://www.helpinghounds.org/
These greyhound owners share their hounds with the community through health care facility visits, research, education, and art. Animals can improve the quality of life at all levels of society. Memphis, TN.
  Pet Therapy, Pets and Stress Relief http://www.holistic-online.com/stress/stress_pet-therapy.htm
Therapeutic use of pets for a wide variety of patients. Animals provide comfort and bring out our nurturing instinct. They make us feel safe and unconditionally accepted. We can just be ourselves.
  DOGTORS Animal-Assisted Therapy http://dogtors.com
Training and certification of Animal-Assisted Therapy teams in the Miami Valley area of Ohio. Home of DOGTORS University and DOGTORS On-Call Emergency Services.
  Dr. Paws - Michigan http://www.drpaws.org/
How to get your dog certified for pet therapy. Testing and activities in several Michigan cities.
  Pets On Wheels, Delmarva http://www.petsonwheels-delmarva.org/
Volunteer teams of pet and handler visit nursing homes, assisted living homes, homes for the handicapped, and other facilities. On some days, a visit may be the only contact from the outside world for a resident.
  Teamwork Dog Training http://www.dogtrainingraleighnc.net/therapydog.htm
A therapy dog class in Raleigh, North Carolina. Description of the Pet Partners Skills Test.
  High Desert Obedience Club "Pet Pals" http://www.highdesertobedienceclub.org/pages/therapy.htm
Pictures of their therapy dogs in action. Training and testing available. In Antelope Valley and Lancaster, California.
  PAWS - Pets Are Wonderful Support http://www.orangecountyspca.org/PAWS.htm
Companions for disabled and others in need of the stimulation that pets can provide. Offers program description and contacts. Orange County, CA.
  Therapy Dogs, Singapore http://www.tdspore.org
Provides pet-assisted therapy (PAT) to meet the physical and emotional needs of the underprivileged. Find mission statement, links, articles, and information on recent visits.
  Therapaws of Michigan, Inc. http://www.therapaws.org
Canine-assisted therapy dog visits. Promotes the human-animal bond in therapeutic and educational settings.
  Therapy Dogs - Getting Started http://www.amchessieclub.org/TherapyDog.html
Advice, contacts, and links. Selection and training of the animal for pet therapy work.
  Sirius Healing of Seattle http://www.siriushealing.com/
An animal assisted therapy and animal assisted activity program in Seattle, Washington. Therapy dog training to Delta Society Pet Partners standards.
  Teton County PAL http://www.dogsaver.org/tetoncountypal/
People Animal Love is a pet partner program in Jackson, Wyoming. Volunteers visit others to provide them with the benefits of contact with an animal.
  Paws & Hearts http://www.pawsandhearts.org/
Enrich the lives of seniors and children with one-on-one attention that only a four-legged healer can provide." In Palm Desert, CA.
  Visiting Dogs http://www.workingdogs.com/visiting_dogs.htm
An article by the owner of Jake on doing therapy dog visits.
  Heart of Texas Therapy Dogs http://www.hotthdogs.org/
Animal Assisted Therapy dog organization in Dallas metro area. Membership information and where they visit. Affiliated with Therapy Dogs, Inc.
  Caring Critters http://www.caringcritters.org/introduction.htm
People and their animals participate in Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) activities. Over 200 volunteers visit over 20 facilities in the greater Houston area. A non-profit organization.
  585 Area Cat Handicap Training http://flamepointcat.com/therapy.htm
Cats and kittens trained for handicapped persons. Companion kittens selected according to personality for a client's needs.
  Thera-Paws http://www.chromadane.com/tdiEP.htm
El Paso Chapter of Therapy Dogs International. Volunteers with their TDI Certified dogs provide emotional support, education, and other aid to various groups.
  Mastiffs Offer Therapeutic Companionship http://www.lubbockonline.com/news/022597/mastiffs.htm
The story of four giant mastiffs and their new-found roles as therapy dogs. [Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, TX]
  Angel on a Leash http://www.westminsterkennelclub.org/2007/show/news/angels_100206.html
Pet therapy program of Westminster Kennel Club in New York City. Involvement of dogs in treatment makes physical therapy fun for young patients.
  Pet Express - Pet Therapy Club http://www.activitytherapy.com/petexp.htm
Kids, pets, and seniors. Pet Therapy Express is a complete instruction manual on how to set up an intergenerational and pet therapy program in a seniors facility. Purchase training guide and video.
  Pets Helping People http://www.petshelpingpeople.org/
Non-profit organization prepares people to use their pets in visits to nursing homes, schools, and half-way houses. Certifies animals in Canine Good Citizen, Feline Good Citizen, and Therapy Dog International. Serves Southeastern Wisconsin. Based in New Berlin which is just west of Milwaukee.
  What is Animal Assisted Therapy? http://www.crossroadsgrouphome.com/CGHAATWhat.html
Crossroads Group Home uses an Animal Assisted Therapy program stressing the benefits of animals and birds of many varieties to its residents.
  Inmates Get Therapy from Pets http://www.walb.com/Global/story.asp?S=1950800&nav=5kZQO2IM
Program at Autry State Prison, Georgia. Visits by dogs relieve depression and teach responsibility. Almost 400 of the 1500 inmates participate. [WALB-TV]
  Therapy Dog Team Training Program http://www.doglogic.com/therapy.htm
Lyn Richards talks about the requirements for a good therapy dog. From her DogLogic.com site.
  Rottweilers Can Be Friends, Therapy Dogs, Too http://www.post-gazette.com/pets/19990217pets.asp
An entertaining article about a rescued Rottweiler with a new and rewarding job. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]
  Prison Pet Partnership Program http://members.tripod.com/~prisonp/
Inmates at a correctional facility for women learn how to train, groom, and board dogs within the prison walls. A feeling of satisfaction directly contributes to the mental and physical wellness of all who are involved.
  AATProfessionals Listserve http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aatprofessionals/
Practice Animal Assisted Therapy, or for persons who intend to use AAT after completing their degree programs, exams, licensures.
  ]Delta Society Therapy Animals http://www.deltasociety.org/
A national registrar. Training and screening for people who want to visit hospitals, nursing homes, and other facilities with their animals.