Pet Therapy, Seattle Style!
Instructors: Becky Bishop, Puppy Manners Lead Trainer and Pet Therapy Evaluator
Annemarie Kaighin, Instructor and Pet Therapy Evaluator
Welcome to Pet Therapy, Seattle Style! Becky Bishop and Annemarie Kaighin have over 30 years of combined experience in the pet therapy world. Becky and Annemarie love dogs. They love their dogs and they love sharing their dogs in their community through pet therapy. Oh, and there is one other thing they both love: they love helping people who want to also share their dogs through volunteering. It's very, very rewarding to be involved in programs like Reading with Rover and other therapy programs such as visitation at Children's Hospital, Hospice and anywhere that the kindness of these non-judgmental creatures can make a difference. This is why our "Pet Therapy, Seattle Style!" programs are so popular. The dog lovers at Puppy Manners who teach, instruct and mentor you all have a passion for what they do. All of our instructors and puppy coaches are also pet therapy volunteers as well, so we "get" pet therapy and we are glad you found us!
So, what is a therapy dog?
A therapy dog can be any size, breed, color, shape, sex or age (at least one year old). The most important factor is the dog's personality. He should be even-tempered, good-natured and able to accept handling by other people. He should be happy to be around people and show this by seeking out and showing affection when people pet him. A shy dog that will not go forward to "Say Hi" or one that withdraws from strangers might cause someone to feel that the dog doesn't want to visit with them. This may make the person you are visiting feel bad. Don't give up if your dog is shy. Some shy dogs, with training and socialization, may be able to work through this issue and become a therapy dog. The ideal therapy dog should be alert and attentive to what is going on around him but focused enough to remember what he is supposed to be doing. He should seek and enjoy the attention of strangers and you the handler must practice good control of your dog at all times. You and your dog are a team; a therapy dog team. Sometimes, as much as we want our dogs to be involved in volunteer therapy, they may just not be cut out for it. We are happy to offer you a free consultation about your dog if your dog has personality about which you may have concerns.
At what age can my dog participate in pet therapy?
Your puppy has to be at least age one to take the therapy test. But that does not mean fun can't begin when they are puppies! If you live in the Seattle area or surrounding cities you are one lucky pup! Puppy Manners has a therapy puppy program called, "The Pup'prentice Project", a program for those who have puppies as young as 2 months to 18 months. We know you want your puppy/dog to be a wonderful family companion and if you think you also want to pursue volunteering with your dog, you can actually prepare your puppy by joining our Pup'prentice Project. The Pup'prentice Project is the only training program in the greater Seattle area accommodating puppies. For more info on this program check out www.pupprentice.com.
How do I know if my dog is ready to be a therapy dog?
We at Puppy Manners think we have the best therapy programs and opportunities for dog lovers. We not only help you achieve your goals we follow up with you and mentor you after to be sure you find just the right place to visit that suits you and your dog. Your dog does get a vote and it's important that you find the program where your dog feels happiest. We are so lucky to have many therapy dog programs and trainers in our area and many are very good, so you're in good company. Over 500 dogs a year come through our therapy dog programs and so far all the puppies that have completed our programs have passed their therapy dog test and are actively involved in programs like Reading with Rover and other visiting dog programs. If your dog has good basic skills like sit, down, stay (very short stay) and can walk on a leash without dragging you and is close to a year in age, you may consider going straight to "Pet Therapy, Seattle Style!" classes or a seminar. If your puppy/dog needs training please check out our group training class. Our classes not only help you and your dog have a better relationship so you will have a great family dog, the training you and your puppy/dog will receive also is great prep for those that want to continue on to be a therapy dog team. If your dog has the skills but you want to be sure they are ready for a therapy class we are happy to set up a meet and greet to help you decide what is the best program for your dog.
What do we offer to our therapy dog enthusiasts?
We provide training, evaluation and certification procedures for therapy pets and their owners. We work to increase public awareness of the benefits of pet provided therapy. We make this journey fun and easy for you and your dog because we don't just train you and test you, we continue to mentor and support you. We provide certified therapy pet visitation locations and provide guidance for the visits, promoting the bond between pets and people. Whether its programs like Reading with Rover, nursing home visits, hospital visits or working with students with special needs or people with disabilities, we will provide you the educational experience and tools you will need to feel good about you and your dog volunteering in the Seattle community. We are not only a dedicated group of instructors and puppy coaches, we are also registered Pet Therapy Dog teams who also continue to volunteer in our Seattle community as well. We have a passion for pet therapy volunteering and our classes and seminars represent that passion. You will love what we have to offer and you will love this journey you are about to take. Welcome to the world of pet dog therapy. Your heart will experience the joy that our hearts feel when you provide a moment of happiness and connection that only a pet can provide and we hope that you and your pet dog will take this journey. You will not regret it.
New! Pet Therapy in a Single Shot! $95.00 per session. If you would like to book a private session, one-on-one with a pet therapy evaluator who can help prepare you to take your therapy test, please email annemarie@puppymanners.com.
Please visit our Puppy Manners Group Training page for our "Pet Therapy, Seattle Style!" classes and seminars and puppy training classes.
To contact us:   Phone: 425.482.1057
Fax: 425.984.0249
Email: becky@puppymanners.com
Mail: PO Box 2569, Woodinville, WA 98072
"we long for an affection altogether ignorant of our faults.
heaven has accorded this to us in the uncritical canine attachment."
- george eliot
"if you talk to a man in language he understands it goes to his head,
if you talk to him in his language it goes to his heart."
- nelson mandela
"if you want to build a ship,
don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work,
but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea."
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery
"we are what we repeatedly do. excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."
- aristotle