Our eyes, gestures, and tone bring us together in a more profound way than words alone. It’s why we look hopefully toward the return of in-person, face-to-face connection.
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As an experienced dog trainer, RN and therapy dog handler and trainer, it is my firm belief, and always has been that therapy dogs are born, not made.
I think the results of this kind of study would vary depending on the therapy program. I know my own dog, Ginger who succumbed to cancer two and a half years ago loved therapy work.
I don't think a lot of dogs are cut out for it, and I see many owners force their dogs into this kind of work. Further, the dogs are trained using aversive methods. The dogs display stress signals and the leaders of these programs certify them anyway and the dogs' owners don't seem to notice.
This is why I started my own force-free program in 2012. I don't think any dog needs to be trained with force, much less a dog that will be expected to work as a therapy dog, and I strongly believe these dogs are born, not made.
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