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 using their Therapy Dogs Australia therapy coat to attempt to take their dog in to public access places.
Q. Do you train assistance/service dogs?
A. No, we don't. Try www.minddog.org
Q. Which course is right for me - Community or Clinical?
A. The Clinical course is designed for professionals who are registered with a governing body, which holds the professional to a set of standards for professional and ethical behaviour. At the field of AAT is currently un-regulated, our mission is to encourage AAT professionals who are regulated by their own governing bodies (such as AHPRA & State Education bodies). Unfortunately, this does not include membership bodies, such as AASW or ACA, as these bodies do not have the power to discipline unprofessional and unethical behaviour, or restrict a professionals right to practice.
If you are not able to be registered with AHPRA etc. but feel that you will benefit from the content in the clinical course, please send us an email. A decision can be made on a case-by-case basis as to which professionals are able to attend the clinical course, however attendees whom are not registered with a governing body will graduate the clinical course with a community certificate. The clinical course has a greater focus on Animal Assisted Interventions, clinical case discussion and focus on current research.
The Community course is designed for all other persons who are wanting to train their dog to a high standard, as well as receive extensive knowledge about Animal Assisted Activities, including all ethical and legal topics, canine welfare and Human-Animal Bond.
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. It is really important that your dog wants to be a therapy dog. Therefore, we need to see that they are happy, confident and interested in being around new people. In regards to their behaviours, we can help you to 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, the issues that will need longer that 5/6 days to train include things like 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 whom can display confidence in handling their dog in a variety of situations. Handlers need to be quick-thinking and able to apply previously learned information to problem solve novel situations. We are looking for handlers who are interested in building AAT in to a professional and ethical field which is considerate of the welfare of clients and canines, working together. AAT is harder 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 in to our courses from 9months of age, however dogs which graduate at younger than 12 months old will graduate as ‘learners’.
The reason we train young dogs is 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 the team graduates as ‘learners’ is to acknowledge that the dog will need ongoing training and assessment.
We recommend that ‘learner’ dogs are able to attend facilities (such as nursing homes) and workplaces, however that the dog and handler are not solely responsible for a client’s wellbeing in a clinical sense (e.g. psychologist and dog working together with a client), until the team are capable of working together confidently without being distracted by each other.
We re-assess learner teams when the dog turns 12months 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 appropriately trained and assessed to be safe. This is why 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 important for most insurance providers that your dog has had an 'appropriate' amount of training in order for them to be included 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 which may not be otherwise available to you.
Particularly for clinicians whom are registered with governing bodies, and need to be working within their scope of practice, it is crucial that you have received some form of training in AAT before offering this service to your clients. It is also important that pet dogs taken to the workplace without training 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 the age of your dog at the time of their initial training, and their graduation level. We also take in to account the individual ability of each human-canine team throughout the 5 and 6-day courses. Teams who require more support will have an earlier re-assessment date. The reason we re-assess dogs is to promote ongoing training and safe and reliable canine-handler teams in the workplace. This allows our clients and referrers 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-assesed?
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 Supervision days. We will also do our best to make arrangements for our interstate attendees.
Q. Can I attend Group Training and Supervision without having attended the 5&6-day courses?
A. No, these days are reserved for TDA graduates (Lead The Way graduates are welcome via invite only, please contact us if you are a LTW graduate).
Q. Can I book Individual Supervision or Consulting without having attended the 5/6-day course?