Monday, March 14, 2011

therapy dog in training!

I am extremely proud of Claire. Words cannot even express how proud I am of her. Let me explain...

We had a very very busy Saturday because I made too many commitments for one day. The great thing about it was that Claire got to come along for most of it. We woke up early to take our friend Amy to the airport. After dropping her off, we went home to pack, as we were spending the weekend at Amy's to watch Kingsley. Then we headed to the park to meet up with friends so that Claire could get in her daily dose of off-leash time.

After she ran a marathon, we drove down to Franklin for an informal evaluation with The Delta Society to see if we could pass a series of challenges which would allow me to begin training Claire as a therapy dog. There are about 10 things that a dog needs to be able to do, and many of them are also required for the American Kennel Club's Canine Good Citizen Certificate - which we did not pass a year ago. The two things that kept us from passing the CGC were Accepting a Friendly Stranger (because Claire wanted to jump up and kiss them all over), and Walking on a Loose Leash (because Claire wanted to walk me instead). Knowing that we would be evaluated for these things on Saturday made me very nervous because Claire still struggles with both. We've been working very hard, however, so I hoped we could pull it together for the evaluation.

I had no need to worry, however - Claire passed the evaluation with flying colors!!!! She stayed focused, responded appropriately, and completed everything perfectly! And, to get some extra brownie points, she even cuddled up to the evaluator at the end :) That's my girl!

So, I am proud to introduce you to Claire Baby Butterworth, therapy dog in training! A huge thank you to Jay and Maggie for inspiring us, giving us helpful tips and other advice, and for constant encouragement through Maggie's blog (which you all need to read because it is wonderful!)


  1. Congratulations to you both--you both did it together! It's such a great feeling, isn't it?

  2. HOW DO YOU GET HER DO BE CALM!? Beans has so much lab and golden in him that he's literally a NUT!

  3. Mom, and Mimi&CC - thank you so much! It is a wonderful feeling! We still have so much to work on, but it's nice to know that all of our effort is showing results!

    Rooms - Claire is extremely food motivated, so even if she hasn't gotten enough exercise to get out excessive energy, she'll always respond to some good treats that she doesn't normally get. Petsmart sells these mini sausage things that have a strong smell to them (and I can't remember what they're called for the life of me, but I'll find out for you!), and I break off little pieces during training for Claire. She ONLY gets the sausage treats during training, so she associates that with having to do some hard work. You can use any kind of treat though, as long as it's *special* :)