Was at an extended care facility with my "therapy" dog when a resident leaned in to give my dog a kiss on the top of her head. My dog reacted with a growl, beared her teeth and lunged at the resident. I now feel like she can't be trusted. I guess I will no longer take her to the home.
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What breed of dog do you have?
What Therapy dog organization are you with?
What is the age of the dog? How often does the dog visit this facility?
When was the dog's last check up?
How often during the week do you socialize the dog to people?
Do you only visit elderly homes or do you do other programs as well?
3. 4 years, once a week
4. June 2013
5. once a week
6 .Only the elderly
Thank you for that information. Unfortunately you will have to hang up the TDI tag, but you can try to visit just as a patron and see how it goes. TDI will not cover you if you go under their name at this time. I would think that the facility may end up calling TDI and letting them know what happened. This is what they are supposed to do. IN that case I would talk to the activities director and see if you can bring the dog in as non therapy as it may be that the dog was not feeling well on that particular day and saw the person leaning over him as a threat. With this breed you always have to worry about back issues and ear issues so if you can get another checkup by your vet before taking him out on your own that is something I would suggest. As a TDI Evaluator I have to say to put your tags and badge.
It is hard to know why the sudden change after 4 years, but from a trainer's standpoint I would say when a behavior is sudden it is usually from a health issue. I can't imagine this dog doing four years with people he knows lashing out unless he thought their touching him would hurt. Sometimes it is hard on us as the owners to notice when the dog is not quite feeling up to par and we want to bring joy to the residents, but we have to be very in tune to any changes our dog may display, even though they may seem minute to us, to the dog they are a big deal.
It is possible that with a health check you may find a disc issue which may have caused him to act out and if you get the health under control though you would not be able to go under TDI again, there are other organizations that require only a vet to attest to the temperament of the dog, so that is another avenue for you to go.