ASHE COUNTY — Good Dog! Training and High Country Caring Canines are partnering to train therapy dog to serve those in need with a therapy dog training class beginning Tuesday, Aug. 4.
Good Dog! Training is located in Ashe County and owned by professional dog trainer Lisa Mallory. Mallory is the only trainer in the High Country credentialed by the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT).
The CCPDT is an independent organization that conducts testing for dog trainers and is considered the gold standard of certifications for trainers. Mallory is also a Certified K9 Nose Work instructor and is able to teach scent detection for dogs and their human partners.
Mallory has been volunteering with her registered therapy dog, Kelly, for the last six years in Ashe County.
“From the beginning I would get phone calls and e-mails from organizations and businesses here in Ashe County, and even Watauga County, asking me to visit their facilities,” Mallory said. “Since I was a very busy person, with only one therapy dog, I could rarely fulfill their needs. I have always wanted to help bring more therapy dogs to the High Country.”
A therapy dog is a dog that provides affection and comfort to people in a variety of settings and situations, including hospitals, long term care, assisted living, memory/dementia care, schools and universities, courtrooms and victims of abuse or crime, adults or children with learning, physical or emotional disabilities and those in stressful situations such as disaster areas or institutions such as prisons and jails.
According to Mallory, therapy dogs come from all varieties and mixes of dog breeds but the dog must be healthy, at least one-year of age, well-mannered, patient, gentle and enjoy interacting with people.
In 2014, Mallory began her first session of therapy dog classes for dog owners who wanted to volunteer and had a dog with the right temperament to become a therapy dog. According to Mallory, the class had four graduates with one still volunteering on a regular basis.
According to Mallory, she met Brianne Harris who volunteers in Watauga County with her therapy dog, Knox, last fall.
Together, Mallory and Harris formed an unincorporated association called High Country Caring Canines (HCCC). HCCC helps owners get their dog registered as a therapy dog and also works with organizations and facilities looking for therapy dog teams to volunteer.
“We soon realized that we both had the same goals in mind,” Mallory said. “So my dream and hers began to come together.”
According to Mallory, the Aug. 4 therapy dog class will provide the information and practical skills necessary to prepare owners and their canine companion for the rewarding opportunity to begin volunteering in a variety of settings.
“There is no greater joy than seeing the benefit that your beloved pet can bring to others who don’t have the opportunity to interact with a sweet, friendly dog,” Mallory said.
Classes will be divided into Beginner-Foundations and Advanced-Essentials and will cover a variety of information including: instruction needed to successfully start volunteering/visiting, safety, facility requirements and regulations, medical rules and health care laws, privacy, prevention of zoonotic diseases and many other topics related to visitation.
Dogs will be introduced to medical equipment and scents, dog socialization and instruction in handling techniques and training methods. Owners will also learn how to instruct their dogs to leave food, crumbs, garbage or medical waste alone, a hand target to help position the dog for petting and how instruct a dog to relax quietly when needed.
The classes will also discuss and demonstrate proper equipment and host appropriate field trips to public places with an actual visit to a facility included in the Essentials class.
Fees for the seven week courses are $175.00 for Beginner-Foundations and $200 for Advanced-Essentials. Volunteers, employees and dogs adopted from either Ashe or Watauga Humane Societies will receive a $25 discount.
For more information about Good Dog! Training or High Country Caring Canines, contact Lisa Mallory at [email protected] or visit www.highcountrycaringcanines.com.
Hannah Myers can be reached at 336-846-7164 or on Twitter @cmedia_hmyers.