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Does anyone have experience of the PAT dog scheme?

(12 Posts)
bowbear Tue 09-Feb-16 13:02:51

I'm interested in volunteering with my dog. He's so friendly and loves people (may need a little more training to curb his enthusiasm at times!) Is this something that any mumsnetters have experience with?

MaynJune Tue 09-Feb-16 13:46:33

Yes, one of my lurchers is a Pet Therapy dog. My other one could have been but she was a bit old by the time I thought about it. Usually they stop when they're around ten, I think.

I contacted the Pet Therapy charity online and they put me in touch with a regional assessor. I met her at the local Pets at Home and she observed how my dog walked through the store, waited patiently while we chatted, didn't jump up and wasn't fazed by a loud noise behind her, that kind of thing.

For a couple of years we went to a primary school once a week for an hour or two and small groups of children read to us. Usually they sat on the floor and my dog lay in the middle and rested her head on a lap!
It's just as well she's so calm, as a dozen children would surround us and pet her as soon as we set foot in the school, and she just stood and took it. She has very velvety fur which the children loved to stroke, and they were so sweet with her.

Now we go to a nursing home one afternoon a week. Most of the residents have dementia and many don't notice we're there, but a few love to see the dog. We usually only stay half an hour or so, sometimes a little longer if I have a cup of tea. I'm lucky as it's just along the road from my house so I combine it with a walk for her.

bowbear Tue 09-Feb-16 13:53:54

Thanks May, she sounds lovely, as does the experience!

My little dog is only 10 months so may be a little to lively yet - a dozen children around him would be his idea of heaven but he may be a little too enthusiastic. I'll get in touch and see what they say. He's such a people dog I think he'll really enjoy the experience.

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 09-Feb-16 14:09:12

There are several key features a PAT dog must have:

Must not jump up in any circumstances
Must be able to remain calm no matter how exciting the environment is.
Must always take food incredibly gently

Usually they dogs to be at least two years old so there is no danger of them going through a teenage phase.

I work closely with a PAT dog assessor.

BernardsarenotalwaysSaints Tue 09-Feb-16 14:13:23

Place marking because it's something I'm interested in for a future dog not the current antisocial bugger.

bowbear Tue 09-Feb-16 14:21:49

I'm not sure we can confidently tick all those boxes yet! Perhaps as we continue training and he grows up a little it's something we can aspire to!

MaynJune Tue 09-Feb-16 14:38:58

Absolutely! See how it goes. My dog was five or six when she did the assessment.

Not everyone in the nursing home or school likes dogs and mine is not at all 'in your face' so ideal. A few of the children were scared of dogs and warmed to her, which their parents were pleased about.
She wasn't bothered when the fire alarm went off and we had to go down a narrow staircase with lots of children and the noise of the alarm.
And in the nursing home lounge there isn't much room so she has to quickly and calmly move out the way of wheelchairs etc.

That's the kind of thing you have to cope with. With a suitable dog it's lovely.

Noitsnotteatimeyet Tue 09-Feb-16 15:14:15

My 2 year old Toller does this - he listens to children read at one of the local primary schools once a week

The children love it and so does he as he loves being the centre of attention

He's very calm and gentle, never jumps up, doesn't mouth or lick and takes food extremely carefully

He took the assessment when he was 15 months old which was quite young but he passed with flying colours

Cheerfulmarybrown Tue 09-Feb-16 16:30:02

Another criteria to add to LonecatwithKitten list is that the dog should not paw people. So if yours is a puppy dont teach him to shake paws or to do a high five.

Mine are PAT dogs and love it. We visit a local childrens hospice and a care home.

One of my dogs in particular seems to sense if people just want a quiet time with him (or it could be that he is just very lazy!) so often we spend quite a bit of time very quietly with him lying on the bed of the patients.

slebmum1 Tue 09-Feb-16 16:47:33

I looked into it but my dog cannot be trusted not to jump up 100%, he gets over excited and wants his ears stroked so it was a no. I'm hoping he might get over as he's still relatively young.

Noitsnotteatimeyet Tue 09-Feb-16 19:31:03

mary We taught our dog paw and high 5 but he only does them on cue so there's no problem

ChairRider4 Wed 10-Feb-16 09:42:11

Would like to do this with my boy eventually
Wheelchairs no problem as I am in one .Not phased by crowds as I took him shopping with me in London and lifts are normal to him

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