The Dustin’s Paw dogs know some 70+ interactive commands. Via these commands patients can command the dogs by voice, sign, PEC cards or speech communication devices. Some of the commands allow the patients to engage in “play” or game activities (therapy in disquise). Others allow the dogs to engage in ”therapy” activities with the patient – for example, playing on the computer or using the iPad, dressing, brushing teeth, feeding or walking beside a patient learning how to use a wheelchair or walker. Sometimes the dogs are pulled in wagons, pushed in wheelchairs or ride on scooter boards. They love to chase balls – all kinds of balls! They are excellent retrivers and can even play Hid’n Go Seek complete with blindfold.

It is important to note that this work

  • takes a special, well trained dog who is stable enough to handle the noise and distractions (especially food) in order to calmly and obediently execute the activities for the benefit of the patient AND
  • takes an experienced, knowledgeable handler who is an astute observer, knows both the patient and the dog, understands what the therapist wants and is capable of going with the flow to set up a successful experience for all involved.

Be sure to check out these questions.

What do the dogs do for the patients?
What do the dogs do for a therapist?
What is a Canine Modality Specialist?
What is Speech Therapy and how do the dogs help?
What is Physical Therapy and how do the dogs help?
What is Occupational Therapy and how do the dogs help?
You can also view our Testimonal Page and Dustin’s Paw Stories for more specific examples.

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