Animal-Assisted Therapy


PLEASE LET US KNOW IMMEDIATELY IF YOU ARE UNCOMFORTABLE WITH OR ALLERGIC TO DOGS, OR IF YOU SIMPLY DO NOT WANT "HONEY" or "GAVIN"  PRESENT. 
 We can easily accomodate your needs.

WHAT IS ANIMAL-ASSISTED THERAPY (AAT)? Animal-assisted therapy
is a type of therapy that involves an animal with specific characteristics becoming a fundamental or adjunctive part of a person's psychological treatment. Animal-assisted therapy is designed to improve the physical, social, emotional, and/or cognitive functioning, as well as provide educational and motivational effectiveness for participants.  Research has shown that animals can facilitate healing by providing therapeutic interaction for people with mental and emotional difficulties, and for children with learning and behavioral challenges, as well as for persons suffering from physical illness or disabilities. Interaction with animals in therapy can lower blood pressure and stress, reduce depression and anxiety, increase attention and verbal interaction, increase motivation for participation, and generally increase mood and a sense of well-being. 

Meet  HONEY
 
and   GAVIN!  

Our therapy dogs are in training to help us in animal-assisted therapy.  They are at the office one or two afternoons a week. Honey is our five-year old, medium-sized, German Shepard-Rhodesian Ridgeback mix who we adopted from the Pomona Animal Shelter at 2 months of age.  Gavin is our "forever puppy", a four year old Corgi-Dachsund-Boxer-Bassett hound (?) mix who is long, short, and "all boy", who we also adopted from the Pomona shelter at 10 weeks old.  They both love people and are very affectionate.  They have both graduated from the first phase of training, which includes basic socialization skills, exposure and acclimatization to the office environment, and learning to greet people.  They are  still a little rambunctious, and currently in the second phase of training which is learning better self control and obedience.  Currently, even while they are still in training, they are helping both children  and parents understand the importance of consistency, gentleness, positive rewards, repetition, and  patience in the context of behavior management.  They are both already very sensitive to people's moods, and seek to comfort those in distress.  Honey and Gavin make therapy more fun for kids and teens, providing good incentive for them to return to the therapy office.

Honey passes her first course!

posted Jan 16, 2011, 5:39 PM by Cathryn Harris

In January, Honey obtained her certificate for Basic Obedience training through Petco, under the patient coaching of Sarah, our dog trainer.  As her "parents", of course a lot of the training was for us!  We certainly revisited all the principles we have taught our client parents in helping them with their toddlers.  Honey learned the basics to sit, stay, lie down, come, go, and heel on command. She is still learning not to jump up and lick people when excited, but she has improved considerably. 

Honey is One Year Old!

posted Nov 7, 2010, 11:36 PM by Cathryn Harris   [ updated Nov 8, 2010, 12:20 AM ]

Honey celebrated her first birthday at the end of October by driving in the convertible with the top down for the first time (properly secured of course), going to lunch with us on the boardwalk in San Dimas (we had a cupcake with a candle in her honor, but she only got to eat some french bread!), and visiting the San Dimas Dog Park for the first time.  She was a little nervous with the other big dogs, but soon found a playmate that was  her "speed".  She is continuing to do well in the first part of her training as a therapy dog, which involves learning to stay calm when exposed to new and unusual situations and greeting new people appropriately.  She begins obedience classes next week, to build on the training we started with at home and in the office so far.

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