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Thread: Pets As Therapy - how to stop them kissing the paitients

  1. #1

    Question Pets As Therapy - how to stop them kissing the paitients

    I've been asked this question by a cavalier owner. Your comments would be appreciated

    Monty will be considered later this month for participation in our local hospital's pet therapy program. His only deficit is a failure to obey still commands upon greeting strangers. He showers everyone with kisses which is fine, but unacceptable in the hospital. Any suggestions you have in training him to be a perfect little gentleman are welcomed
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    USA: Seattle, WA


    When I get tired of kisses on the face, I just have to blow in their face and/or making a sound through my lips at them. After a few times of that they usually get the hint and stop kissing. You could try that, paired with some kind of command perhaps?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    West Midlands
    Blog Entries


    General Guidance Notes for Pets As Therapy Visits states:

    'Please make sure your PAT Dog (or cat) does not jump up or offer a paw on visits. Some people who we visit are elderly and very frail with paper thin skin.

    Please keep your PAT dog or PAT cat on a lead which MUST be held by you at all times. No long training leads, flexi leads, extendable leads, slip leads, head collars, check chains or restraining harnesses are allowed.

    Please do not use official Pets As Therapy visits as time for training and socialising puppies, kittens or other dogs or cats. This increases the risk to patients staff and is unfair on the animals.

    With small PAT dogs and PAT cats it may be possible to sit on a chair next to the recipient so that they can stroke the animal. If this is not possible then you may with the permission of the establishment place the animal on the resident's lap or bed. If you do this you should:

    make sure the nails are kept short and smooth
    Place the animal gently on the lap or bed and do not allow them to jump onto the lap or bed'

    Holly P is a registered and working PAT Dog. She had to pass an rigorous assessment before being accepted. Requirement 15 asks the assessor 'Did the dog jump up or paw at either the owner or the assessor? If so, who did the dog jump up at or paw and approx. how many times. The assessor answered 'None'. 'Please tell us at what point(s) during the assessment the dog either pawed or jumped up? Answer 'Just stood wagging tail. Q. 16 asks Did the dog exhibit any other behaviours that you'd like to tell us about/ For example, excessive licking, or repeated barking? If so, please explain below. Answer 'No' Very happy dog wagged tail.'

    As I expect you know Mark, many thousands of PAT dog visits are made on a regular basis, using the above tried and tested over many years guidelines, so I have absolute faith in their advice and requirements for handlers.

    Could your enquirer perhaps sit her dog on an adjacent chair when working with a patient. It might be helpful to know whether the visits will be made to patients in bed or, more likely, to people sitting in chairs in a ward common room. It would be common sense to assume that if the dog is on a chair next to the patient, or confined on a short lead next to the patient, then the opportunity to lick would not be there.

    Anybody taking a dog to visit sick or vulnerable people must take the utmost care to make sure their dog is absolutely suitable for the task. If there are any doubts at all, more training is needed. The responsibility of therapy visiting is awesome and not all dogs are suitable, but I can tell you from my experience with Holly P that the results more than justify the effort.
    Last edited by ByFloSin; 04-11-2014 at 08:46 AM.
    Warmest wishes

  4. #4


    I forgot to mention that the lady is in South Pasadena, CA.

    She's watching this thread, so thanks for the information, Flo.

    Blowing up the nose is one way to stop them licking. Thanks Alisha
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    Mark, and my Blen - Lexie DOB 7/07/11, and my B/T - Katie DOB 01/12/12

  5. #5


    I think Alisha's suggestion is a good one too - Herbie doesn't like me making any funny noises, so blowing a little raspberry will stop him in his tracks.

    Three things I've found useful to (hopefully!)stop unwanted behaviour:

    Teach the dogs an alternative, more acceptable behaviour. Herbie was rather over-enthusiastic with his face kissing when we first got him and I taught him "Kiss ear" instead - which he picked up very quickly. My first Cavalier also learned to do this too. But obviously not appropriate in this case, but maybe something like "shake hands" if this is acceptable?

    For something that is not quite what I want them to do, or is OK to do but not at this particular time, teach an "Oops" word - I use "Uh ohhhh!"

    Teach them they don't get to do what they want until they do what I'm asking, e.g. they have to back off and wait if they want me to open the door for them, instead of standing right in front of it; so no meeting a person until they calm down and don't attempt to lick. When I was taking Herbie to training classes, one lady had a rather excitable rescue collie, and she was teaching it "calm!" to steady it before it could "meet & greet" the other dogs in our class.


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