Reggie is a Certified Therapy Dog. What does that mean?
Reggie is a Certified Therapy Dog. This means that Reggie has to undergo extensive training and certification every two years. Ms. Polk and Reggie get certified through Pet Partners, previously known as Delta Society. Part of the certification process is a one-time class, a bi-annual written exam, a bi-annual medical exam performed by a veterinarian, and a bi-annual practical exam.
Most of the qualifications for certification are self explanatory, except the practical exam. For the practical exam Mrs. Polk and Reggie will appear before a panel of judges. Then, they are asked for perform a series of tasks below.
1) Accepting a friendly stranger.
2) Accepting petting from a stranger.
3) Walking on leash, including between wheelchairs, crutches, and unfamiliar objects.
4) Walking nicely through a crowd.
5) Reactions to loud distractions, such as a gong or loud buzz near head.
6) Sit, Down, Stay, Stay in place when left.
7) Come when called.
8) Reaction to neutral dog.
9) Clumsy petting by stranger.
10) Restraining by stranger.
11) Staggering, aggressive gesturing by stranger.
12) Angry yelling or fighting of stranger/s.
13) Bumped from behind by stranger.
14) Being crowded and petted by a crowd of people.
15) Being brushed by a stranger.
16) To leave a squeaky ball or toy on command.
17) No licking during exam.
18) No use of treats as rewards during the exam.
If one section of the practical exam is failed, the entire exam is failed. But, this exam is very important because it allows Reggie to visit schools, nursing homes, and hospitals.