One of the challenges of play therapy work with canines is to ensure that children use the cues, both verbal and nonverbal, with which the dog has been trained. Kathy Sdao, an associate Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (and wonderful speaker and trainer on dog training issues), recently suggested during a presentation at the Association of Pet Dog Trainers Conference that owners and trainers actually create a log of all the cues they use with their animals. She also offered ways to test those cues to see what the animal is actually “reading” – the words, tone of voice, body language, and so on.
The small booklet below is used with children in the Playful Pooch Program. It is very specific to this play therapy dog and is copyrighted as well, but it might provide a useful sample of a fun way to help reinforce the cues that children learn while working with a therapy dog. Children learn best by doing, and they learn cues from therapist modeling and then interacting with the dog, but the booklet provides a reminder and a “souvenir” of their work with the dog.