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Therapy dog programs (Melbourne)


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Hi all,


I had a dog enrolled with Lort Smith for about 5 years until she passed away at 19 y/o and now I think I'd like to enrol again with my new dog who I know will make an awesome therapy dog.


So now looking for any recent personal experience with either of the two therapy dog programs, the Lort Smith one and Delta Therapy Dogs. 


There's only so much one can tell by looking at the two websites so I'd really love to hear from anybody who has recently had anything to do with either of them.


With any comments or recommendations as to which program would be the better of the two to enrol in Melbourne, one thing , it does look like Delta is not so big in Victoria compared to other states.


TIA :-)


Edited by PepitoVFR
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I enrolled my Tibetan Spaniel with both organisations in 2020 before COVID hit, don't know if that is recent enough for you.


Lort Smith gives you a choice of locations available. Dogs must be vaccinated yearly or 3 yearly. Obedience test is very easy, they are more interested in the dogs temperament. They test the dog first, then vet report, vacc status and if all is ok there, then the owner's references are checked, need to get a working with children card and a police check done and online training. Flu vaccination was not compulsory then but has more than likely changed. Then there is one group training class with your dog, then a buddy visit to an organisation with your dog and a mentor and about 4 to 6 weeks after that you start visiting your chosen location.


Delta dogs do it the other way round where the owner needs to complete all the WWC, police check, some online training in OH&S, infection control and proof of flu vaccination. If the owner gets through all of that, they are interviewed and references checked. Next step is the vet paperwork for the dog, Delta dogs do accept titre test results. After that the dog is assessed and you are told on the day if you have passed or not. Then comes the volunteer induction training day without your dog. Then you are assigned a place to go to.


We got through and were accepted for both of them but never ended up visiting any places because COVID shut everything down and visits were not allowed for over 18 months. If I want to go through the whole lot again I would probably pick Lort Smith mainly because you can choose where you go. Lort Smith don't have a cut off age for the dog, Delta dogs have a cut off at 9 years old. Lort Smith are more concerned about temperament first then obedience, Delta Dogs seem to look at obedience first then temperament. Lort Smith obedience test is very easy, Delta Dogs obedience test is longer and harder. Lort smith don't accept titre tests, Delta Dogs do. Lort Smith have a larger variety of places you can choose from. For exmple there are hospitals, nursing homes, youth residential facilities, women's mental health facilities just to name a few. Delta Dogs don't let you choose, normally you start off at a nursing home for at least 6 months then you can apply for another place if there is a vacancy and your mentor thinks you are ready. Lort Smith temp and obedience test at a facility, Delta Dogs don't let you near a facility till you and your dog have passed everything beforehand.

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