Part 3, Notes on book "Animal Assisted Play Therapy"

Encourage people to let the dog come to them.

3-second rule

  • Works especially well for cats
  • Pet for 3 seconds. Stoop. Watch for stress signals.

Relationship builder: Point out treats that you "find" on the ground,


  • Work for 90 minutes.
  • Break for 60.
  • Work for 90.


Introducing a dog:

  • Use a stuffed dog
  • "Do you want to know a secret about dogs?" Never hug a dog.
  • Pet chest, choulders, under chin
  • Give cues to child so they do them (then ask you to do them!)
  • Use a flat palm to feed a dog

Activities to do with a dog:

  • Feed them
  • Teach them something (like targeting)
  • Play fetch
  • Building a mock agility course (obstacle course)
  • Hide food for dog to find
  • Feelings ball (place in baskets that say Never, Sometimes, Often), and talk to dog while doing it
  • Hide and seek (child hides)
  • Ask "What do you think Fido is feeling right now?"
  • Grooming
  • Play "Leave It" with treats and the dog (teaches patience)
  • Tug of War (or "Rope Tug")
    • Kid's job: have fun, but make sure dog is not too excited
    • Let the dog win sometimes

Look Into My Eyes." Helpful for children with ASD (they can teach the dog to do this, which teaches them lessons, too)

  • Hold treat to side
  • Dog looks at it
  • Finally, dog looks at you in confusion
  • Click, treat.

Game: If you teach a dog to spin a spinner, the child can go to corresponding stations.

Game: Child buries items in sandbox, dog digs them up.

Game: Doggie Hotline

  • Tell child about dog's problems and ask child for advice on how to help the dog.
  • You can pretend the child is aat a call-in TV show, and child is a guest expert.
  • The problems can be similar to the child's problems

Debriefing afterwards

  • Chance to ask "How did you feel when..."

Death of a therapy animal

  • Put up a picture
  • Have a box (with slot) where clients can leave a message to or about the animal
  • Leave out cards and markers for the clients
  • A letter by the box from the animal can sometimes be appropriate