Sometimes behavior is learned and sometimes it’s in the genes. For Axel, a 4-year-old, 110-pound Rottweiler, was named the AKC’s 2022 Therapy Dog of the Year in the annual poll. Outstanding Dog Humane Foundation Award, his trainer John Hunt, when he was only 9 weeks old, noticed how calm his demeanor was when interacting with others, yet he presented himself in an engaging way and How confident. Combined with a need to please and a remarkable ability to solve problems and lead others, Axel is a natural born.
What are the characteristics of therapy dogs?
Therapy dogs often exhibit:
- calm attitude
- charismatic personality
- Stay calm and focus on handlers around other dogs
- Ability to solve problems
- The eagerness to please
- The ability to relax when not working
- Enjoy the attention of new people
- Correct display of stress signals
What kind of work does Axel do?
Axel is a Crisis Response Canine Operation K9 and provides weekly support to local healthcare workers at major hospitals in New Jersey, where he and John live, and Pennsylvania. He also visited police, fire and other first responders for comfort and was called on the spot, along with John, to begin the decompression process after a traumatic event.
John himself has undergone extensive training, including mental health courses and a K9 Body Language, First Aid, and CPR program to ensure that he can keep Axel safe in the workplace. job.
During her therapy career, Axel has completed more than 600 sessions of dog therapy, earning Supreme AKC Therapy Dog title and has traveled across the country to assist after large-scale tragedies.
Andrea Hering, founder and president of Crisis response dog, a New Jersey-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit that certifies, trains, and deploys dogs in traumatic situations. “Even people who are afraid of dogs often take pictures with him at the end of their visit.”
Crisis response dog off duty
When on duty, Axel is a typical dog, Andrea explains, “playful, lively, silly.” But as he worked, “Axel was so confident in his work that other dogs followed his lead. He serves as a role model for our other therapy dogs.”
Of course, part of the job is after-hours compensation. Axel’s hobby? Mint and good belly rub.
Follow Axel’s activity on social media @CrisisCanines or visit www.crisiscanines.org