Can I Train My Dog To Be A Therapy Dog?

Can I Train My Dog To Be A Therapy Dog?

Our canine companions are often our most loyal friends. They are there for us through thick and thin, and certainly have a special place in our hearts! We often refer to them as our “therapy dogs”, because we feel they really do make a difference.

Some of us may even feel that our dogs could make a difference in the lives of others. Here is what we can do if we feel strongly about this, and are considering signing them up as therapy dogs:

  • Understand the scope of practice: the very first thing important to understand is that a therapy dog is not a service dog. While a service dog is assigned as an aid to fulfilling a disability for one individual, a therapy dog is trained to provide the role of comfort for many people
  • Starting off the skills: the best time to start training the skills of a therapy dog is at the puppy stage, however, there is no age limit for therapy dogs. What is most important, is instilling skills of socialization, interaction with humans and other animals, and confidence in different environments. This should be done as early as possible and on a regular basis
  • Control: encouraging behaviors that promote self-control is an essential skill for a future therapy dog. Being responsive quickly and maintaining self-control is a key component to this line of work
  • A tamed temperament: resilience to unexpected sounds and surprises is important for a therapy dog to achieve. Their role as comforters should not be interrupted by uncontrolled barking or sudden changes in character, as they need to keep their company at ease
  • Certification and placement: once you have a grip on the training aspect, you should get your dog to pass the tests and be certified. This can be researched online (to find out where and how), and then a place most suitable can be found too. Your dog might be best suited to a hospital, or perhaps an old age home. The possibilities and endless!

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Feature Image Source: Pixabay

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