Therapy dog training is very popular in medical facilities, mental institutes, retirement homes, and nursing homes.
These dogs are trained to provide love, avoid loneliness and give companionship. This concept was first begun in 1970 in England by an American nurse was working in the health care system.
Doctors and other medical experts recognized patients who spent time with therapy dogs, reduce stress, lower blood pressure and also increase their positive attitude.
Therapy dogs and service dogs are different. For training your puppy has to go through obedience dog training as well as needs to learn social skills.
I know you have a question in your mind – How you can train a therapy dog?
Socialization & Faithful Relationship
Socialization and faithful relation are the most important aspect of therapy dog training.
Your dog must explore new places, new people and keep this communication delightful and calm. Your dog understands how to behave with new people through socialization.
A positive experience is most important in socialization training because the negative experience may impact your puppy lifelong.
For a trusted and faithful relationship always do whatever you and your pet like to do.
Always have fun with your canine, play with your puppy some toy fetching games, walk with your canine every day.
Your pet will start gaining your trust when you do something as per their interest. Take out your dog from the comfort zone when different people taking part in socialization training of the puppy.
Therapy Dog Certification Online
No specific registration, certification, or document is required if a dog is trained by the family. A well-behaved and under the control of their handler dog is required. Three basic processes for therapy dog training certification are as follow:
Step 1: Any breed can be trained to provide companionship, love, and comfort in mental health institutes, airports, or other hospitals. A therapy dog must be a friendly dog and the dog must be at least one year old to become a therapy dog.
Step 2: A person called a tester, test your dog’s manner and handling skill before providing the certification.
Step 3: After completing the handing skill, now tester will supervise three visits in any medical institute. Now, after completing three visits and submit your application, paperwork. You and your dog may become a certified therapy team.
For getting certification your dog must be well-behaved and follow basic commands. Your dog must be calm and in control every time.
Can Any Dog Become a Therapy Dog?
Yes, any dog becomes a good therapy dog but there are some tests and training he must undergo with. The first thing your puppy should be adult means at least one year old.
There are specific determines to become a therapy dog, your puppy should be well behaved, obedience and social skills are the most important part. Relationship with dog handlers also plays a vital role.
Basic Obedience: To become a good therapy dog, your canine should be able to handle different types of situations with ease. He should obey the command (basic obedience), like sit, stay, heel or come.
Socialization: Socialization means how your dog interact or behave when strangers are around. The benefit of socialization is not being distracted from their work.
Owner-Relationship: The dog and owner should build a strong relationship but never worried about when separate from the owner or handler. This bonding helps a lot to become a good therapy dog.
How To Trained Therapy Dogs?
The first and easy way to trained your puppy is to find a professional trainer but that could be too expensive. The second and best option is you start training your puppy at an early age.
Therapy dogs help reduce the stress level for heart patients and also help them in cheering up. Here are some ways for therapy dog training:
Recognize Your Dog: A good therapy dog must be friendly to all types of people and always calm in every situation. He should know how to behave when touched by a stranger especially children. He should also know how to take treats happily and nicely. All breeds can be trained as therapy dogs, smaller dogs are good at snugging in lap or hospital bed. Larger dogs motivate people to throw a ball at them and play with them.
Prepare For Therapy Tests: There are 10 separate tests under the Canine Good Citizen program as follow:
- Accepting a friendly stranger: In this test, the evaluator comes to dog handler in everyday situation and notice your dog’s behavior. The dog should not show signs of bitterness or shyness.
- Sitting politely for petting: In this test, your dog sits politely with the evaluator or stranger while the dog handler is outside. The stranger will talk to the dog.
- Appearance and grooming: When other than dog handler, stranger or evaluator check its ear, feet, teeth, or weight. The dog must be in healthy condition.
- Out for a walk: In this test, your dog should be able to walk with the handler or without the handler on a loose leash.
- Walking through a crowd: In this test, the dog walks in crowded places without any distraction.
- Sit and down on command and Staying in place: Your dog should know basic obedience commands like sit, stay, and down.
- Coming when called: The dog should respond when a handler or stranger calls your dog.
- Reaction to another dog: In this test, two dog handlers approaching each other from a distance, stop, start a short conversation. Dogs should not show anger or bitterness.
- Reaction to distraction: In this test, a task will give to the dog, and the evaluator will try to distract the dog. The evaluator will want to notice the behavior (Bark, aggressive, run away, etc.)
- Supervised separation: In this final test, the evaluator will notice the dog’s behavior after the separation of handler for some time.
Also Read: Gun Dog Training: 7 Things You Must Know
Therapy Dog Training Cost
This training is conduct in groups and private, for private training professional trainers charge an average of $45 to $120 per class.
On the other hand, group training is the less expensive average cost is $30 to $50 per class.
Dog trainer professionals use advanced dog training techniques to train your puppy as a therapy dog. These techniques focus on modifying the dog’s behavior positively.
Before starting the training session your dog must be vaccinated and you must be practice with your puppy at home everything is taught in the training session.
Group training package (if you purchase 6-8 weeks), that can cost around $120 to $600. Per class, the cost can be around $20 to $25.
These group training sessions will improve your dog’s communication with you using positive reinforcement. To become a good therapy dog, your canine must learn basic obedience and socialization.
Professional dog trainer mainly focuses on dog’s obedience training and dog’s behavior.
Some Useful Tips For Therapy Dog Training
Trained a therapy dog is not an easy task for handlers and dogs as well. Dog temperament is the most important part of a good therapy dog but not all dogs have a good temperament. Some tips may help you to train your puppy as a good therapy dog:
- Socialize your puppy with humans and other animals.
- Basic obedience training plays an important role in a dog’s good behavior.
- Dog leash training is a very useful skill that your dog must learn, walking on a loose leash is also the most important part for therapy dogs.
- Begin your puppy’s therapy training as soon as possible.
- Never be angry with your puppy while training, use positive reinforcement.
- Start preparing for Canine Good Citizen (CGC) to get the therapy dog certification.
A Certified Therapy Dog Go Anywhere?
In general, medical facilities are the famous place for therapy dogs; hospitals, nursing homes, clinics. Sometimes educational programs invite these dogs as well.
These educational programs invite therapy dogs to motivate and gaining confidence in children for achieving their goals in life.
But there is no specific right for therapy dogs in a professional business meeting with their owners.
In hotels and motels, these canines are considered normal pets and must follow the rules.
There are some other places where you need to follow some special laws and regulations for your dog:
Airplanes and Airport: On the airport, therapy dogs are considered normal pets but on the other hand service dog and emotional support animals have specific space. For service dogs and emotional support dogs, the Airplane company cannot charge extra-legally. We recommend you before taking your dog in the airplane give a call to the airplane company to find out the procedure and plan accordingly. The airplane company will charge extra for your dog.
Public Place: Before going to any restaurant, café, or other food establish public place, always check if that place is dog friendly or not. Most public place service dogs are allowed as per the laws but other than service dogs all pets are considered normal pets. Some private business owners not allowed dogs, so legally he can ask you to leave.
Houses: As per the Fair Housing Act, a landowner can legally deny the entry of humans and animals. Before renting any property, you must discuss with the landowner about the pet policy. Therapy dogs do not have any legal protection related to housing.
Questions and Answers
How do you make my dog a certified therapy dog?
Any breed’s dog can become a therapy dog the only few things matter, your canine’s health and his behavior. Socialization plays an important role in certification for any dog as a therapy dog.
Dog’s age should be at least one year, for getting certification tester/observer will closely monitor the dog’s behavior and handling skills.
Dog handlers and dogs should visit three times in any medical facility and the tester will supervise those visits. After this procedure application and paperwork will start.
After certification, your dog will start to providing love, comfort, and affection in hospitals, schools, mental health, airports, retirement homes, etc.
Can you self train a therapy dog?
Yes, you can train your dog by yourself; when you bring a new puppy at home and he should be at least six weeks old, this is the right time to start his training.
A dog’s temperament and obedience training skills are the most important part of a therapy dog. Start your puppy’s obedience training as soon as possible when you bring him home.
Take your puppy outside in the park, wooden area, and introduce your puppy to new people, dogs, and nature. This will help your puppy in socialization which is also an important part of therapy dog training.
Train your puppy to walk on a loose leash when you taking him outside in the park or any other area.
How long until a therapy dog is fully trained?
There can be two possible ways, first when you are going to train your puppy and second when you hire a professional trainer.
When you are planning to train your puppy, you can consider two years of training as a therapy dog. On the other hand, when a professional trainer starts your dog training, it can take up to 1 year.
There are some essential’s part where you need to focus on and those are time-taking as well in therapy dog training. For example, dog obedience training is time taking process and also socialization can take a long time.