Is your puppy brimming with energy and love? Do you want to help bring smiles to people’s faces? Are you curious about what you have to do to get your puppy certified as a therapy dog?
Training a therapy dog is no small feat. It requires a puppy to be constantly socialized with other dogs, new people, odd smells, and sounds. Also, it requires obedience training so as your dog will not be a danger to others or people. If you think you’re ready, and you want to help people, follow the steps below as provided by the American Kennel Club.
First, make sure your puppy is socialized. It does not matter what kind of dog you have, as they all have therapy dog potential. Make sure it is comfortable in new situations. For example, young children tend to be loud and excitable, especially when a dog is introduced. If your dog is afraid or aggressive, they will not make a good therapy dog.
Second, you will need to obtain the AKC Canine Good Citizen title. You will need to train your dog in behaviors such as not jumping on people, and being obedient enough to stay with you when not on a leash. If your dog ran off and began jumping on strangers, that would not be good. Enrolling your dog in classes for this is a good idea. Try searching for some around your area.
You will need to enroll your dog classes specific to therapy dogs as well that will prepare both you and your dog for potential situations and how to handle them. Most classes will include an evaluation at the end.
Lastly, register with a national therapy dog organization. This will help provide support, advice, and insurance. Search for organizations near you. A lot of work goes into making your puppy a certified therapy dog. If you’re willing to put in the work into training your dog, you can both have a future together visiting schools, nursing homes, hospitals, and children and leaving them feeling fulfilled.
What do you think is most difficult thing about raising a therapy dog? The most rewarding?