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How to Train a Therapy Dog

June 14, 2024

In a world filled with ups and downs, there's nothing quite like the comfort of a loyal companion by your side. Dogs, with their unwavering love and support, possess a special kind of magic. Have you ever felt the weight lift off your shoulders as you embrace your furry friend? Some breeds radiate an abundance of positivity, making them perfect candidates for therapy work. It's a noble pursuit, one that involves touching the lives of those who need it most.

Does your dog have a natural empathy, reacting calmly and positively to people? Do they find joy and emotional satisfaction in being around others? Perhaps you've noticed how much they love tactile contact and the special healing properties they seem to possess. If this sounds like your pet, then it might be time to consider how to make your dog a therapy dog. 

Let us guide you through the process of making your dog a certified therapy dog. With their innate abilities and our support, your dog can bring comfort, joy, and healing to those in need. 

What Makes a Therapy Dog?

These special dogs, often referred to as cuddly companions, work alongside their handlers to provide comfort and affection to people in schools, hospitals, and nursing homes. Have you ever encountered dogs at library events or even participated in yoga with dogs? These empathetic animals hold a unique and cherished place in our lives.

The benefits of therapy dog training extend far beyond emotional support. Research shows that interacting with therapy dogs can lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety, and boost endorphin levels in humans. Hugging a therapy dog can quickly alleviate stress and nervousness, leading to a significant improvement in overall well-being.

But it's not just humans who benefit. Therapy dogs themselves experience a positive effect on their well-being. During these interactions, dogs enjoy increased levels of endorphins and oxytocin, enhancing their general health and happiness.

The bond between therapy dogs and those they comfort is truly magical, creating a ripple of positivity that impacts everyone involved. 

Unlike service dogs, therapy dogs don't have special access rights and must receive permission to enter non-pet-friendly public places.

What breeds are best suited for therapy work? While there are no specific breed or age requirements, certain traits like obedience, calmness, and friendliness are essential. Dogs must enjoy human interaction and remain composed even in busy environments. 

Here's a quick rundown to help you decide:

  • Labrador Retriever, friendly and energetic, Labs have a stellar reputation in therapy work.
  • Golden Retriever, naturally enjoys interacting with people and excels in communication.
  • Poodle, intelligent and friendly.
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, make great therapy companions due to their friendly demeanor.

Training Your Therapy Dog

Embarking on the journey of training your dog to become a therapy companion is both rewarding and impactful. 

Here's the event plan titled «How Does a Dog Become a Therapy Dog»:

  1. The path to therapy dog status begins with a solid foundation in obedience. Start by enrolling your pup in basic skills classes, which establish the groundwork for further training. The Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test evaluates manners and obedience and is often a prerequisite for many therapy dog programs.
  2. Once your dog has mastered basic obedience, it's time to focus on therapy-specific training.  How to train a therapy dog? With these commands mastered, your therapy dog is ready to offer comfort and support wherever needed: «Sit», «Down», «Stay», «Come», «Heel», «Give», «Thank You».
  3. Engage in volunteer work with your dog to gain invaluable real-world experience. Visiting hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and other facilities provides opportunities for your dog to practice therapeutic skills and adapt to different environments.
  4. Enroll your dog in therapy-specific training classes or work with a certified trainer specializing in therapy dog training. These classes focus on teaching skills like remaining calm in various situations, ignoring distractions, and providing comfort to those in need.
  5. Schedule an evaluation or test with your chosen certification organization. This typically involves demonstrating your dog's obedience, temperament, and ability to interact positively with people. Upon successful completion, you'll receive a certificate indicating your dog is a certified therapy dog.

Preparing your dog for a special mission in this world is a heartfelt journey, and Pawious is here to guide you every step of the way. Our brand is dedicated to ensuring your training is both effective and efficient with our state-of-the-art professional training e-collars. These collars utilize the latest technology, offering stimulation through sound, vibration, and static influences, adhering to modern standards to ensure the best outcomes.

But training is more than just techniques; it's about love and positive reinforcement. That’s why we offer treats made from natural products, perfect for rewarding your dog while promoting healthy joints and a robust immune system.

We work with immense love for dogs, and in return, they repay us with even more love.

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