How to Train Your Dog to be a Therapy Dog at Home – Collaboration
Humans are beginning to appreciate the power of dogs overwhelmingly. If their cheerfulness alone isn’t enough, studies show that owning a dog comes with several health benefits as well. As the helping mentality is innate for dogs, training them to be a therapy dog could be a fantastic idea.
What is a Therapy Dog?
A therapy dog is a canine trained to provide comfort and affection. They offer solace to individuals in stress, hospitals, retirement homes, people with mental disabilities, or anyone who needs emotional support. Therapy dogs could be of any breed, with their primary characteristic being temperamental. They are friendly, patient, gentle, confident, and can ease into all situations.
Unlike service dogs, they do not need rigorous education to prepare them for complex tasks. The owner could easily train therapy dogs, but they should obtain a certification or a medical letter of recommendation.
Can your Dog be a Therapy Dog?
Though your dog is kind and empathetic, that does not necessarily mean that they would be an ideal fit for therapy work. For one, the pup must have attained adulthood, as many organizations do not allow dogs under a year old. Your dog should also be able to pass specific obedience tests to ensure that it can interact with everyone, especially children, in a friendly manner.
According to the experts at Canine Good Citizen, to pass the test, apart from being temperamental, your dog should also be keen to take up a job and offer help. If not, it is not fair to force them to do a task.
How to Train your Dog
- Socialize your dog
Consistent socialization would help your dog to increase their exposure to different people. It is recommended to do it in different locations starting at an early age. Make sure to encourage them to interact with all ages, genders, ethnicities, and differently challenged people. It would also be a great idea to get along with those on bicycles or using other equipment such as strollers or skateboards.
- Socialize with other dogs
It is not only humans they should interact with but also other animals. You can take them to parks for your dog to play with other dogs frequently. Your vet’s place should also be an excellent choice for your dog to meet other animals, and if possible, mingle with them.
- Give them obedience training
A therapy dog has to be reliable and respond to commands immediately. Doing obedience training could help them to understand commands such as to come when called or to lie down. You can teach them by both verbal commands or clicker sounds. Positive reinforcement, such as a treat after they complete an action, might be a good approach.
Focus on Your Relationship
If you are training them to be your therapy dog, then building a trusting relationship plays a crucial role. Spend a lot of quality time with them playing, teaching, and talking. Be fair and kind for them to trust you as well.
If you need any assistance, you can join a therapy dog class that will prepare both you and your dog to get more insight. A kind, well-mannered and well-behaved dog can make a huge difference in yours as well as the lives of those around.