With the development of science, humans have discovered many health benefits for dogs, so in recent years we have noticed an increase in interest in therapy dogs and everyone tries to get these breeds. With the increase of daily life, therapy dogs become comforting and reassuring for people suffering from anxiety and insomnia, and they are also an excellent choice for those suffering from loneliness and sadness because they bring affection and comfort. For those who are in hospitals and retirement homes, therapy dogs are an excellent companion for extra comfort.
If you wish to have a therapy dog, you are sure to think about the best way for therapy dog training, all these issues will be covered in the following. But before that, let’s see What is a therapy dog?
What is a therapy dog?
Firstly, it should be noted that therapy dogs do not service dogs, as they provide a specific service to people with special needs who receive a full year’s service under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Nor are they emotional support animals, nor do they require special training or certification to perform this role; rather, therapy dogs provide companionship, affection, and comfort to some people who need a visit to deal with emotional or physical problems. But before we move into some important tips for therapy dog training, let’s talk about why you should train a therapy dog.
Why Train a Therapy Dog?
There are many very important reasons why dog owners love therapy dogs and train them professionally,” says Linda Keehn, CPDT-KA, a well-known therapy dog trainer and owner of a positive dog training program in New York City, that it is very beneficial to provide therapy dogs to all sick people. Many experts also confirm that therapy dogs offer many health benefits to humans suffering from physical and emotional problems.
This type of dog can help adjust heart rate, lower blood pressure and reduce anxiety by adjusting the ratio of certain hormones in the blood (bearing in mind that therapy dogs also benefit from this work). All of these features make everyone want to accompany therapy dogs to visit relatives in the hospital, but this is not possible if the dog does not obtain a certificate approved by a reputable national organization. Let us know that it is now possible to train any dog to become a therapy dog.
Can you train your dog to be a therapy dog?
In fact, the answer will be definitive: yes, with continuous and organized training, you can obtain an excellent therapy dog that can help people in hospitals and old people’s homes. Many of you are probably wondering how to make your dog a therapy dog at home or through professional and effective training. We will answer all these questions later: tell us if all dog breeds are suitable to become therapy dogs.
Which breeds make the best therapy dogs?
In fact, making a good therapy dog is mainly related to good professional training, but some dog breeds are more prepared than others to be therapy dogs to bring comfort for those who need it in hospitals, nursing homes, or other health care facilities … In what follows, we will provide you with a list of the best dog breeds to be used as therapy dogs:
1. Labrador Retriever: Labrador Retrievers are ranked first in the list of the world’s best therapy dogs, as they are very intelligent and able to adapt to all conditions, and are relatively easy to train. This dog breed is characterized by a calm temperament, likes to please people, is patient, and enjoys spending time with patients.
2. Golden Retriever: Mostly we see Golden Retrievers in all work roles because they do everything they are asked to do professionally, and they are a very social and friendly race for everyone, especially children. Despite their large size, Golden Retrievers are very friendly and gentle, so patients have no problems approaching and cuddling them.
3. Poodle: Poodles are originally bred to be a companion, so we find that they love to be with people and are excellent at capturing their feelings and responding to their needs in order to bring them comfort. These dogs are very intelligent, which facilitates the training process to make them ideal therapy dogs, as they are able to adapt to all conditions, making it easier for them to communicate with humans. Besides that, they are dogs that don’t need a lot of effort to take care of themselves, because their hair doesn’t shed and their saliva doesn’t run.
4. Pomeranian: This breed of dog is intelligent and unbelievably obedient, because they are curious, which helps them distract the attention of patients, relieving them of their pain and making people fall in love with them from the first visit. Pomeranian is a therapy dog who likes to sit on a patient’s lap and play with them to make him comfortable.
5. French Bulldog: This is another breed of therapy dogs that are very intelligent, easy to train, able to capture the feelings and moods of the people around them and they have a tremendous ability to adapt to any situation. The French Bulldog does not need much training to become an effective therapy dog, besides its small size allows it to move easily even in crowded places.
6. Greyhound: This dog breed likes to lie down and pet for a long period of time, and is very trainable and obedient, making it easy to keep calm. In addition, the hair of these dogs is very short and does not shed much, so they do not need a lot of cleaning.
7. Pug: An ideal breed for people who live in cramped environments and where there is not enough space to play, it is a very intelligent dog that instinctively knows when a person needs more affection, love, and support.
How long does it take to train a therapy dog?
Because the tasks performed by the therapy dog are simple compared to what is required of service dogs, the time necessary to train therapy dogs is much shorter than that needed by service dogs and typically lasts one year. But no one can determine this period with great accuracy, as it is affected by several factors, the most important of which is the personality of the dog, the training program, the dog’s age at the beginning of training, the breed, and the degree of attendance and acceptance of the training … You can get details from some of the professionals here.
Usually, this period is much shorter if training started at a young age, but at this stage, the puppy needs to play more than specialized training, so it is important to balance training and playtime.
How much does it cost to train a therapy dog? (therapy dog training cost)
Generally, the cost of dog training ranges from $7,000, which includes training for basic tasks only, to $22,000 for advanced and specialized training. This cost varies from dog to dog depending on the degree of difficulty of their training and the needs of the breeder.
On average, therapy dog training costs about $30 per session or about $250 per 8 training sessions. However, this amount may increase if the dog owner wants other services, such as personal training to recognize stress in the dog, which is part of the advanced therapy dog training classes.
Therapy dog training certification requirements
In addition to good training, there are many requirements for a successful therapy dog, the most important of which is that the dog must be at least one year old in order to register with one of the dog therapy organizations such as the Alliance of Therapy Dogs and Therapy Dogs International or other specialized national organizations. In addition to this, your dog must have completed all vaccinations and will undergo several tests to ensure its availability and ability to perform as a professional therapy dog.
With regard to behavioural issues, the therapy dog should not be shy and not show any undesirable behaviour such as barking, jumping and not obeying commands … In this way, your dog will be able to obtain CGC certification to be a trained and successful therapy dog.
Before testing your dog for certification as a professional therapy dog, you can watch this video, which will be very helpful.
7 Tips for Therapy Dog Training:
Getting a therapy dog that works with great effectiveness is a little difficult, and it is not easy to train a therapy dog because it requires a lot of work and effort on the part of both the dog and the therapist. In fact, training alone is not enough to get a good therapy dog, not all well-trained dogs necessarily become successful therapy dogs because of their temperament and many other factors. Furthermore, the reverse is true, as some dogs that are difficult to train can become excellent therapy dogs with a good and correct training method. Therefore, in what follows, we will provide you with some tips for therapy dog training:
1- Try to make your dog or puppy as social as possible by introducing it to new people, surfaces, and places.
2- Be sure to enroll your dog in a therapy dog class that will prepare you and your dog for visits, as the end of many chapters include therapy dog evaluations, making it ideal as a therapy dog.
3- After passing the test, register in one of the reputable national canine therapy organizations to start making visits, helping patients, and making people happy.
4- In order to train therapy dogs (You can use a train pet dog site that will help you a lot to get everything you want), try to deal with a certified trainer who is experienced enough to care for your dog and train it to become a professional therapy dog.
5- Try to give attention to anything that is positive reinforcement, as games and rewards go a long way in motivating the dog to do whatever you ask it to do. It is also necessary to build a strong communication relationship between you and your dog to gain its confidence and develop its skills to be an excellent therapy dog.
6- Some puppies or dogs that visit very sick patients and children have a lot of energy, which is not good for them, so try to reduce the energy levels of therapy dogs through frequent training.
7- Therapy dogs must be properly trained from an early age by teaching them basic dog training skills such as sitting and standing … This makes it easy to manage and guarantees great success in its life as a professional therapy dog.
I hope that this article on therapy dog training has won your admiration, if you have any observations or experiences regarding these dogs, you can share them in the comments.