Changing the actions, aptitudes and attitudes of dogs and their people
What is a Therapy Dog?
Therapy Dogs are those that have been trained to a high standard to visit with individuals who may not otherwise have the opportunity to benefit from the therapeutic effects of interacting with a dog. Therapy Dogs are typically handled by their owners and taken to locations such as nursing homes or hospitals to visit with patients. School reading programs also employ Therapy Dogs to encourage children who are reluctant to read the chance to read to a dog that will not judge or criticize the child’s performance. Therapy Dog handlers volunteer their time to enhance other people's lives. Although the two terms are sometimes mistakenly interchanged, a Service Dog is one which has been trained specifically for a person with a disability to help mitigate symptoms of the owner's disability. Therapy Dogs provide beneficial interactions for others.
How do I certify my dog?
There are a number of organizations in the USA that offer membership to dog-handler teams which have passed an evaluation required for certification. Each organization has a different method of certifying its member teams. Members enjoy the benefit of group liability insurance during official Therapy Dog visits. Some, but not all, nursing homes and hospitals require Therapy Dog teams to be members of an official organization. If you want to schedule visits with local facilities, begin by asking what they consider acceptable verification of you and your dog’s training and behavior.
High Functioning Professional Therapy Dogs
Most Therapy Dogs are handled by their civilian owners in a volunteer capacity. However, through our sister company, Committed Canine, we have trained Service Dogs for professionals, such as school child psychologists or physical therapists for use in the workplace. If you would like a highly trained, high functioning Therapy Dog for a unique situation, please feel free to contact us.
How do I train a Therapy Dog?
You may bring your dog to a One Day Workshop to jump start your training towards Therapy Dog work. Alternatively, a few weeks in our Board & Train program will prepare your dogs to pass a Therapy Dog test once you practice your handling skills. Tammie relinquished her status as a Therapy Dog Tester/Observer in 2014 in order to focus more time with Service Dog training and her writing career. However, she retains her AKC Canine Good CItizen Tester status, if you would like to acquire a CGC as a preliminary step towards Therapy Dog certification.