Are you thinking about training your pet to become a therapy dog? The training process doesn’t have to be daunting. If your dog listens to you, obeys basic commands, and has a calm demeanor, you are more than halfway there!
Read on to learn more about training your pup for this role.
Why Is Training Important for a Therapy Dog?
Training, whether formal dog obedience, at-home learning, or for a sporting event, can all help dogs become certified therapy animals. Training boosts confidence, stimulates the mind, and strengthens the human-animal bond. Working with your dog lays the groundwork for manners, which in turn lays the groundwork for the skills and behaviors required for a therapy dog to provide comfort, companionship, and emotional support in a variety of settings.
Do You Need To Take A Training Class?
No official training class is necessary to become an ATD team, but if you’d like to have your pup trained by a professional, you can enroll in a dog obedience program near you. Basic therapy dog training consists of activities that improve dog manners, sitting quietly, walking on a loose leash, and socialization.
Training also includes developing the bond between you and your dog. This can be accomplished through long walks, games, daily practice sessions, and physical affection. Focusing on rewards, praise, and fun influence good behavior and teaches dogs to love working with their person. Getting your dog out in public to see how they respond to distractions is another great way to prepare your dog for therapy visits.
How Does Your Dog Become A Certified Therapy Dog?
If your dog is at least one-year-old and you feel they are ready to join ATD, you can visit our Join, Be A Member Page. From there, you will submit a background check and ATD Member Application forms. One of the forms is a health form, which you will need your local veterinarian to complete. After you have a cleared background check, a completed vet form, and have studied the rules and regulations, you’re ready to take the certification test! The ATD certification test includes a Handling Assessment and three observations.
For additional therapy dog training insight and test preparation, you can watch a video of what to expect at our Alliance of Therapy Dog certification test.
If you are looking to volunteer with your dog, our ATD office is happy to help answer any questions. We are always looking for new members to share smiles and joy!