How Can My Dog Become a Therapy Dog?

Have you ever wondered if your canine companion has what it takes to be a certified therapy dog?  Curious to know what the therapy dog training entails?  Interested to see what the test looks for?  Well, we’re happy you asked!  As a therapy dog trainer and evaluator in Toms River, these are questions we answer frequently.

Certified Therapy Dog, Rose

Certified Therapy Dog, Rose

Watch as Lead Dog Trainer, Megan Ventura answers your burning questions in this quick video.

Video Transcription:

Hi, I’m Megan Ventura with Endless Possibilities and today we’re going to answer the question of how can my dog become a therapy dog? One of the most important questions you have to ask first is will your dog actually enjoy being a therapy dog? Though most dogs are able to attain certification, not all dogs would actually enjoy the job.

The other thing that’s very important to recognize is that it’s the dog and handler team who are tested and certified. In order to enroll in one of our classes we need a dog who has a strong obedience background and is really reliable with their sit, down, stay, recall, and loose leash walking skills, and overall responsiveness to the handler.

Our class is a six-week program. Each class is about fifty to sixty minutes in length, and on the sixth week, we actually test the dogs for therapy certification. In each class, we will work towards acclimating the dogs with a wide variety of therapy equipment as well as understanding that they have to work in and around other dogs without actually trying to interact and play with them since therapy dogs are not allowed to interact with other dogs when they’re working.

Though I am a certified evaluator for Bright and Beautiful, and that is who our class criteria are geared towards, we are able and happy to help any dog with any other organization should you choose a different one. All that we ask is that you bring those criteria with you so that we can acquire the same goals. Most of the organizations have the same rough standards of comfort level with the therapy equipment, and again, working around other dogs without interacting with them.

The test itself has components of obedience and interacting with people using therapy equipment, as well as a crowd setting and some loud noises. Since therapy work occurs in a large variety of different environments it is important that the dogs are comfortable and confident to do the job in any environment. The test really tries to encompass as much as a dog may possibly be exposed to as a working therapy dog.

A lot of people ask will their dog pass the first time? We have designed our course to be six weeks because most dogs who have a strong obedience background are ready in a six week timeline. However, if for some reason a dog was to not pass they would only retest for the components in which they failed, and as long as it’s done within a reasonable amount of time the organization does not charge a retesting fee. That testing fee is designed by the therapy organization itself, not by us as a company.

If a dog passes you then fill out the necessary paperwork and then send it to the appropriate organization and wait for your registration information in the mail.

Chow for now.

If you think your dog has what it takes or you want to learn more, please contact us.  We’d be happy to discuss your dog and help you decide if Therapy work is right for your dog.



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