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To Therapy Dog or Not to Therapy Dog, That Is the Question.

Updated: Dec 16, 2018

Your dog is sweet. She's a perfect breed for this. Everyone says that you should have her do Therapy work. So, why not? After all, it's not like you are one of those people. You know, the ones who get a service vest for their dog/peacock/gerbil and try to fly on a plane. You just want to have your sweet little girl/guy help people.

If your dog is sweet, that is wonderful! It doesn't mean that she or he should necessarily be a Therapy dog. There is a lot that goes into having a Therapy dog. Getting trained to a point where you are ready to test with an approved therapy organization will take time and patience. So much time and patience. Just some of the requirements are:

1. Must not react to loud or startling noises when walking in heel.

2. Must allow people to touch paws, mouth, teeth, and ears (including the inside).

3. Must allow multiple people to touch and pet from many sides at once.

4. Must not take any treats offered from anyone without express permission from you.

5. Must allow you to leave them with an unknown person and have excellent behavior with that person.

And that's just 5. I wouldn't even say the top 5, but it's a nice look at the intricacies of what a Therapy dog must do.

A great resource is

On top of being a Super Good Boy/Girl your dog must begin visits prior to being certified. That means that You, the handler, must be ready to train and visit with your dog before they are official. The AKC denotes these as the basics for their certification of a Therapy dog:

To earn an AKC Therapy Dog™ title, you and your dog must:

Be certified/registered by an AKC recognized therapy dog organization.

Perform the required number of visits for the title for which you are applying.

400 visits to earn the AKC Therapy Dog Distinguished (THDD) title.

200 visits to earn the AKC Therapy Dog Excellent (THDX) title.

100 visits to earn the AKC Therapy Dog Advanced (THDA) title.

50 visits to earn the AKC Therapy Dog (THD) title.

10 visits to earn the AKC Therapy Dog Novice (THDN) title.


This is just the tip of the Therapy dog iceberg. If you still think that your wonderful, sweet little pup is going to be a Therapy dog I am more than happy to begin that journey with you!


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