What is a therapy dog for? If you have ever wondered about therapy dogs, you have come to the perfect article. Keep reading to find out more about therapy dogs.

Therapy dogs accompany their owners to places like schools, clinics, and nursing homes for assistance.

Therapy dogs and their owners engage together to better the lives of others, whether it’s helping a toddler trying to read or meeting an elderly in aged care.

Service dogs are not therapy dogs. Service dogs have been carefully trained to assist people with disabilities with specific duties. A guide dog for a blind owner or a dog that supports someone with a physical impairment are examples of service dogs.

Service dogs accompany their owners and are granted special rights in public areas such as aircraft and restaurants. Attempting to pass a therapy dog off as a service dog for activities such as flying or getting into a restaurant is immoral.

What is a therapy dog?

What is a therapy dog for

People have learned more and more about the medical benefits of dogs these days. Consequently, there has been a surge in interest of the public in therapy dogs. Therapy dogs provide consolation to mourning or lonely persons and give compassion to humans in facilities such as hospitals, care homes, and schools.

A therapy dog provides comfort and compassion to those in a facility or who require visiting to cope with an emotional or physical condition.

Therapy dogs are not service dogs that perform a specified task for a person with a disability and are granted full public access under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). They’re also not emotional comfort animals, which require a medication from psychological health or universal healthcare practitioner but don’t require any specific training or licensing to perform their duties.

What are therapy dogs trained for?

You can train a therapy dog on your own or even with guidance. One side of a therapy team recommends that you search for a formal organization that includes well-educated instructors on their sites to support you on your journey.

If private instruction is out of the question, reread the CGC exam for the ten fundamental commands, then go to YouTube and look up videos for advice. Another alternative is to enroll in a group Canine Good Citizen class, followed by more focused and tailored training. While the ten commands are required to pass the CGC exam, exercise, particularly positive reinforcement training, is essential and lasts forever.

Your dog is gaining anything every time you connect with him. Encourage the desired behaviour. Maintain a degree of difficulty that your dog can tolerate. Use non-verbal and verbal clues to communicate clearly. It is not necessary to handle the dog. They learn to trust their impulses to sit, lay down, and do what feels good.

Why should you train a therapy dog?

Therapy dogs provide numerous physical advantages to the people they visit. They may aid in the reduction of heart rate and blood pressure, as well as the increase of oxytocin and endorphin levels in patients.

It is not, however, a one-way road. Therapy dogs have been proven to benefit from their service studies. Therapy dogs produce more endorphins and oxytocin than normal family pets.

“Therapy dogs visit hospitals, care homes, libraries, colleges, and natural disasters. Linda Keehn, CPDT-KA, therapy dog instructor, assessor, and manager. Proprietor of Positive Canine Training and Services in New York says, “Basically any setting where there is a customer so it would be useful for the dogs to be there.”

For instance, you can’t take your dog to see a relative in the hospital. Therapy dogs must be trained and licensed by a reputable national organization. Nevertheless, certification is the last step in a long journey towards becoming a therapy dog, which involves temperament testing, training, etc.

Can any dog be a therapy dog?

Even though your dog may show you love and affection, this does not mean they are suitable for therapy work. Similarly, being an empathic person doesn’t mean you’ll make a good therapy dog partner. So, what constitutes a fantastic therapy dog, and how do dogs and people be therapy dog partners?

Many groups do not permit puppies under a year old. Thus therapy dogs must be adults. Many groups also demand that dogs complete the AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) training test. However, some require a therapy-specific trial in place of the CGC. These characteristics are critical when a therapy dog is out in public. A dog that can’t “leave it” on command or pleasantly interacts with youngsters will fail.

Aside from that, age and type are irrelevant. Trainers would only test groups for whom they had no role in preparing to avoid liability. Apart from fundamental loyalty, the dog must have a naturally friendly demeanour, not be too immature or bouncy, and a strong desire to work.

Most dogs enjoy working. Your dog’s duty could be as simple as trekking beside you, or it could be something more. However, most dogs enjoy working, which is an excellent profession for them to possess. It’s not fair to force a dog to perform something it doesn’t want.”

How can therapy dogs boost your health?

Therapy dogs have been proven to assist people with mental health issues and psychiatric problems. Patients who suffer from depression, bipolar disorder, autism, ADHD, PTSD, and Alzheimer’s disease gain from interactions with therapy dogs and other service animals.

Physical health issues can also cause emotional difficulties, and therapy dogs can assist with that. According to research, patients who engage in animal-assisted therapy while recovering from a harsh surgery or a bad accident may have less pain. Studies have found such encounters to enhance the mood-boosting hormone oxytocin while decreasing the stress hormone cortisol.

Can your dog be a good therapy dog?

With a bit of training, any loving breed of dog can become a therapy dog. Golden retrievers, standard poodles, St. Bernards, and Labrador retrievers are popular therapy dogs. However, when the dog and the patient share a tiny space, smaller breeds like micro poodles and Pomeranians are excellent candidates.

The dog’s good disposition may be somewhat due to its breed, but it is primarily how the dog is reared and how uniformly its temperament develops. Dogs are examined and monitored for their sensitivity to stimuli such as loud or perplexing noises. Suddenly being grasped, or even gear such as canes or wheelchairs are evaluated before being approved as therapy animals.

What are the difference between therapy dogs and service dogs?

1. Therapy dogs

Comfort dogs are another name for therapy dogs. They provide attention and comfort to a person’s emotional well-being. Their charming demeanours and love and loyalty may be helpful for folks who are dealing with medical issues. A therapy dog, unlike service dogs, can be enjoyed by everyone.

2. Service Dogs

Service Dogs are assigned to carry out certain activities on their owners’ behalf. They go through extensive, high-end, task-oriented training to assist their owners with impairments. The Americans with Disabilities Act establishes provisions that allow these canines to join their owners in public places.

How are therapy dogs trained?

You have the choice of training a therapy dog on your own or even with help. To help you on your way, look for a formal organization that includes well-educated instructors on their websites.

The finest therapy dogs are older dogs (they are less energetic and know basic obedience), but you could start training your dog as early as possible to prepare it for potential as a therapy dog.

Below shown are standard practices to be trained as therapy dogs.

  1. Appearance and grooming: That’s when the dog let someone other than its owner examine its ears and feet as if it were at the veterinarian’s office.
  2. Pet the dog politely by sitting motionless and allowing the stranger to pet it.
  3. Embracing a friendly stranger: This test determines whether the dog will accept a pleasant stranger to approach it while out with its owner.
  4. Out for a walk: The dog ought to be capable of walking with its owner on a loose leash.
  5. Walking through a crowd: This exercise determines whether or not the dog can walk through an audience with its owner without reacting badly to anyone.
  6. Sit and down on demand, and stay put: Dog has to be able to follow simple behavioural commands.
  7. Recall orders require dogs to come when called.
  8. The final test guarantees that the dog can cope with being separated from its owner for brief periods.
  9. Reaction to another dog: In this test, two dog owners with their pets approach each other. While the owners have a brief talk, the dogs should obey.
  10. Distraction response: This test determines how well a dog can remain focused at hand.

What are the benefits of therapy dogs at schools?

Therapy dogs have indeed been utilized to help pupils return to school by providing comfort and support. Therapy dogs have been found to alleviate stress and create a feeling of attachment in stressful situations.

Universities and colleges are rapidly adopting therapy dog initiatives as an economical means of providing emotional and social assistance for students, given the influence therapy dogs may have on student well-being.

The human-animal link has a favourable impact on both people and animals. Studies have shown therapy dogs to lower stress physiologically (cortisol levels) and boost attachment reactions that produce oxytocin, a hormone that promotes human trust.

Dogs like animal-assisted activities too. Because of the human-animal bond, dogs produce oxytocin and reduce their cortisol levels whenever they interact with their owners. When engaging in animal-assisted exercises, dogs frequently feel as if they are at home, depending on the conditions.

Typical benefits of therapy dogs include,

  • Empathy and practical interpersonal skills should be taught.
  • Aid in the development of social skills.
  • Animals may be comforting, and their presence can help professionals and clients create rapport more quickly.
  • Boost people’s ability to detect critical social signs in human relationships. Professionals can utilize this information to help clients understand how their actions influence others.

Compared with the control group of individuals who did not spend any time with a therapy dog, university students reported much less stress and anxiety and improved happiness and enthusiasm after spending more time in a drop-in event with a dog engaged.

According to new research, students working with therapy dogs were more inclined to learn and had better results.

Therapy dogs are being utilized to assist children with emotional and social learning disabilities improve their reading skills.

Therapy dogs in schools have been shown to have a variety of benefits, including:

  • Attendance at school has improved.
  • Gains self-assurance.
  • Reduced anxiety among students leads to enhanced educational objectives, such as increased reading and writing levels.
  • Positive adjustments in learning attitudes and motivation.
  • A therapy dog’s trust and unconditional affection improve connections with peers and teachers. As a result, pupils can better express their emotions and form more trusting connections.

Watch Therapy dogs bring support to families in Uvalde, Texas | Video

Top 5 FAQs and answer related to therapy dogs

Below listed are five frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the context of “what is a therapy dog for,” followed by appropriate answers.

Are therapy dogs and service dogs similar?

No. Therapy dogs are employed to provide comfort to patients in various settings, including hospitals, care homes, mental health clinics, and doctors’ offices. A service dog is trained to assist soldiers and those who have PTSD.

Can my puppy serve as a therapy dog?

Sadly, no. This cannot be your dog’s primary training method. All therapy dogs should be at least one year old, have completed basic and intermediate training sessions, have passed the AKC Good Citizen test, and have passed an initial pre-training diagnostic assessment. Being a therapy dog requires effort, and puppies aren’t quite prepared for it. Appreciate their puppyhood, and then we’ll warmly welcome them into training.

When will my puppy be able to be trained as a therapy dog?

Although all puppies are adorable, and some are exceptionally well mannered, they require time to mature, experience life, and develop distinct personalities.
Before filing for assessment, all dogs must be at least nine months old and have been with their present owner for at least six months. This allows you to get to know each other and form a partnership.

What kind of therapy dog assessment would my dog have?

The evaluation includes various tests to check that the dog’s temperament and attitude are appropriate for this type of employment. The dog’s disposition is the most crucial aspect; size, breed, pedigree or cross-breed, first-owner or rescued status are irrelevant; the individual character of the dog and how it will react in various situations is the most critical consideration.

Is it possible to teach multiple dogs to be therapy dogs?

All canines must be evaluated individually with you, and their registrations will be assessed on their own merits.


This article explained what therapy dogs are for and explanations of how they are trained. The article discusses an extensive guide on the training of becoming a therapy dog. Health boosts and benefits of therapy dogs are also described. Frequently asked questions regarding therapy dogs are also answered.

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