THERAPY DOG TRAINING
What is a Therapy Dog?
Therapy dogs are dogs who go with their owners to volunteer and provide pet therapy. They work in nursing homes, hospitals, psychiatric wards, shelters, schools and many other facilities. From working with a child who is learning to read to visiting a senior in assisted living, therapy dogs and their owners work together as a team to improve the lives of other people. These teams give unconditional love, boost self-esteem, and relieve loneliness and boredom. Did you know petting a dog will lower your blood pressure? The benefits are endless.
Therapy dogs are not service dogs OR emotional support animals (ESA).
Service dogs are dogs who are specially trained to perform specific tasks to help a person who has a disability. An example of a service dog is a dog who guides an owner who is blind, or a dog who assists someone who has a physical disability. Service dogs stay with their person and have special access privileges in public places such as on planes, restaurants, etc.
ESA'S are prescribed by a licensed mental health professional to a person with a disabling mental illness. Neither ESA's or Therapy dogs have the same special access as service dogs.
It is unethical to attempt to pass off a therapy dog as a service dog or ESA for purposes such as flying on a plane or being admitted to a restaurant.
Sharing the love and affection of your dog improves the lives of others in so many more ways than we can begin to comprehend. Your visit will be the talk of the town for weeks to come! While we recommend your dog be off leash trained, therapy dogs must have sound on leash obedience including: Loose Leash Heel with an Auto Sit, Stay for a minimum of 2 minutes, Down, and Come. Not there yet? No worries! From basic obedience to certification, we can help! Be you someone who just wants to volunteer their time or a social worker or clinician looking to add animal assisted therapy to their practice, lets get in touch!
Not every dog is born to be a Therapy Dog. Even though we may think it would be great to do with our dogs, it’s really up to them to show they enjoy this type of work. If we feel this is not the right training for you and your dog, we will let you know.
Our course consists of 6 group classes, weekly homework, one field trip to a Senior Living Community, the AKC Canine Good Citizen test (alternate: Community Canine for those whom have already acquired their CGC) and Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dog, Inc’s Therapy Dog Examination.
This class will prepare you:
for the many facets of therapy work available and what would suit your dog best
to read and understand your dog’s behaviors better and trust your instincts so you can support your dog during work.
for a variety of situations that may arise unexpectedly during a visit and how to handle them
for sounds and medical equipment and obstacles you may encounter
commands to help you navigate through facilities during a visit
While we recommend your dog be off leash trained, we require on leash obedience including: Loose Leash Heel with an Auto Sit, Stay for a minimum of 2 minutes, Down, and Come. Commands we focus on include: Stand, Legs, and a 5 minute down stay. We incorporate some fun tricks into the class as well.
*Not every dog is born to be a Therapy Dog. Even though we may think it would be great to do with our dogs, it’s really up to them to show they enjoy this type of work. If we feel this is not the right class for you and your dog, we will let you know. Both the AKC Canine Good Citizen Test and B&BTD, Inc Evaluation to receive your certification as a Therapy Dog Team. In the event that a team does not pass, you may re-test at our next class for free or you may retake the whole course for half price.