5 Essential Therapy Dog Requirements

A therapy dog has special duties; the animal is trained specially by certain organizations or training teams so that it is able to serve the society in the intended manner. Commonly, such dog visits nursing homes, hospitals, schools for children with learning disabilities, and other health-related institutions. Some people believe that the positive interactions created between human and animal may improve or quicken the healing process.

a therapy dog with children

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Nonetheless, not all dogs are qualified for the jobs; there are some specific requirements to meet to apply for the profession. Some of the most essential therapy dog requirements commonly used by any training organization are listed below.

1. Age

Basically, there are two important aspects concerning age. First, the dog has to be at least 1 year old to be allowed to apply for the training. Second, the dog has lived for at least 1 year with the owner. It is also necessary that the animal does not indicate any aggressive behavior under many different situations.

2. Breed

In many cases, any dog breed can be trained to become a therapy dog including mixed breeds and pure breeds. It is believed that each breed has special properties, attitudes, and behaviors that are useful for human, for example for healing or health purposes. Some of the best breeds for therapy dog are Saint Bernard, Pomeranian, Greyhounds, Bullmastiff, Airedale Terrier, Labrador Retrievers, and more. Please put in mind that the mentioned breeds are merely examples; there are many more breeds that can also be such great candidates for therapy dogs.

3. Health

One of the most important therapy dog qualifications is that the dog should be healthy and regularly vaccinated. The health requirement is fairly complicated but is heavily essential. Remember that therapy dog is meant to help healthcare practitioners to bring quicker healing process. A thorough health examination should be done by an approved or certified veterinarian. The most common examinations include fecal exam, Heartworm test, core distemper, rabies vaccination, and more.

4. Fee

Enrolling your dog to a training program will basically cost money. Some of the best training programs are provided by non-profit organizations; they do not receive any fund or financial support from government, so they merely count on donations. The fee is affected by many factors, for example training and visit schedules, health facilities provided, etc. Commonly, it may cost you around 20$ to $190.

5. Tests

As a part of requirements for a therapy dog, a series of test will be conducted by the training organization. The animal has to pass the entire tests to be certified as a therapy dog. It is also possible that some organizations are working together to provide a sequence of tests to ensure the dogs’ ability to handle many different situations and to see how the dog behaves.

A different dog training organization may use a different set of therapy dog requirements, but they basically revolve around the same issues including health, age, tests, and fee. There are many organizations that provide such training services all across the country, so it should be easy to dig any information about the exact requirements.