Category Archives: Training

How to Become a Therapy Dog Trainer

Therapy dogs have been greatly helping a great number of people to do various daily activities. The animals can encourage patients in hospitals, children with learning disabilities, and injured war veterans to live actively and improve self-sufficiency.

The dogs are trained by professionals; there are also many organizations that provide training services for both handler and dog.  All professional therapy dog trainers have been trained, tested, measured, and certified by reputable organizations.

The following passages will list step-by-step procedures on how to become a therapy dog trainer. The processes are not actually very difficult; by properly following the guidance, you may easily apply and become a professional trainer.

1. Personal Quality

It is important that before you decide to inquire about certification requirements, you should possess the personal qualities of a therapy dog trainer. The easiest one is to be able to work conveniently with dogs in various situations. The ability to handle dogs properly and calmly is the greatest quality of a professional trainer.

You should realize that in real application, therapy dogs may encounter some unpleasant experiences; it is your duty to keep the dog in control without force.

2. Inquiring Certification Requirements

You are always allowed to contact therapy dog organization to inquire about the certification requirements to become a professional trainer. There are at least two reputable organizations including TDI (Therapy Dogs International) and LOAL (Love on a Leash) performing certification procedures.

7 Essential Dog Training Commands for a Therapy Dog

A therapy dog is a well trained animal by professionals. It is trained to provide comfort, affection, and support for patients in many health facilities and schools. There are certain characteristics that the dog should possess, but the most important one is obedient.

dog training command

Image credit: pawmetto.com

In any condition, the animal must obey the handler’s order. The dog should be calm and it does not indicate any sign of aggression in any environment. The first step to test the animals’ obedience level is by giving order with some basic and essential dog training commands below.

1. Come

It is one of the most important dog training commands that all handlers should master. The “come” command is useful in many cases; regardless of the situations, an obedient dog will immediately leave anything and come near the handler anytime the order is given. A therapy dog usually visits health facilities or schools; in those environments, the animal will see many things and encounter new people. There are always possibilities that the dog will behave poorly due to the pressures of the new environment. Under any unfriendly situation, the “come” command will be very helpful. Many times, some patients may want to pet the dog; anytime the therapy session is done, the handler can simply order the animal to come.

2. Stay

A therapy dog is often working with doctors or healthcare professionals. Allowing the dog to wander around the facility is a bad idea; the animal may distract doctor’s concentration during health examination. When the professionals are doing the job, it is good to make the dog stay where it is.

How to Train a Therapy Dog: 6 Methods Commonly Used by Professionals

Therapy dog is meant to provide comfort and affections for people, especially for those that are hospitalized or have certain medical conditions. The animals should possess friendly and calm characteristics; the interactions created between human and animal can be such excellent healing method or at least it can help healthcare practitioners to quicken the healing process.

how to train a dog

Image from healthypetfoodguide.com

Any dog of any breed can be trained; there are even many organizations or teams from all across the country that offer special training classes and programs. The following passages describe how to train a therapy dog using the methods commonly used by professionals.

1. Basic Commands

First of all, please make sure that the dog obeys some basic commands such as sit, stay, or walk. The training must be conducted in such gentle manner without involving any physical force. Use positive approach and tone to deliver the command; do not scream, yell, or hit in any case.

2. Interacting with strangers

A therapy dog will meet many strangers in hospitals and other health institutions. It is important to teach the animal to accept and positively approach strangers. Dog is an impressively loyal animal, but in some circumstances, it can be overprotective. This is not a good nature for a therapy dog; it has to be calm, obedience, and friendly to people. Please remember that in medical institutions, one of the patients may also want to pet the dog.

How to Find a Good Therapy Dog Training

A therapy dog is often seen in many public facilities and institutions such as schools, hospitals, and nursing homes. The main job is to provide comfort for the people in such environments. The animal is well-trained, so even in strange situations it will remain calm, obedient, and never indicate any aggression.

therapy dog training

Image from overtherainbowdogs.com

All across America, there is at least one therapy dog training organization in each state (Maryland, Denver, Michigan, New Jersey, Chicago, Massachusetts and more). There are even some national and international organizations that provide the services in US and other countries as well.

Below you will find three easy ways to find a good training club.

1. Contact a local therapy dog training organization

As mentioned earlier, there is at least one in each state. American Kennel Club (AKC) is a nationally and internationally reputable organization in this specific field; there are more than 50 other therapy dog clubs from almost all states recognized by AKC. This organization is always a good place to start.

2. Check online

All approved organizations have websites. Simply visit a local organization’s website and figure out the requirements and certification procedures. Also, check the policies, registration fees, and training schedule as well.

3. Consult veterinarian

A veterinarian should know any of the good dog training group/class. Ask for the advice and suggestions. Veterinarian plays a very important role in the certification process; he/she provides the health evaluation and certification for therapy dog organizations, so a veterinarian should be aware of any animal training program in the area.