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.

Before the certification processes start, you must at first register the dog. The animal also needs to meet the standard requirements concerning age, health records, and more. In general, such organization has a good deal of information about how to become a therapy dog trainer.

3. Training Process

After joining therapy dog organization, you should immediately begin the training process as instructed by the organization. Usually, you receive training materials and various instructions on how to train the dog. One of the most important parts of the training is to socialize the dog with many different environment, people, situation, and other dogs.

Basically, when exposed to strange surroundings, the dog should remain obedience and calm. Therapy dogs are usually obliged to visit hospitals or schools where they possibly meet many unfamiliar people. You should introduce the dogs to such environment during the training process.

4. Evaluation

You are allowed to ask the organization to send someone to evaluate the training progress. The evaluator will basically examine or observe how well you cooperate with the dogs.

This evaluation process may require you and the dogs to visit various types of environment; the reactions of the dogs when encountered by other animals and people will be examined. Your ability to keep the dog in control is as well essential.

5. Certified Therapy Dog Team

Visits to supervised facilities may be required by some organization before they grant certification to you.


Once the organization grants a certification, you will instantly become a professional trainer. Each organization may have a different set of requirements.

It is good to check on the organization’s websites to find valuable information. The Internet also provides a good deal of information about how to become a therapy dog trainer; making a little online research about this matter can help you pass the evaluation.