If you’re considering getting a therapy dog for your family or even your pet dog, then you should understand the basics of dog training and what it really means. Dog training is about teaching your dog how to interact with others, how to obey rules and even how to play games. Dog training doesn’t mean that you have to train your dog to be aggressive and live up to the stereotypes. In fact, therapy dogs are typically much friendlier than their standard Service or Therapy dogs.
Dog training, unlike most specialized dog training, is usually performed on an individual basis depending on the dogs abilities and behavior. Most therapy dogs are very different from traditional service or assistance dogs. A traditional service dog is typically a working dog that has been taught to perform certain tasks to help a human with a physical disability, say a wheelchair bound person. Service and therapy dogs however are bred specifically to function in the role of a guide and are trained to do tasks such as seeing sick people or handling highly fearful animals.
In general, a therapy dog can be any of the following: a therapy dog for guide dogs, a search-and-rescue dog, a bomb dog, a horse (for equestrian therapy), a dog trained for agility, hunting, law enforcement, deafness, autism, diabetes, blindness or cancer. In order to qualify as a therapy dog, the dog must meet all the criteria and be registered with the American Therapy Association, and have undergone all required vaccinations. Therapy dogs should also undergo an extensive professional clean up before being adopted by a new owner so they are fit to be placed with potential owners. Some dogs may need additional training after being adopted, as therapy dogs tend to have a large demand for continuous attention, patience and supervision from their owners.
It is estimated that there are hundreds of thousands of dogs in shelters across the nation who don’t receive proper medical care or behavioral training. For this reason, many dogs are treated improperly during their first years in shelters. However, with the proper information and in-home dog training, most dogs learn to adjust easily to their new environment and can make wonderful companions for the elderly or handicapped. Due to the high demand for therapy dogs, there are also many organizations that have developed national dog training guidelines to help dog owners to ensure the health and safety of their dogs.
Every dog owner who trains their canine companion to be a therapy dog must do their part to become educated on the training process. This involves reading up on the necessary paperwork and understanding the steps required for the certification and licensing process. Every dog breed requires a different set of behaviors in order to be considered a therapy dog. Because of this, it is extremely important that the right dog for the right patient comes into contact with the right patient.
Every dog breed requires different amounts of attention, exercise, and training in order to become obedient, loving, and helpful companions. Therefore, therapy dogs must go through obedience classes that educate them on how to interact with other dogs, how to be a good citizen in general, and how to behave when around people. In addition to learning how to be a good canine citizen, therapy dogs must also undergo a battery of tests in order to assess their suitability as therapy animals. These tests not only assess the dog’s personality but also his or her physical attributes such as endurance, agility, intelligence, and temperament.
There are many reasons why so many organizations take time to train dogs and teach them the skills needed for therapy. One is the fact that dogs provide emotional support to their human companions by reducing the emotional load that their companions may be experiencing. Therapy dogs allow their human companions to reduce their level of stress by simply distracting them from the emotional challenges of life. Another reason why therapy pets are so valuable to hospitals is because they allow patients to maintain their independence by eliminating the requirement for a full-time caregiver. In addition to being a great help in rehabilitation, these dogs provide an emotional support that is absolutely priceless.
For those who are considering becoming a therapy dog, it is important to realize that just like any other animal, therapy animals should be socialized from a very young age. Even puppies should be socialized so that they will learn how to behave around other people. Socialization can take place in numerous ways including attending obedience classes, participating in activities designed to help people cope with disabilities, or even just spending time with other dogs. Once a dog has been properly socialized, it will make it easier for him or her to accept any strangers and help people with whatever needs they may have. Many hospitals will even have you fill out a short application so that you will know if you meet the requirements to become a therapy dog. Once you do meet the requirements, you will be ready to get your dog and hit the ground running!