Many pet parents would love for their furry hound to be able to contribute to mankind in some way. While most loveable hounds do an excellent job of sofa surfing and rambling alongside their pet parents in the woods, with the right professional dog training, many can provide emotional support to the broader community.
Enter center stage, the emotional support dog!
As you know, our hounds provide us with a lot of emotional support and comfort. But they can also be trained to become therapy dogs. Our hound post today will discuss what therapy dogs are, how they are trained, where they can work, and the benefits of owning one.
What Are Therapy Dogs?
Therapy dogs are specially trained to provide emotional support and comfort to people, typically those with disabilities or mental health issues. They are often used in nursing homes, hospitals, schools, and other settings where their services can be beneficial.
Can You Train Your Hound to be a Therapy Dog?
You may have wondered if it is possible to train your furry hound to become a therapy dog. For the most part, the quick answer is yes. However, while it’s easy to teach the basic dog training obedience commands that will help your hound pass the certification process, professional trainers should handle therapy dog training. This helps ensure that therapy dogs have consistent and reliable behaviors, which is essential for their work.
Training and Traits for Therapy Dogs
The training required for a dog to become a therapy dog depends on the individual organization’s requirements. Generally, this includes the basic doggie commands to teach your dog, such as sit, stay and come. Therapy dogs must also demonstrate good manners around people and other animals. In other words, no yapping or uncontrolled leaping and bounding!
What Certifications do Therapy Dogs Need?
In order for a dog to become a certified therapy animal, they must meet certain requirements set by organizations such as Therapy Dogs International or Alliance of Therapy Dogs. These organizations often provide specific certifications required for certain environments where therapy dogs will be working (e.g., hospitals and nursing homes). Additionally, some breeds may not be suitable or accepted in these settings.
Dog breeds typically used as therapy dogs due to their good temperament and intelligence levels include:
- Golden Retriever
- Border Collie
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Of course, any dog breed can be an excellent therapy hound if they have the right personality and enjoy interacting with people.
Benefits of Owning a Therapy Dog
There are many potential benefits associated with having a therapy dog. For one, they can provide support and comfort to those in need. Studies have found that therapy dogs can reduce stress levels, improve moods, lower anxiety, and even help increase physical activity levels of people with disabilities or mental health issues. Additionally, by providing social interaction and companionship, therapy dogs can help reduce feelings of isolation.
The Last Woof
We hope this has given you a better understanding of what therapy dogs are and how they are trained. If you think your dog could benefit someone else as a certified therapy hound, we recommend speaking to a professional trainer. They’ll help you learn more about the process involved in getting your hound the professional dog training and certifications they need!