Therapy Dogs are pets that volunteer at certain facilities and locations to bring comfort, support and entertainment to the people at those locations. Therapy Dogs are NOT the same as Service Dogs. They do not have public access rights and cannot go to any location without being invited to those locations.
What makes a good therapy dog?
Therapy animals should be of very sound and stable temperament. They should not easily startle or become anxious in new environments and situations. They must have good basic skills and manners. They must seek out and enjoy interactions with people. They must be able to work around distractions, such as noise, smells, food, equipment, and activity.
They should be in good health, readily accept petting and touching all over, easily accept human interaction while sitting quietly at your side when asked, maintain self-control in the presence of distractions, be house trained in any environment, and be under control by voice or hand signals.
Therapy Animals need to have the following skills:
Stay in place
Come when called
Loose leash walking and leash manners
Solid “leave it”
Be able to stay quietly at your side as you greet someone that has a “neutral”, well-trained mannered dog.
*All these skills should be trained to an advanced level under distractions since your therapy dog will be in
Therapy dogs should be at least 18 months old to be evaluated for therapy work. This means that they have likely had enough time to practice all the skills and achieve advanced levels for some time. This also means they have had a chance to mature and become calmer.