What it Takes to be a Working Therapy Dog Team
Many people ask what it takes to become a working therapy dog team. Below are some of the details that should be considered when determining if pet therapy is a good match for you and your dog.
- calm nature
- obedient/good manners
- enjoys being touched and meeting new people
- gets along well with other dogs
- at least 1 year old
- little or no reaction to distractions
- strong bond with owner/handler
- enjoys volunteering
- friendly and outgoing
- at least 18 years of age
- strong bond with dog
- postive attitude
- dress professionally
Paws 4 Hearts will provide and initial evaluation and assessment prior to any training or certification to determine if you and your dog are a good fit for therapy work.
Once you have decided to pursue certification as a therapy dog team, the following will give you an idea of what to expect during the certification process with Paws 4 Hearts.
- 6-10 weeks of obedience training
- Canine Good Citizenship (CGC) certification
- Therapy team training
- Final therapy team test and evaluation
- Mentored visits
- Therapy certification
Keep in mind, that not only is there a time commitment involved with pursuing this type of volunteer work, there are also expenses to be considered. For example, there are costs for the obedience and therapy training classes, as well as the CGC and therapy certifications. Additionally, there are the costs associated to making sure that your dog is healthy and current on his vaccinations, clean and well-groomed, and for travel just to name a few.
After you are certified as a working therapy dog team with Paws 4 Hearts, our teams are expected to make at least two therapy visits per month to a facility of your choice.