Step by step, I guess. If you don’t know where to start, here are some articles on finding a great trainer to work with: Therapy animals of all kinds and their owners/handlers can provide many benefits to all sorts of folks. I have been scouring the internet for information on how to obtain training and certify a chicken in order to take it to nursing homes, veteran facilities, schools, etc. According to Psychology Today, animal-assisted therapy is “a therapeutic intervention that incorporates animals, such as horses, dogs, cats, pigs, and birds, into the treatment plan. Many cities and regions have their own therapy programs, so do some research into what's available around you. Therapy animals are privately owned and tend to visit facilities on a regular basis. A great way to begin is to participate in the AKC Canine Good Citizen Program (CGC). It's a way for you and your dog to give back to your community together and many teams get as much enjoyment out of it as the people they visit do. Become a Therapy Dog Team. Once a dog and its handler complete all the requirements, they must go through a final evaluation, or series of evaluations, to become an official animal-assisted therapy team. Unfortunately, not every animal will be cut out to be a therapy animal (and that’s okay!). If you’d like to share your story about your pets or animals you’ve come across in the wild, please email me at animalsofpnw@gmail.com. Any breed of dog—large and small—can take on this important role and you can help out and become your pup's handler. If you want to be a therapy animal/handler duo, you’ll need to do some basic training with your dog. Helping your dog become certified as a therapy dog can be a rewarding experience for you, him and the people you meet along the way. The dog must have been owned by, and living with, the handler for at least 6 months (i.e., if a dog has been adopted). The basic doggie manners of sit, stay, and lay down are important, but their training needs to be more extensive than that. the benefits of therapy animals is still new, one study from the University of British Columbia, therapy animals are NOT service animals or emotional support animals, work with facility therapy dogs to help encourage. The ideal therapy dog is well-trained, well-socialized, and truly loves people. But if you’re thinking of becoming a therapy dog/handler duo with your dog and they would be a great fit, doing therapeutic visitations at places like retirement homes, rehabilitation facilities, and hospitals might be a great way to spend your time as a therapy animal duo. Household pets that are trained by the family, require no specialized therapy dog training, certification, registration, or documentation. Dogs must be at least one year old to become a therapy dog. However, many dedicated handlers and their dogs find that it is all well worth it in the end. Interested people without an animal must attend the one day workshop to become a volunteer ambassador and/or a college intern. The Providence Hospice of Seattle, for example, requires certification with Connecting Canines or Pet Partners Program, 3 months volunteer service with your dog at a different facility, submit a volunteer application, participate in an interview, pass a team evaluation, and complete their own volunteer … Training a therapy dog is no easy task, and often requires a lot of work on behalf of both the dog and the handler. Thanks so much for you comments, Andrea. A therapy dog must also be able to adjust well to new environments while staying attentive to their human handler. Therapy dogs work with a dedicated handler. Cue or redirect their animal without raising their voice, forcefully jerking on the leash, or offering the animal food or toys. Thanks for your help. Dogs must be well mannered and under the control of their handlers at all times. Therapy dogs will need to have a great attention span and temperament. The handler is a volunteer, just like the therapy dog. But I recommend seeing if there are therapy animal organizations near you that might have some advice (or even some training programs you could do if you found the perfect dog!). You and your well-trained pup will bring smiles to countless of faces and do a lot for cheering people up who may need it most. All around the northwest, there are animals of all kinds that work as therapy animals and bring joy to many folks. I did have a therapy dog years ago who I used for visiting hospitals. Must have completed 10 visits. The Providence Hospice of Seattle, for example, requires certification with Connecting Canines or Pet Partners Program, 3 months volunteer service with your dog at a different facility, submit a volunteer application, participate in an interview, pass a team evaluation, and complete their own volunteer training. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. Therapy dogs bring a lot of joy to people in hospitals, nursing homes, and other places. The Handler must possess the skills and knowledge required to visit people in various types of facilities. There are some things to keep in mind and some things to do before you and your dog can work as a therapy animal duo. Therapy dogs provide comfort and relief to those in hospitals, schools, and elsewhere. ( Log Out /  Additionally, these animals tend to be only half of the equation, as a responsible handler is just as important. And of course, there are many kinds of therapy animals other than dogs. 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