Therapy Dog Training
Therapy dog training is a method of training dogs to provide affection and comfort to people in places including:
• retirement homes
• nursing homes
• mental institutions
• disaster areas
The idea behind therapy dog training is often most given credit to discovery by Elaine Smith, an American nurse who noticed how well patients responded to visits by a chaplain, who would always bring his golden retriever companion. In the late 1970’s, Ms. Smith started a therapy dog training program, and enabled therapy dogs to be allowed to visit different institutions. Over the years, many studies have been done to substantiate the benefits of therapy dog training, and the therapeutic effects the dogs themselves provide including:
• stress relief
• lowering of high blood pressure levels
• depression relief
Therapy dog training has also been proven beneficial when therapy dogs have been called in to help children overcome speech disorders, and emotional difficulties.
Breeds that are best candidates for therapy dog training can vary. Therapy dogs come in all shapes and sizes. The most important thing to consider when considering a dog for therapy dog training is the temperament of the dog. A good candidate for therapy dog training is a dog who is confident yet patient, and gentle and at ease in all situations. Dogs who do best in therapy dog training are content being handled and petted.
Therapy dog training has many objectives, but the primary function of a therapy dog is to bring joy into the lives of unfamiliar people by allowing them to make contact with him. After therapy dog training, the dog will enjoy the contact, and will even be able to perform small tricks for his new friends.
One important thing to remember is that therapy dog training will not certify your dog as a service dog. Service dogs directly assist disable humans in performing tasks they cannot perform on their own, and have the legal right to travel everywhere with their companions. Therapy dog training will provide testing and accreditation, but therapy dogs must be invited institutions, and most institutions have a list of rules and requirements when it comes to therapy dogs.