How to Train Your Dog to Be a Therapy Dog

How to Train Your Dog to Be a Therapy Dog

Therapy dogs provide comfort, companionship, and stress relief to people in a variety of settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and even disaster zones. They can help to reduce anxiety, improve mood, and promote social interaction. If you have a dog who is friendly, patient, and well-behaved, you may be considering training them to be a therapy dog.

What Does It Take to Be a Therapy Dog?

Not all dogs are cut out to be therapy dogs. To be successful in this role, dogs need to be:

  • Friendly and social: Therapy dogs need to be comfortable interacting with people of all ages and backgrounds.
  • Patient and calm: They need to be able to handle unpredictable situations and remain calm under pressure.
  • Well-behaved: They should be obedient and have good manners.

In addition to these qualities, therapy dogs also need to be up-to-date on their vaccinations and free of any contagious diseases.

Training Steps

If you think your dog has what it takes to be a therapy dog, the next step is to start training. There are a number of different training programs available, but they all typically cover the following:

  • Basic obedience: This includes commands such as sit, stay, come, and down.
  • Manners: This includes teaching your dog not to jump on people, bark excessively, or beg for food.
  • Socialization: This involves exposing your dog to a variety of people, places, and situations.
  • Therapy skills: This includes teaching your dog specific behaviors that are useful in a therapy setting, such as visiting patients in a hospital bed or sitting quietly with a child who is reading.


Once your dog has completed their training, they will need to be certified by a recognized therapy dog organization. This typically involves a test that assesses your dog's behavior and temperament.


As a therapy dog handler, you will be responsible for supervising your dog during all therapy visits. This includes ensuring that they are well-behaved and that they do not pose a risk to anyone. You will also need to be prepared to answer questions about your dog and to provide information about the benefits of therapy dogs.


Training your dog to be a therapy dog can be a lot of work, but it is also incredibly rewarding. Therapy dogs make a real difference in the lives of the people they visit. If you are looking for a way to give back to your community and to make a positive impact on the world, then training your dog to be a therapy dog is a great way to do it.

Here are some additional tips for training your dog to be a therapy dog:

  • Start early: The earlier you start training your dog, the better.
  • Be patient: Training takes time and consistency.
  • Use positive reinforcement: Reward your dog with praise and treats when they do something right.
  • Enroll in a training class: Taking a training class can help you learn the best methods for training your dog.
  • Socialize your dog regularly: The more exposure your dog has to different people and situations, the more comfortable they will be in a therapy setting.

With dedication and patience, you can train your dog to be a valuable member of the therapy dog community.


Animal-assisted therapy organizations:

Training resources:

General information about therapy dogs:


The information in this blog post is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice. Please consult with a qualified dog trainer or animal behaviorist for personalized advice on how to train your dog to be a therapy dog.

Additional notes:

  • It is important to note that not all dogs are suitable for therapy work. Some dogs may be too anxious or reactive to handle the demands of therapy visits. It is important to evaluate your dog's temperament and behavior carefully to determine if they are a good fit for therapy work.
  • Therapy dog training can be a time-consuming and demanding process. It is important to be committed to the training process and to be prepared to work with your dog on a regular basis.
  • Therapy dogs play an important role in providing comfort and support to people in need. If you are considering training your dog to be a therapy dog, you are making a valuable contribution to your community.
#TherapyDogs #AnimalAssistedTherapy #DogTraining #ServiceDogs #EmotionalSupportAnimals #DogsHelpingPeople #PawsForComfort #HealingHearts #MakingADifference #DogLover
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