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Therapy Dogs

Does Your Dog enjoy receiving attention from
anyone and everyone?  Does Your Dog enjoy being touched by anyone and everyone?  Is Your Dog comfortable and gentle with all kinds of People?  Is Your Dog comfortable  in new environments?

If you answered yes to all of the above, Your Dog might have the Temperament needed for becoming a Certified Therapy Dog!

Temperament is not all that's required of a Therapy Dog. 

In addition to welcoming attention and touch from all types of People, Therapy Dogs and their Handler have Advanced Training which allows them to work together as a Safe, Happy Team.  Many Therapy Organizations require the Team to have also passed the
AKC Canine Good Citizen Test.  

During an example visit to a Facility, a Therapy Dog will need to be able to:

~ Leave food, medication and other items alone;

~ Walk politely on a loose leash past people and through hallways;

~ Wait calmly at doorways as he waits to be invited into a room for visiting;

~ Move quickly out of the way in case of emergency situations;

~ Respond to cues promptly;

~ Remain calm around items such as wheelchairs, walkers, medical equipment and a variety of sounds;

~ Reposition himself on cue
in a sit, down or stand to allow for petting and interaction in a variety of circumstances (visiting with someone in a wheelchair, in a bed, etc.).

Being a Handler on a Therapy Dog Team also requires certain abilities.

Being the Handler on a Therapy Dog Team requires certain skills and abilities, for example, being respectful, courteous, helpful and compassionate toward the individuals with whom they are visiting and also with the Staff at the facility where they are visiting.  The Handler must also maintain awareness at all times of not only their Therapy Dog but also the People around them as well as the siutations and events taking place in the Environment.

If you have a dog with a "rock solid" temperament, consider volunteering your time and energy and sharing your dog with the many people and children who are waiting for and in need of a Therapy Dog visit.  Nothing brightens a room and lifts the spirit like the wagging tail and smile of a dog!

For more information on Therapy Dog Training and Testing, call us at 479.474.1825 or email mary@mysmartdogs.com.

~ For several years, Certified Therapy Dog GingerPeach and I volunteered our time as a Therapy Dog team (shown in the pics on this page).  We focused our visits primarily to nursing homes and I found these experiences to be powerfully life-changing.  It is hard to say who benefited more from these therapy visits - the residents with whom we visited or GingerPeach and me.  We also accepted several invitations to participate in reading events at elementary schools and found those visits to also be incredibly enriching experiences.  GingerPeach is currently on break from Therapy Dog work due to complications associated with her Epilepsy. ~

Nothing brightens a room and lifts the spirit like the wagging tail and company of a dog. ~ SMART DOGS

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