How Do You Make Your Dog a Therapy Dog?

make-dog-therapy-dog Credit: Belmont Journal/Flickr/CC-BY-2.0

Although there are many ways to make your dog a therapy dog, notes that it is primarily a matter of carefully considering your dog's traits and behaviors, as well as your own ability to handle being in public with your dog. After that, as long as you have a good natured, well-behaved dog, then you simply need to register the dog through a dog therapy organization.

  1. Analyze your personality

    Since dogs pick up on their owners' emotions, it is crucial that you have the disposition for therapy work. Do you enjoy meeting new people? Do you trust your dog? Are you calm no matter what happens? If not, your dog's performance in the field may likely suffer.

  2. Observe your dog

    Therapy dogs must have the right disposition. Does your dog love being around people? Is your dog calm in all situations? Does your dog have a gentle temperament and like being touched? Only pursue dog therapy work if you can honestly answer "yes" to all these questions.

  3. Make sure the dog is obedient

    A therapy dog should respond to basic commands, such as sit, come and stay. You can teach these commands, or take the dog to formal obedience training classes.

  4. Become registered as a therapy dog team

    A number of organizations, such as Therapy Dogs International and the Delta Society, register therapy dog teams based on obedience, personality and health of the dog. Some also require team training courses. Obtaining registration is essential, as most facilities require proof that a dog is suitable for therapy work.