There are a number of different ways to train a dog to be a therapy dog. You can go through a private trainer. Depending on your trainer, you can have group classes or private one-on-one classes. You can go through pet store training classes. Classes at a pet store are typically group classes. Group classes offer an additional benefit of being around other dogs for socialization. The trainers teach the same concepts. Think about what works best for you and your pet. Below is a basic outline of how to get your dog trained to be a therapy dog.
1. Puppy Training for a Therapy Dog
These classes will focus on manners. Families work on house-training and/or crate training. Socialization is an important aspect as well. Exposing your puppy to new people, animals, and environments help him to learn how to handle new experiences as an adult. You can get a good idea of the basic commands taught in puppy training classes from this blog post here.
2. Adult Dog Training for a Therapy Dog
These classes will focus on loose leash walking and teaching the dog self-control. These classes also increase the dog’s ability to focus when in distracting environments and for longer durations.
3. Canine Good Citizen Program for a Therapy Dog
The Canine Good Citizen Program continues to develop the dogs ability to demonstrate good manners and self-control. Dogs and their owners are able to take a 10 point test at the end of the class to receive their Canine Good Citizen certificate.
4. Register in Therapy Dog Program
The program that I will register as a therapy team with is KPETS (Keystone Pet Enhanced Therapy Services). Another program is Pet Partners. These programs have an orientation class, a group test, and on-site visit before registering the dog and handler as a therapy team.
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