Affection, comfort, and support are the three words that best describe a Therapy Dog. But what exactly is a therapy dog?

A therapy dog and their handler are volunteers who comfort individuals in schools, hospitals, and nursing homes. Therapy dogs are not Service Animals, but they do require special training. Some Therapy Dog Groups, such as Canine Assisted Therapy, located in Oakland Park, require dogs to have passed the American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Test (CGC). Read more about the CGC Test here.

Other Therapy groups, like Alliance of Therapy dogs, will evaluate you and your dog as a team in three different locations and determine if you and your dog are enjoying the work and able to safely interact with people and the environment. Each company has their own method for certification to cover liabilities.

Not every dog has the right temperament for this type of job. Therapy dogs must be social and adaptable to new environments and surroundings. The training goals for aspiring Therapy Dog Teams are solid leash skills, polite greetings with strangers, a rocking leave it, and bonus points for fun tricks as part of the team’s repertoire.

Meet our friends Gracie and Laura, a Certified Therapy Team with Canine Assisted Therapy. They have taken many obedience classes with me throughout the years and have recently taken the Therapy Dog and the Tricks 101 class to add more memorable moments to their visits.

Therapy Dog team, Laura kneeling with her dog Gracie dressed up in a pink tutu dress.

Therapy Dog team, Laura, and her dog Gracie dressed up to bring smiles to people.

Trainer Heather with Laura & her Therapy dog Gracie Kneeling down facing the camera

 Trainer Heather with Laura & her Therapy dog Gracie

Here is what Laura has to say about being part of a Therapy Dog Team:

What I love the most is seeing someone’s face when they see Gracie, a moment of pure surprise and happiness, a complete change in the moment from whatever stress they were experiencing to complete joy. Then, my second favorite is watching Gracie have that same moment of happiness when someone new pets her, gets her favorite spot and tells her they love her.”

Therapy dog teams have been scientifically proven to lower blood pressure, improve mood, and even help struggling readers gain proficiency. Therapy animals positively impact the lives of many people throughout the community; they are different from the service animals that provide specific services for just one person.

April 30th is National Therapy Animal Day and we want to thank every team out there for all that they do. Our communities are all the better for the work that these teams provide.

Does this sound like something that you would love to do with your dog?
We can help you!
Whether you have a brand-new puppy or an older dog, we can help determine if this is the right job for your dog!

Text our trainers today at either of our locations:

Text– 786.933.4474
Call– 786.529.7833
4423 sw 74th ave
Miami, Fl 33155
Oakland Park:
Text– 954.833.0412
Call – 954.514.7059
5149 NE 12th ave
Oakland Park, Fl 33334

We’d be happy to chat live with you about your training goals and what steps we can take to make you a Therapy dog team.

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