Therapy Dogs

Therapy Dogs are different than Service Dogs

Therapy Dogs service people other than the handler. They are used to comfort people in stressful situations such as people in rehab centers, veterans centers, children's hospitals, dental offices, or after disasters.

Therapy Dogs need to be trained similarly to Service Dogs. Therapy Dogs must have obedience training, Canine Good Citizen testing, and Public Access training.

Therapy Dogs need respond to the stress of others with a comforting paw or head in the lap of the distressed person.

Young girl in hospital hugging therapy dog

Examples of Therapy Dogs in the Workplace

A “Therapy Dog” is a dog trained to serve other

  • Dental offices: 
    Therapy Dogs can be used to help calm patients who are afraid of the dentist. They can be used in waiting room situations or actually in the dentist chair to cuddle with a patient while having a procedure.
  • Psychiatrist and Emotional Therapy offices:
    Therapy Dogs can also we used in psychiatrist and therapy offices in therapy sessions. Since patients can become emotional in sessions it can help to have a Therapy Dog to cuddle with and give comfort.
  • Physical therapist offices: 
    Physical Therapy can be difficult and it can hurt. This can be difficult especially for children. Having a Therapy Dog for them to pet as a result of a job well done can make things better and make the appointment more of a positive experience.
  • Funerals: 
    Everyone knows funerals are stressful and emotional. Therapy Dogs are now being offered on request at some funeral homes. Popular breeds for this purpose are Poodles and Doodles because they don’t shed. This is helpful when people are dressed in dark colors.
  • Senior care facilities: 
    Nothing brightens up the day for a senior like a furry friendly face! Seniors are often visited by Therapy Dogs in order to make their day better. When done on a regular basis it gives them something to look forward to on a regular basis.
  • Children’s Hospitals: 
    Children tend to brighten up when they see a dog walk in the room. Having a child in the hospital is also stressful for the parents. Therapy Dogs help to make things better for everyone concerned.
  • Veterans Homes & Hospitals:
    Veterans homes and hospitals love to have Therapy Dogs visit. At K-9 Companions our Certified Therapy Dogs are provided with the forms to qualify to visit VA hospitals all over the country.
  • Hospitals: 
    Many hospitals are now employing Therapy Dogs for their staff members. Working in an emergency room for instance can be very stressful. Some doctors and nurses appreciate having a Therapy Dog in the break room to pet and talk to on their breaks.
  • Events: 
    Businesses are starting to consider inviting Therapy Dogs to their yearly conferences and events. Like the photos shown below (taken at Game Stops annual conference) the dogs are often the highlight of the event from what we are told.
  • Disasters: 
    Everyone is stressed out after a disaster such as a tornado, flood, earthquake, fire, or mass shooting event. Therapy Dogs lend a warm paw and soft shoulder to cry on. They are guaranteed not to judge and to be more than willing to listen.

Necessary Training

  • On & Off leash obedience training
  • CGC (Canine Good Citizen Test)
  • Proper response to anxiety
  • Public access training
  • All therapy dogs must have the proper disposition
  • Must not be aggressive to other dogs or humans
  • Dog and owner must pass all evaluations
  • Must have all of the above training
  • Must be two years of age or older to be certified
  • The training takes one to two years to complete depending on dogs age

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