"Helping owners achieve a well behaved dog without breaking the spirit"
I am often asked what is a
Therapy Dog, where
Therapy Dogs may go once they are certified, and if they may go anywhere in the
US. And my answer is that it depends on where you are wanting to take the
certified therapy dog.
A therapy dog is a well trained and socialized
dog who has been certified by taking a test with his owner which evaluates
the dog and handler's ability to work as a well-mannered team in order to
make visits to health care facilities and other facilities where a therapy
dog may make a difference in the lives of others. For people who love
animals, petting an animal can lower blood pressure, provide a smile to
someone who may not be feeling their best, and provide a little joy.
Therapy dogs are not only used in nursing home visits these days, but in
hospitals and libraries as well.
Some therapy dog certifying groups do not require special classes in order
to have a dog evaluated; many simply require that the dog be one year of
age. These groups leave how well prepared and socialized the dog is for pet
therapy work to the discretion of the owner. Other certifying groups not
only suggest therapy dog class(es), but also require several hours
of supervised pet therapy visitation, leading to a well prepared pet therapy
Therapy dogs are certified to go on pet therapy visits with facilities that
allow therapy dogs. If your dog was certified in Mississippi, but you have an aunt in Ohio who loves dogs and would
like to take your dog to visit her, you would work with the facility's
Recreational Therapist or Activity Director to schedule a visit, abiding by
their rules. They may require proof of all vaccinations and a recent fecal,
your dog's photo id, etc. They may only allow you to visit your
friend/relative, or they may be thrilled if you would allow them to set up a
visit with all of the residents.
Certification does not provide a way for dogs to go into places that don't
normally allow dogs. In other words, these dogs are not considered service
dogs and they are only allowed to go where they have been given permission
to go only for pet therapy visits. This certification will not provide
credentials for dogs to go on cruises, in restaurants, or any other place
where dogs are not normally allowed. Most certifying
organizations will revoke pet therapy certification if this is attempted.
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