What is a Therapy Dog?
Therapy dogs are specially trained dogs that provide emotional support and comfort to people in various settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and disaster areas.
Therapy dogs, distinct from service animals, play a crucial role in providing emotional support in various settings. These dogs, with their calming presence, have been historically recognized for their therapeutic benefits, a practice dating back to the late 1800s with Florence Nightingale’s observations. While they don’t have the legal rights of service dogs, therapy dogs are specially trained to interact in a friendly, non-invasive manner, helping reduce stress, anxiety, and boosting morale.
To become a therapy dog, there are certain requirements that must be met.
The process of becoming a therapy dog involves stringent criteria. These dogs must be well-behaved, have a friendly demeanor, and be comfortable around diverse groups of people. Their training includes mastering basic obedience and being adaptable in various situations, including noisy or crowded environments. Additionally, therapy dogs must maintain excellent physical health, be up-to-date with vaccinations, and receive regular grooming.
At Aly’s Puppy Boot Camp
There is a special focus on selecting and training puppies for therapy roles. We look for qualities like high pack drive, friendliness, and a desire for human touch, which are crucial for therapy work. We takes pride in our effective training methods, producing dogs that excel in providing emotional support. We believe that temperament testing puppies for this kind of work is our superpower, and we take great pride in identifying the perfect candidate for this important job. We have some FANTASTIC Therapy Dogs for Sale Candidates!
When it comes to selecting a puppy for therapy dog work, we’re looking for a specific set of qualities that are essential for success.
Qualities to look for in a puppy for therapy dog work:
- High pack drive: a dog that is eager to please and willing to work alongside their human handler
- Friendly and engaged: able to handle unexpected loud noises or startling events with ease and bounce back quickly, while looking to their handler for guidance
- Desire for touch from humans: a puppy that seeks out affection and enjoys being petted and handled is more likely to excel in a therapy dog role
The impact of a well-trained therapy dog is profound. They bring relief to those dealing with physical pain, trauma, and anxiety. Their ability to ease burdens, provide unconditional love, and inspire the best in humans is unparalleled. At Aly’s Puppy Boot Camp, the belief is that these dogs reflect some of the noblest qualities, acting as a testament to the healing power of dog companionship.
My personal favorite story of working with my certified therapy dog, Kozi, is from years ago. I went to the nursing home for nuns in our local town. There are only a few nursing homes remaining in the state that care for the amazing women whose lives were spent serving others; now, it was our turn to serve them. I would go a couple of times each month with Kozi and the nuns would have a chance to pet him, talk to him or ignore him if they wished. Each visit this one nun would see us walk by, kind of nod her head, but she clearly did not want to interact. No problem, I’d smile and walk on by. Finally, on one of our visits, she waved for us to come in. We did. I asked her if she’d like Kozi to get closer for a pet. Well, out of nowhere she suddenly said, “Get up here boy!” and Kozi looked at me, and I said “OK!”, and promptly Kozi leaped up, but very gently, like a Kangaroo landing on porcelain that he didn’t want to break, and into her lap he went. This was strange because Kozi, though a wonderful therapy dog, was not that forward in his personality, he’d always be willing to come for a nice pet, but is not the kind of dog that wants to be in your pocket. The nun’s sheer joy as she nuzzled Kozi was like a young child’s when they see the ocean for the first time or have an ice cream cone for the first time! It was BIG JOY! She obviously loved this dog, and I asked her why she hadn’t had us come by before, and she said something like her joy was focused on heavenly things, and now she realized God put these little creatures here to share the joy of heavenly things here on earth. I was so moved by her insight. I carry those thoughts with me still today. I’m always drawn to this quote from Nobel prize in literature winner, Anatole France, “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”
Halm, M. A. (2008). The Healing Power of the Human-Animal Connection. Am J Crit Care, 17(4), 373-376. doi:10.4037/ajcc2008.17.4.373