Dogs are like best friends to so many dog owners out there. They provide such a great deal of love and support. They can make a big impact on people’s lives and are extremely playful and friendly! Most people tend to register their dog as a therapy dog so they can enjoy some of its many benefits!

What is a Therapy Dog?

A therapy dog is like a service dog. However, it provides emotional support to their owners, and often to people the dog is surrounded with. Therapy dogs follow and help their owner in places like schools, hospitals, etc. They provide their support and comfort to students, patients, people with health conditions, etc. whenever needed.

How Therapy Dogs are Different from Other Service Dogs

There is a major difference between service dogs and therapy dogs. The difference is that service dogs are immensely trained to accompany their blind or disabled owners, anywhere, and these dogs are supposed to be allowed in all public places. However, therapy dogs are certified to help wherever their owner goes.

Benefits of Registering a Therapy Dog

There are tons of benefits to registering your dog as a therapy dog! Many of which will benefit not just you, but everyone else going through a tough time!

a Labrador wearing a therapy dog vest and getting petted

Helps with Mental Health

There are so many people that struggle with their mental health and is becoming such a big problem these days.

Therapy dogs can calm you down in case you have a panic attack. In fact, just by petting them, you can calm down.

It is even said that people who isolate themselves too often, can slowly become social with time, as they will have to go outside and take their dog for a walk.

They will provide their surrounding people with that kind of comfort that will improve their quality of life and give them a sense of purpose through taking care of the dog. They can even help in situations where their owner, or someone else, is going through a tough time.

Allowed in Pet-Free Rentals

The best part about keeping a therapy dog is that they are allowed in pet-free rentals. Pet-free rentals are those premises that do not allow animals on the premises or within it.

Therefore, you can take your therapy dog to these rentals if you wish! Therapy dogs have the right to accompany their owner on any public or private premises. This way you do not need to worry about having no company whenever you go out to any place.

Helps with Loneliness

As mentioned, therapy dogs, or any dog, can act like they are your best friend. Extremely playful, comforting, affectionate, etc. They can easily reduce your stress. In the same way, they can help with your loneliness. Dogs can encourage you and motivate you to improve the way you live your life, and they do this by lifting your mood.

What to Keep in Mind During Registration

The process of registering your dog as a therapy dog isn’t as easy as it seems. The process can be lengthy or stressful but you shouldn’t let that get in the way of doing it. After all, the outcome is so worth it.

a poodle who is wearing a therapy dog vest

Certification Requirements

There are of course some requirements in order to register your therapy dog. Well, the first and most important is that your dog should be friendly around unfamiliar people, and not aggressive around anyone in any situation. Secondly, therapy dogs should mostly be around 1-3 years old, and need to keep their vaccine current for obvious reasons.

And also, another requirement is that the dog should not shed a lot as it can become a major problem for people with allergies, and it can become chaotic as hospital staff will need to clean it up(if your dog accompanies you there).

Moreover, these dogs need to adapt to different kinds of environments as there may be a time when they need to provide support in immensely stimulating environments. These dogs need to be social but not too enthusiastic as it can become an issue when dealing with elderly patients. However, the goal will remain the same and that is to cheer up people.

The dogs used for therapy must be calm. This indicates that they do not easily become angry or stressed out. They need to enjoy touching and not get aggressive if a patient mistreats them. While some of these traits can be taught, dogs will generally need to learn some traits on their own or develop them, as well.

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Therapy dogs come across a lot of different people and different environments. For some therapy dogs, unusual or new environments or places/people can maybe come off as scary and frustrating. This will at some point cause some difficulty in fulfilling their role as therapy dogs.

This is exactly why therapy dogs or service dogs should undergo the process of desensitization as they will no longer fear or be frustrated with the unfamiliar. They can do their job the best they can without facing difficulty. Older dogs take longer to be comfortable around unfamiliar people and places. But, no matter the age or breed, therapy dogs will respond well to desensitization.

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