Therapy Dog Training in Northern Virginia | Off Leash K9 of Northern Virginia
Every dog owner and lover knows how good it feels to be around their pet. While we love our cats, rabbits, chinchillas, and hamsters, a dog is the consistent “man’s best friend.” Therefore, it is no surprise that these loyal and devoted creatures are healing companions to many, bringing love, comfort, and companionship. There are so many therapy dogs in the United States,
and this demand continues to grow every day. And as the demand grows, so does the need for therapy dog training in Northern Virginia and the greater United States.
What Is a Therapy Dog?
Therapy dogs are also referred to as comfort dogs. These dogs help support a person’s mental health by providing love, attention, and comfort. Their unconditional love and sweet demeanors have a therapeutic benefit to people in confined living situations like hospitals and assisted living homes. And unlike service dogs, anyone can enjoy the comfort a therapy dog brings.
In cases where family and friends can’t visit or don’t visit much, connecting with a therapy dog helps fill that void. Research has it that interacting with a therapy dog can help boost physical and mental health. People diagnosed with mental health issues like depression, ADHD, bipolar disorder, PTSD, and even Alzheimer’s disease benefit from interactions with companion animals.
Some emotional challenges result from physical health issues, and therapy dogs also play an essential role in those. According to research, patients recovering from a bad accident, surgery, and those living with various disabilities show improvement when they interact with therapy dogs.
Such interactions help decrease stress, anxiety, depression, blood pressure, and loneliness. In addition, contact with therapy animals increases socialization, level of fitness, and mental stimulation. Therapy dogs go to nursing homes, hospitals, schools, libraries, and disaster-stricken areas. However, you can’t just pick your dog and take it to someone in a hospital or assisted living facility, for instance, to be a therapy dog. Therapy dogs require certification and registration.
What Qualifies Your Dog to Be a Therapy Dog?
Not every dog can be a therapy dog. However, if you have a loving dog, that’s an excellent place to start. Therapy dogs must adore human contact, petting and must be comfortable staying in one place, whether it’s on the floor or lap. With therapy dogs, you don’t need tricks, just an ability to follow basic commands. A therapy dog’s gentle, loving, and patient temperament distinguishes it.
Your dog may give you unconditional love, but that doesn’t make them good therapy dogs. Likewise, just because you’re an empathetic person, you might not be an ideal half of a therapy dog team. In most cases, therapy dogs need to have reached adulthood, with most organizations not accepting puppies under a year to be therapy dogs. Likewise, some organizations require therapy dogs to have passed the AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) obedience test. Other than that, the age or breed doesn’t really matter for therapy dogs. So, if you are looking at getting your dog to become a Therapy Dog in Northern Virginia, this is the advice for you!
Off Leash K9 Training: Therapy Dog Training in Northern Virginia
Off Leash K9 Training offers one of the best therapy dog training in Northern Virginia. The course is designed for dogs of all ages, sizes, and breeds. If your dog is loving, loves human contact, likes being petted, and is comfortable staying in one place and following basic obedience commands, they may not require the training. Off Leash K9 Training conducts the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen Testing before recommending your dog for a formal evaluation. After your dog has met all objectives, they head to the evaluation stage.
Off Leash K9 of Northern Virginia company provides extensive training to therapy dogs and their handlers before pursuing certification. The Therapy Dog Preparation Course is an 8-week program designed to prepare you and your dog for therapy dog testing and certification. Once your dog has gone through the training, next comes the evaluation and certification through a therapy dog organization of your choice.
Some organizations require that you submit a copy of the AKC Canine Good Citizen certification along with your application. However, most organizations require testing by their staff. The evaluation covers your dog’s ability to accept a friendly stranger, whether they can sit politely for petting, and their ability to sit in one place. The evaluation will also check on the dog’s appearance when it comes to grooming.
As the handler, you’re not allowed to stand by when your dog performs the skills. However, you can foresee any misconduct. Once your dog passes the test, you are expected to submit a comprehensive evaluation from your vet. After that, you can register with a therapy animal organization. You will officially have a certified therapy dog when all that is done.
If you have a dog you’re interested in turning into a therapy dog, get in touch with Off Leash K9 Training today. Our dog trainers are globally recognized, our methods are safe and effective, and our success rate is impeccable.