Therapy dogs are pets, owned by you, the "handler." They are trained to provide service to a wide variety of facilities and people, including hotels, schools, courts, airports, worksites, natural and human-made disasters, to name a few.
In contrast, service dogs are trained to provide service to one person. Therefore, we focus on therapy dogs, although we also provide education and consultation on helping people select and find "assistance dogs'' where a disability (emotional or physical) is involved.
So, what makes your furry, four-legged household friend a potential therapy dog? Here are some of the most important criteria:
Any breed can qualify, one year old or more, although certain breeds are restricted in hospitals and other facilities where breed stigma is an issue.
The right temperament, void of any aggression.
A love of people and a desire to be with strangers.
A lack of interest in other dogs.
Controlled behavior at all times.
Knowledge of basic commands.
You make a good team. The handler has good interpersonal skills to provide services to the community with time and compassion.
The ability to pass behavioral and written evaluations.
Do you feel this might be of interest? I encourage you to explore our site, learn what it takes to register your pet as a therapy dog and sign up for one of our virtual community college classes. Please see our Teaching Schedule.
If you represent a private organization, I also encourage you to learn about our Commercial Therapy Dog Services that bring joy and comfort to employees and customers.
Richard Katz, Founder, K9Ambassadors.org and Chief Therapy Dog Handler