A therapy dog is a well-trained and socialized dog that is trained to provide comfort, companionship and emotional support to people in need, such as the elderly, children, or people with disabilities. Some of the key characteristics and skills a dog needs to become a therapy dog include:
1. Temperament: The dog should be friendly, calm, and trainable.
2. Socialization: The dog should feel comfortable around people and different environments to avoid any kind of anxiety.
3. Obedience training: The dog should respond to basic commands and be willing to follow directions even around strangers.
4. Health: The dog must be up to date on vaccinations, and regularly checked by a veterinarian.
5. Handler training: The owner must also be trained and willing to manage the dog’s behavior and provide proper care & attitude while communicating with people who have diverse personalities.
6. Test: Finally, a therapy dog is tested for temperament, obedience & support, and never shows any kind of aggression to pass the assessment.
Rebel Ranch offers a six-week class that is geared toward owners who have completed basic obedience training and feel their dogs possess the temperament and skill level to volunteer within the community as therapy dogs. Handlers will learn about dog behavior and how to read body language effectively during this course. Dogs will become comfortable working around people and distractions to ensure they possess the demeanor and confidence to fulfill the requirements of the therapy dog certification.
Courses can be started at any time. The course is over six consecutive weeks.
Course Cost: $240 with payment plans available through Omella.