The mental test dogs have to pass to be approved as therapy dogs

Humans are learning more and more these days about the health benefits of dogs. As a result, public interest in therapy dogs has been increasing. Therapy dogs provide relief to those in anxiety-provoking situations, bring comfort to those who are grieving or lonely, and offer affection to humans who are in institutions such as hospitals, nursing homes, and schools. If you’ve got a friendly, well-behaved dog that loves people, you and other owners in similar situations might be wondering — how are therapy dogs trained?



What Is a Therapy Dog?


A therapy dog lends comfort and affection to people in a facility setting or to certain individuals who require visitation to deal with a physical or emotional problem. Therapy dogs are not service dogs, who provide a specific service for a person with special needs. They are also not emotional support animals, who require a prescription from a mental health or health care professional but need no special training or certifications to do their job.


Defining Terms Used for Animals Working in Support Roles for People with Support Needs



Why Train a Therapy Dog?

Therapy dogs bring many physical benefits to the humans they visit. They may help lower blood pressure and heart rate, reduce patient anxiety, and increase levels of endorphins and oxytocin. But it’s not a one-way street. Studies have shown that therapy dogs also profit from their work. Rates of endorphins and oxytocin are higher in therapy dogs than average family pets.


But you can’t just take your dog to visit a hospital or children institution, for instance. Therapy dogs do need to pass a certification program. The certification is the final hurdle in a dedicated process toward becoming a therapy dog, however, which includes temperament assessment, training and practical exam.


Humans are learning more and more these days about the health benefits of dogs. As a result, public interest in therapy dogs has been increasing. Therapy dogs provide relief to those in anxiety-provoking situations, bring comfort to those who are grieving or lonely, and offer affection to humans who are in institutions such as hospitals, nursing homes, and schools. If you’ve got a friendly, well-behaved dog that loves people, you and other owners in similar situations might be wondering — which dogs are suitable to become therapy dogs and what is the mental test they have to go through to be approved for future training?