What Do You Need to Train Therapy Dog

Therapy dogs play a crucial role in providing emotional support and comfort to individuals in need. Whether it’s visiting hospitals, nursing homes, or schools, these four-legged friends have the incredible ability to improve the lives of those they encounter. However, training a therapy dog requires dedication, patience, and a deep understanding of the necessary skills and behaviors.

Having a therapy dog can bring about numerous benefits not only to individuals but also to communities as a whole. These furry companions have been known to reduce stress levels, boost moods, and provide comfort during challenging times. Their presence creates an environment that promotes healing and emotional well-being for everyone involved. The impact that therapy dogs can have on individuals struggling with mental health issues or dealing with physical limitations is immeasurable.

To embark on the journey of training a therapy dog, it is crucial to understand what exactly constitutes a therapy dog and their purpose. A therapy dog is different from service dogs or emotional support animals; their primary role is to offer comfort, companionship, and affection to people in various settings. They are trained to be calm, friendly, and well-behaved so they can effectively interact with individuals who may be experiencing distress or trauma.

Training a therapy dog requires certain characteristics and temperaments that are best suited for this type of work. While any breed has the potential to become a therapy dog with proper training and temperament evaluation, some breeds tend to excel in this field more than others due to their gentle nature and willingness to socialize. Understanding these breed characteristics will help guide individuals in selecting the best-suited companion for therapy work.

Benefits of Owning a Therapy Dog

Therapy dogs play a crucial role in improving the lives of individuals and communities. The benefits of owning a therapy dog are numerous and can have a profound impact on emotional well-being and overall quality of life. These incredible animals provide comfort, support, and companionship to those in need, including children, the elderly, and individuals with physical, emotional, or mental health challenges.

One significant benefit of owning a therapy dog is their ability to reduce stress and anxiety. Interactions with therapy dogs have been shown to decrease cortisol levels (the stress hormone) and increase the release of endorphins (the feel-good hormones).

This can lead to enhanced mood, relaxation, and an overall sense of well-being. Therapy dogs are especially effective in settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and rehabilitation centers where individuals may be experiencing high levels of stress or anxiety.

In addition to reducing stress, therapy dogs also improve socialization skills in individuals. Many therapy dog programs involve visits to schools or community centers where children can interact with the dogs in a structured setting. These interactions promote communication skills, empathy, and emotional regulation while providing a safe space for individuals to practice social interactions.

The non-judgmental nature of dogs allows people to feel more comfortable expressing themselves without fear of criticism or rejection. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals who struggle with social anxiety or developmental disorders.

Lastly, owning a therapy dog has been shown to enhance physical health outcomes. Studies have indicated that interacting with therapy dogs can reduce blood pressure and heart rate in individuals with hypertension or cardiovascular conditions. The presence of a therapy dog during physical rehabilitation sessions has also been found to increase motivation and engagement in exercises.

Reduces Stress and AnxietyInteracting with therapy dogs decreases cortisol levels and increases endorphin release, leading to improved mood and relaxation.
Enhances Socialization SkillsTherapy dog interactions promote communication skills, empathy, emotional regulation, and provide a safe space for practicing social interactions.
Improves Physical HealthInteracting with therapy dogs can reduce blood pressure and heart rate in individuals with hypertension or cardiovascular conditions, and increase motivation in physical rehabilitation.

What is a Therapy Dog

Therapy dogs play a vital role in providing emotional support and comfort to individuals in various settings. These dogs are trained to offer companionship and interact with people who may be experiencing physical or mental health challenges. Understanding the purpose and role of therapy dogs is essential for anyone considering training their dog for this valuable work.

The primary purpose of therapy dogs is to bring joy, comfort, and assistance to those in need. They are frequently used in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and rehabilitation centers, where they help ease feelings of loneliness and anxiety. Therapy dogs also have a significant impact on individuals with cognitive impairments or developmental disabilities by promoting social interactions and enhancing communication skills.

Benefits of Therapy Dogs

Owning a therapy dog can have numerous benefits for both individuals and communities. Some key advantages include:

  1. Emotional Support: Interacting with therapy dogs has been proven to reduce stress levels, lower blood pressure, and promote feelings of calmness. These positive effects contribute to overall emotional well-being.
  2. Socialization: Therapy dogs provide opportunities for individuals to engage in social interactions, which can be particularly beneficial for those who struggle with shyness or anxiety. The presence of a therapy dog can help create an inviting environment that encourages connection and conversation.
  3. Physical Health Improvement: Research suggests that being around animals can result in improved physical health outcomes such as increased activity levels, enhanced motor skills development, and even pain reduction.
  4. Psychological Benefits: The unconditional love and non-judgmental nature of therapy dogs can boost self-esteem, improve mood, reduce symptoms of depression or anxiety disorders, and provide emotional stability during difficult times.

Understanding the purpose and benefits of therapy dogs is crucial when considering training your dog for this role. With the right temperament, training program, and handler relationship-building skills in place (as outlined earlier), you can embark on this rewarding journey to make a significant impact on the lives of others.

Characteristics and Temperament of Therapy Dogs

Therapy dogs play a crucial role in providing emotional support and comfort to individuals in need. Their characteristics and temperament are essential factors in determining whether they are suited for therapy work. Certain dog breeds have natural traits that make them well-suited for this type of service.

When it comes to therapy dogs, one of the key characteristics to look for is a calm and gentle temperament. Therapy dogs must be able to remain calm in various situations and not be easily startled or aggressive. Breeds that are known for their calm nature include Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

Another important characteristic of therapy dogs is their ability to handle new environments and people with ease. They should be comfortable in unfamiliar settings, as they will often work in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and other public places. Breeds like the Beagle, Boxer, and Poodle tend to adapt well to different environments and maintain a friendly disposition towards strangers.

Additionally, therapy dogs need to be patient and tolerant of physical contact from individuals of all ages. They should enjoy being petted and handled without becoming anxious or agitated. Breeds such as the Saint Bernard, Great Dane, and Greyhound are known for their gentle nature and willingness to interact with people.

While certain breeds may have characteristics that make them well-suited for therapy work, it’s essential to remember that individual temperaments can vary within each breed. Before choosing a breed for training as a therapy dog, it is crucial to consider an individual dog’s personality traits rather than relying solely on breed generalizations.

Understanding the characteristics and temperament of dogs best suited for therapy work lays the foundation for successful training and development as a therapy dog team. By selecting breeds known for their calmness, adaptability, friendliness towards strangers, patience, tolerance of physical contact, handlers can increase the likelihood of success when training their therapy dogs.

The Basic Requirements for Training a Therapy Dog

Training a therapy dog requires teaching them essential skills and behaviors that will enable them to provide emotional support and comfort effectively. Here are some of the basic requirements for training a therapy dog:

  1. Obedience Training: Obedience training is crucial for therapy dogs as it helps them learn basic commands such as sit, stay, come, and heel. This training ensures that therapy dogs can follow instructions from their handlers reliably and behave appropriately in various situations. It is also vital for maintaining control and ensuring the safety of both the dog and the individuals they interact with.
  2. Socialization: Socialization is key to developing a well-rounded therapy dog. Therapy dogs should be exposed to different people, animals, environments, and experiences to become comfortable in various settings. Proper socialization helps them remain calm and confident when faced with new or challenging situations during their therapy work.
  3. Basic Manners: Along with obedience training, therapy dogs should exhibit good manners when interacting with others. They should not jump on people, pull on leashes, or engage in excessive barking. Teaching them polite behaviors like greeting individuals calmly, walking politely on a leash without pulling, and waiting patiently for cues will make them more effective in their roles as therapy dogs.

To achieve these requirements effectively, trainers may utilize various training techniques such as positive reinforcement, clicker training, or reward-based methods to help develop desired behaviors in therapy dogs.

Overall, it is important to understand that the basic requirements for training a therapy dog are just the foundation. Continued practice and reinforcement are necessary throughout their lives to maintain their skills and ensure they can provide consistent emotional support wherever they are needed.

Some important skills and behaviors to develop during training include

  • Responding reliably to basic commands (sit, stay, come)
  • Walking politely on a leash without pulling
  • Not jumping on people or furniture
  • Remaining calm and focused in various environments
  • Tolerating physical contact and handling from strangers
  • Remaining calm around other animals, including dogs
  • Recognizing and responding appropriately to distress signals or anxiety in individuals
  • Maintaining a gentle and calm demeanor during interactions
  • Being comfortable with medical equipment, such as wheelchairs or crutches (if applicable)
Do Training Callers Work on Small Dogs

It is important to note that not all dog breeds are suitable for therapy work. While any breed can potentially become a therapy dog, certain characteristics are more commonly found among breeds that excel in this role.

Breeds such as Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Poodles, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are known for their friendly disposition, intelligence, and adaptability – making them popular choices for therapy work. However, it ultimately depends on the individual dog’s temperament, personality, and willingness to engage with others.

By meeting these basic requirements for training a therapy dog, individuals can help ensure that their canine companions are prepared to provide emotional support and comfort to those in need. This foundational training sets the stage for more advanced skills that will be developed throughout the journey of becoming a certified therapy dog.

The Importance of Socialization and Obedience Training for Therapy Dogs

Socialization and obedience training are crucial aspects of training therapy dogs. These two components play a vital role in building the necessary skills, temperament, and behavior that are required for therapy dogs to provide effective emotional support and comfort. In this section, we will explore the importance of socialization and obedience training for therapy dogs and how they contribute to building confidence and reliability in these special animals.

Firstly, socialization is key in exposing therapy dogs to different environments, people, animals, and situations. By socializing therapy dogs from an early age, they become comfortable and confident in various settings-such as hospitals, nursing homes, schools, or rehabilitation centers-and can effectively interact with a diverse range of individuals. Socialization allows therapy dogs to adapt easily to new surroundings and remain calm in potentially stressful situations.

Moreover, obedience training is essential for therapy dogs to display appropriate behaviors and follow commands consistently. Through obedience training, therapy dogs learn basic commands such as sit, stay, come, leave it, and walking politely on a leash. These commands not only make the dog more manageable for their handlers but also ensure that they can respond reliably and predictably during therapy sessions with clients.

Building confidence is another important aspect of socialization and obedience training for therapy dogs. When a dog is well-socialized and trained obediently, they feel secure in their abilities to navigate different environments or interact with unfamiliar people. This confidence translates into better interactions during therapeutic sessions where the dog can provide emotional support or comfort without exhibiting fear or anxiety.

Choosing the Right Training Program or Professional

Therapy dog training is a specialized area that requires guidance and expertise. Choosing the right training program or professional is essential to ensure effective therapy dog training. There are several resources and options available for individuals looking to train their therapy dogs.

One option is to enroll in a therapy dog training program. These programs are specifically designed to teach dogs the necessary skills and behaviors needed to provide emotional support and comfort. These programs often offer structured classes led by experienced trainers who specialize in therapy dog training. They cover topics such as obedience, socialization, and specific tasks required of therapy dogs.

Another option is to hire a professional trainer who specializes in therapy dog training. These trainers have extensive knowledge and experience working with therapy dogs, and can provide personalized one-on-one instruction tailored to the specific needs of your dog. They can assess your dog’s temperament and behavioral issues, and develop a customized training plan to address them effectively.

In addition to formal training programs and professional trainers, there are also online resources available for therapy dog training. These resources include instructional videos, online courses, and forums where you can connect with other therapy dog handlers and trainers. While this option may lack the hands-on guidance of a training program or professional trainer, it can still provide valuable information and support for individuals looking to train their own therapy dogs.

It’s important to research and evaluate different options before choosing a training program or professional. Look for recommendations from trusted sources, read reviews or testimonials, and consider factors such as cost, location, availability of follow-up support, and compatibility with your own schedule and learning style.

By investing time in finding the right resources or professionals for effective therapy dog training, you will be better equipped to help your dog become a skilled and reliable source of emotional support for those in need.

Training Program/ProfessionalDescription
Therapy Dog Training ProgramA structured training program that offers classes led by experienced trainers specializing in therapy dog training. Covers obedience, socialization, and specific tasks required of therapy dogs.
Professional TrainerHire a professional trainer who specializes in therapy dog training. Provides personalized one-on-one instruction tailored to the specific needs of your dog. Can assess temperament and develop a customized training plan.
Online ResourcesIncludes instructional videos, online courses, and forums for connecting with other handlers and trainers. Can provide valuable information and support for individuals looking to train their own therapy dogs.

Handling and Communication Skills for Therapy Dog Handlers

Building Trust and Communication

One of the most important aspects of being a therapy dog handler is developing a strong bond and effective communication with your dog. This is crucial in order to create a harmonious partnership that allows the dog to perform its duties effectively. Building trust between you and your therapy dog involves consistent training, positive reinforcement, and clear communication.

Firstly, it’s essential to establish yourself as the leader of the pack. This means setting boundaries, enforcing rules, and maintaining a calm and assertive energy. Your therapy dog needs to know that they can rely on you for guidance and protection. Consistency is key when it comes to training as well. Clearly communicate what behaviors are expected from your dog, using both verbal commands and non-verbal cues.

The Power of Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is an incredibly effective approach when training therapy dogs. Rather than focusing on punishment or reprimand for unwanted behaviors, reward your dog for their successes. This can be done through treats, praise, petting, or playtime as a way to reinforce good behavior. Dogs thrive on positive feedback and will be more motivated to repeat behaviors that earn them rewards.

Another important aspect of communication is learning how to read your dog’s body language and signals. Dogs communicate primarily through non-verbal cues such as tail wagging, ear position, facial expressions, and overall body posture. By understanding these signals, you can better interpret your dog’s emotions and needs during therapy sessions.

Empathy and Adaptability

As a therapy dog handler, it’s crucial to have empathy towards both your dog and the individuals you are working with. Pay close attention to how your therapy dog reacts in different environments or situations. If you notice signs of stress or discomfort in your dog, take immediate action to alleviate these concerns and modify the environment accordingly.

In addition to empathy, adaptability is also important. Every individual you encounter during therapy sessions will have unique needs and preferences. It’s essential to be flexible and responsive to accommodate each person’s comfort level and emotional state. This may involve adjusting the approach or level of interaction with your therapy dog.

By honing your handling and communication skills, you can effectively support your therapy dog in providing emotional support and comfort to those in need. Building a strong relationship built on trust, positive reinforcement, and clear communication will enable both you and your therapy dog to excel in this rewarding role.

Common Challenges and Issues in Training Therapy Dogs

Training therapy dogs can come with its fair share of challenges and issues. Despite the many benefits they bring, it is important to be aware of the potential roadblocks that may arise during the training process. This section will explore some common challenges and issues faced when training therapy dogs and provide valuable troubleshooting tips and strategies to overcome them.

One of the most common challenges trainers encounter is teaching their therapy dogs to remain calm in various environments and around different distractions. Therapy dogs need to be comfortable in settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, or schools where they will encounter loud noises, unfamiliar scents, and a variety of people.

To address this challenge, trainers can use desensitization techniques to gradually expose their dogs to these environments or distractions. This involves gradually increasing exposure over time while rewarding calm behavior.

Another challenge encountered while training therapy dogs is managing their energy levels. While therapy dogs should have a friendly disposition, excessive excitement or hyperactivity can hinder their ability to provide the necessary comfort and support. Regular exercise is crucial for maintaining a healthy energy level in therapy dogs. Incorporating daily walks or play sessions into their routine can help release excess energy and promote relaxation during therapy sessions.

Furthermore, some therapy dogs may struggle with specific behaviors such as jumping on people or pulling on the leash. These behaviors can be disruptive and potentially harmful in certain environments. Effective training techniques such as positive reinforcement can be used to address these issues. For instance, trainers can reward the dog for maintaining all four paws on the ground when greeting individuals or utilize loose leash walking exercises to improve leash manners.

Evaluating and Assessing a Potential Therapy Dog

When considering training a therapy dog, it is important to thoroughly evaluate and assess the potential candidate before embarking on the training journey. Not all dogs possess the temperament, behavior, and skills necessary to become effective therapy dogs. By following steps and criteria to determine suitability, you can increase the chances of selecting a dog that will excel in this role.

The first step in evaluating a potential therapy dog is conducting a thorough behavioral assessment. This involves observing the dog’s overall temperament, sociability, and reactions to different stimuli. The dog should be friendly, calm, patient, and adaptable. Additionally, they should display good manners around people with varying disabilities or illnesses.

Another important criterion to consider is the dog’s obedience level. Therapy dogs need to have a solid foundation in basic obedience commands such as sit, stay, down, come, and leave it. These skills are essential for them to be under control at all times during their interactions with patients or clients.

Additionally, it is crucial to assess how well the dog handles various environments and situations. A therapy dog must remain calm and composed in new surroundings and have no fear or aggression towards unfamiliar people or objects.

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It is also important to assess the physical health of the potential therapy dog candidate. They should be free from any underlying medical conditions that may affect their ability to engage in therapy work consistently.

Overall, evaluating and assessing a potential therapy dog involves considering their temperament, behavior around people with disabilities or illnesses, obedience level, adaptability in different environments, and physical health. By following these steps and criteria for suitability, you can make an informed decision about which dogs are best suited for training as therapy dogs.

Evaluation CriteriaDescription
TemperamentThe dog should be friendly, calm, patient, and adaptable.
Obedience LevelThe dog should have a solid foundation in basic obedience commands such as sit, stay, down, come, and leave it.
Behavior around People with Disabilities/IllnessesThe dog should display good manners and deal well with people who have varying disabilities or illnesses.
Adaptability in Different EnvironmentsThe dog should remain calm and composed in new surroundings and not react fearfully or aggressively to unfamiliar people or objects.
Physical HealthThe potential therapy dog candidate should be free from any underlying medical conditions that may affect their ability to engage consistently in therapy work.

Certifications and Registrations for Therapy Dogs

Legal Requirements for Therapy Dogs

Before a therapy dog can actively participate in providing emotional support and comfort, it is important to understand the legal requirements associated with their role. While therapy dogs are not considered service dogs under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), there are still legal considerations that handlers must adhere to. One of the major legal requirements is obtaining the appropriate certifications and registrations for a therapy dog.

Each country or region may have its own set of laws and regulations regarding therapy dogs, so it is crucial for handlers to be familiar with the specific requirements in their area. In the United States, for example, therapy dog teams often need to obtain certification from a recognized organization such as Therapy Dogs International (TDI) or Alliance of Therapy Dogs (ATD).

These organizations typically have certain criteria that must be met by both the handler and the dog before they can be certified.

Ethical Considerations for Therapy Dogs

In addition to legal requirements, there are ethical considerations when it comes to certifying and registering a therapy dog. Ethics play a critical role in maintaining professionalism and ensuring that therapy dogs provide quality emotional support while adhering to a code of conduct.

Handlers must ensure that their dogs are well-trained, healthy, and properly cared for. They must also follow ethical guidelines related to visits, such as respecting client boundaries and privacy. Ethical considerations also extend to ongoing training and development, as handlers should continually seek opportunities to enhance their knowledge and skills in order to provide the best care possible.

The Benefits of Certifying and Registering a Therapy Dog

Certifying and registering a therapy dog provides numerous benefits both for the handler team and those they serve. First and foremost, certification validates that the dog has undergone proper training and possesses suitable temperament for therapeutic work. This increases credibility and trust among clients, as they can feel confident in the abilities of the therapy dog.

Furthermore, certification and registration often come with access to liability insurance coverage. This protects handlers and facilities in the event of any incident or accident that may occur during therapy dog visits. Being registered also allows therapy dogs to gain access to certain facilities and venues that require proof of certification, such as hospitals or schools.

Overall, understanding the legal and ethical requirements for certifying and registering a therapy dog is essential for both handlers and their furry companions. By meeting these requirements, handlers can ensure that they uphold professional standards, provide effective emotional support, and create a safe environment for everyone involved in therapy dog interactions.

The Ongoing Importance of Continued Training and Development for Therapy Dogs

Training and development are essential for therapy dogs to maintain their skills and effectiveness in providing emotional support and comfort. Ongoing training not only helps refresh the dog’s skills but also introduces new techniques that can enhance their ability to interact with individuals and communities. This section will explore the importance of continued training for therapy dogs, including refreshing skills and updating training techniques.

The Benefits of Continued Training

Continued training plays a crucial role in maintaining therapy dogs’ abilities to provide emotional support and comfort. Regular training sessions allow them to practice and reinforce their existing skills, ensuring they stay sharp and reliable in various situations. Additionally, ongoing training helps therapy dogs adapt to changes in their environment or population they work with. For example, if a child is scared of dogs or has specific needs, the dog may need additional training to adapt its behavior accordingly.

Refreshing Skills

Therapy dogs are trained to perform specific tasks such as active listening, providing physical contact, or simply being present to offer comfort. These tasks require constant practice and reinforcement to ensure that the dog maintains its ability to perform them effectively. Regular training sessions dedicated to refreshing these skills can help maintain the dog’s reliability in fulfilling its role as a therapy dog.

Updating Training Techniques

As research advances and new approaches emerge, it is crucial for therapy dog handlers to stay updated on the most effective training techniques. Continuing education opportunities allow handlers to learn about innovative methods that can enhance their dogs’ abilities and overall performance. They can also benefit from sharing experiences and best practices with other handlers through workshops or online forums dedicated to therapy dog training.


In conclusion, training a therapy dog is a rewarding journey that holds great potential for making a positive impact on the lives of individuals and communities. By understanding the importance of therapy dogs in providing emotional support and comfort, we can appreciate the significance of their role in society. Therapy dogs have shown to improve the well-being of individuals by reducing stress and anxiety, promoting social interaction, and enhancing overall mental health.

To successfully train a therapy dog, it is crucial to consider their characteristics and temperament. Certain breeds are better suited for therapy work due to their gentle nature and ability to remain calm in various settings. Moreover, socialization and obedience training play key roles in building confidence and reliability in therapy dogs. By exposing them to different environments, people, and objects, we can ensure they are comfortable and well-behaved when providing therapy.

Selecting the right training program or professional is also essential in developing a well-rounded therapy dog. Utilizing available resources and choosing a reputable trainer or organization can provide valuable guidance throughout the training process. Additionally, handlers must focus on building a strong relationship with their therapy dog through effective handling techniques and clear communication.

As the training progresses, it is important to anticipate common challenges that may arise. Troubleshooting tips and strategies should be implemented to address any issues encountered during training. Furthermore, evaluating and assessing a potential therapy dog based on suitability criteria ensures that they possess the necessary traits for successful therapy work.

Certifications and registrations are vital not only from a legal standpoint but also from an ethical perspective. Following appropriate procedures ensures that therapy dogs meet certain standards of behavior, health, and safety. Lastly, realizing that training is an ongoing process highlights the importance of continued development for therapy dogs. Refreshing skills and updating training techniques ensure they maintain their ability to provide effective emotional support.

By embracing this journey of training a therapy dog, we open up opportunities to profoundly impact lives in need of comfort and support. The bond formed between a therapy dog, its handler, and the people it serves has the potential to create lasting positive change. As more individuals recognize the significance of therapy dogs, their role in society can continue to grow, making a difference one paw at a time.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to train a dog to be a therapy dog?

The time required to train a dog to be a therapy dog can vary depending on the individual dog and the training program used. Generally, it takes several months of consistent training and socialization to prepare a dog for therapy work. Dogs should first undergo basic obedience training to establish good manners and responsiveness to commands.

They also need to be comfortable around different people, environments, and situations. Additional specialized therapy training may involve teaching the dog skills like maintaining calm behavior, responding appropriately to cues from patients, or performing specific tasks that provide comfort or assistance. Regular practice and exposure to various therapy settings are crucial for building a strong foundation as a therapy dog.

Do therapy dogs make money?

Therapy dogs typically do not make money directly through their work as the primary goal of their service is providing emotional support and companionship. Unlike service dogs that assist individuals with disabilities and have legal rights for access in public places, therapy dogs are invited into specific settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, schools, or rehabilitation facilities on a volunteer basis.

However, some organizations may offer incentives like insurance coverage for veterinary expenses or access to certain events or perks as rewards for the work done with therapy dogs.

Is my dog too old to be a therapy dog?

Age is not necessarily a factor that determines whether a dog can become a therapy dog. While many therapy dogs start their training at a young age when they have more energy and versatility for learning new skills, older dogs can also excel in this role if they have the right temperament and health condition. Some older dogs may even possess valuable qualities like being calmer, wiser, more patient, or experienced in interacting with different people due to years of socialization.

Nevertheless, it’s important to consider an older dog’s physical abilities and overall well-being before engaging them in extensive training activities. A thorough evaluation by a professional trainer can help determine if an older dog is suitable for becoming a therapy dog based on their health and temperament assessments.

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