Have you considered pursuing therapy work with your dog? Are you eager to share the joy and affection that your dog provides to you with other people?
Joining a therapy animal organization, volunteering your time, and becoming a team with your pet are all extremely rewarding, but therapy is a job that not all pets are cut out for. If the world of therapy animals piques your interest, here are 3 things to ask yourself before jumping in:
1. Is this the right fit for ME?
Before we get to your dog, lets talk about whether or not therapy work would be a rewarding path for you to take. Do you enjoy spending time with children and the elderly? Do you enjoy taking your dog to lots of new places? Do you have the extra time to commit to the application process, training, and visits? If you answered "yes," move on to number 2!
2. Does your dog have good manners?
If they are dragging you down the street, stealing food out of people's hands, and jumping all over your house guests, they will not be great in a nursing home. This one can be fixed with training, but it is completely necessary if you want to even attempt the therapy route.
3. Does your dog enjoy attention from people?
I know what you're thinking, doesn't every dog? But I mean your dog needs to enjoy/seek out/bask in verbal and physical attention from people. If they are easily distracted by other factors, dislike being fussed over, get anxious, etc. your dog is not well suited to be working in this area.
4. Are they environmentally sound?
This is SO important and often overlooked. What I mean by this, is has your dog been exposed to all the sights, sounds, objects, and instruments that they may encounter on a therapy visit? Does your dog respond well when they are exposed to something new? Wheelchairs, walkers, canes, loud beeping, staring, automatic doors, sudden movement, and more will all be potential factors. Before you start the application process, you should have an idea of how your dog responds to these things in a controlled environment.
DareDevil Dog Training