What website should I visit to find a therapy dog training program for my pekingese-poodle when he gets older?

Question by KAR36: What website should I visit to find a therapy dog training program for my pekingese-poodle when he gets older?
So far, I am not finding a straightforward website that will allow me to find local therapy dog training programs.

I know I need to first determine if he has aptitude for this line of work.

If he has aptitude for it, I would like him to be able to visit nursing homes for example but he has to obtain credentials from a program first.

Best answer:

Answer by Steve Kapichak
I’m sorry I can’t tell you were to go but it my understanding that this type of training has to start at an extremely young age, so I wouldn’t wait till he’s older

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One thought on “What website should I visit to find a therapy dog training program for my pekingese-poodle when he gets older?

  1. The top three therapy dog programs in the US are:

    http://deltasociety.org
    http://tdi-dog.org
    http://therapydogs.com

    Each of those sites tell you about their specific program, including information on what is required for testing and registration with them, when and where tests and courses are offered, and how to find affiliate clubs. If you don’t find what you want on the website, use the contact information to ask your questions. I’ve had the best luck with Delta, especially with them responding to questions, so that’s the one I recommend personally.

    If you have a specific hospital or nursing home you’d like to visit, ask them what there requirements are. Some only accept therapy teams registered with a specific organization, while others just want the team registered and insured with someone. It would be a shame to test and register with organization “A” only to discover the facility you wish to visit only accepts registrations from organization “B.” Again, if you have a specific facility in mind, they probably already have visiting therapy pet teams and can put you in touch with that group. You can then learn from those teams what it is like visiting that facility, where to get tested, where to get registered, and how to prepare.

    As far as aptitude goes, first and foremost he has to be friendly and well behaved. He shouldn’t pester people who don’t want to interact with him nor shy away from those who do. He should enjoy all kinds of people and all kinds of petting, even by clumsy hands. Some people may look, sound, or smell “funny.” He needs to be the sort of dog who would be just as happy cuddling with a school mascot or a kid in a wheelchair as the average person on the street. He needs basic obedience (walking politely on a leash, sit/down/stay, coming when called, leaving things alone (such as food trays or medication), etc. He needs to be good around other dogs as well. If he has the right personality, the rest can be added with socialization (introduction to lots and lots of different kinds of people) and basic training.

    — edited to add —

    Therapy dog training doesn’t have to start at an early age. If the dog is well adjusted and well mannered as a pet something as little as an 8 week training course can be sufficient to prepare him for testing. Yes, it is important to socialize puppies, ALL puppies (pet, therapy, etc.) at a young age, but it is not necessary to begin training to become a therapy dog at any particular age. I’ve seen 8 year old dogs prepare and take the test for the first time in their lives and pass and go on to be lovely therapy dogs.

    Socialization = introducing them to lots and lots of different kinds of people and other pets

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