Animal therapy is proven to help lift the spirits of those that don’t seem to have much reason for being happy. That’s why dog therapy has gotten so popular over the last few years and its popularity is continuing to increase. In the cases of those that need to heal, having a dog therapy session can prove dramatic results in the healing process and can even give people a more positive outlook on life. Becoming certified to be a trained dog therapy assistant, and having your dog become certified to be a therapy dog is easy once you know how to go about doing it.
The Right Animal
The right animal for dog therapy will be an even tempered and healthy animal that has gone through all regular check-ups and vaccinations. The dog must not be too small or too big, should be well behaved naturally, and cannot have any history of aggressive behavior whatsoever. There are certain breeds of dogs that work better for dog therapy training than others, so do your research to find the perfect breed of dog both for you and for dog therapy.
The Right Training
If you aren’t a certified trainer, be sure to hire someone to train both you and your pet in the ways of being a therapy dog and assistant. You should know all of the commands that your dog knows so that you can effectively communicate with the animal while he or she is interacting with people at a volunteer location.
The right training program will train the dog to not get stressed in certain situations and to be okay with loud people, heavy petting, and people who are afraid of dogs. The program should also teach both the animal and the dog therapy assistant that will be taking care of the dog and taking it to volunteer locations on how to interact with mentally or physically disabled people, as well as children and the elderly.
The Right Certification
The Delta Society is the most well known and respected dog therapy training certification organization and can even offer training courses and can establish the volunteer locations in which you and your therapy dog can visit. The evaluation to become certified will test behavior skills and make sure that the dog is healthy enough to be a therapy dog. They will make sure that your dog is ready to become a therapy dog.
The Right Place to Start
Make sure that the first place you visit for a dog therapy session is a relatively small location with just a few people. This will get the dog more accustomed to the experiences and interactions that he or she will have when they are at a volunteer location. Animal Assisted Therapy volunteer locations range in size from just a few people to hundreds, so there is always a small place to start out with.
The Right Interactions
You can also make sure that the people who are going to be interacting with the dog know how to do so. Even just a little verbal training as to how to pet a dog, how to talk to the animal and how to communicate with it can go a long way in easing the stress that may be felt for both the animal and the patients or residents of the volunteer location.
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