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Can Your Dog be a Therapy Dog?

The dogs used for therapy work vary in size and type. They may not all be “pure-bred,” but they all share a love of people. They must be tolerant of other dogs and show no aggression to other animals. Before you consider having your dog evaluated, you should ask yourself if your dog has these qualities.

That's not all. Therapy dog owners need to have the unselfish desire to help others. Studies have shown that a person holding or petting an animal will cause a lowering of blood pressure, the release of strain and tension, and can draw out a person from loneliness and depression.

Criteria for Prospective Therapy Dogs

  • Must be at least 1 year old at the time of evaluation.

  • Have lived in the owner’s home for at least 6 months and reliably house trained.

  • Must have updated vaccines (rabies, distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, bordatella) fecal test, flea/parasite/heartworm prevention and annual vet check-ups.

  • Have no history of aggression or biting.

  • Must demonstrate good basic obedience skills, i.e. walking on a loose leash, and responding reliably to common commands such as Sit, Down, Stay, Come, Leave It.

  • Welcome, not just tolerate, interactions with strangers.

Do you think YOUR Dog has what it takes to be a therapy dog? We’d love to hear from you! Leave your comments below and let us know!


Our PET EVENTS focusing on Mental Health Wellness have proven that interacting with affectionate dogs can reduce stress and anxiety, improve mood, lower blood-pressure and even decrease the perception of pain. These petting sessions offer students and staff who are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, the opportunity to increase socialization through interaction with dogs and people in a relaxing setting.

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