Therapy Pet 


Take A Paws offers therapy team certifications!

Check out Getting Certified to get started on your next step towards making a difference in the lives of others with your pet.

Humans are learning more and more these days about the health benefits of dogs. As a result, public interest in therapy dogs has been increasing. Therapy dogs provide relief to those in anxiety-provoking situations, bring comfort to those who are grieving or lonely, and offer affection to humans who are in institutions such as hospitals, nursing homes, and schools. If you’ve got a friendly, well-behaved dog that loves people, you and other owners in similar situations might be wondering — how can I begin?

Types of Therapy Dog Certifications

Comforting Therapy dogs

This position is for the type of dog that can just look into anyone's eyes and connect with them to make them feel loved and understood. They know how to connect one on one with people and find the people who need the most loving. They are great cuddlers and can also handle a bigger crowd around them. These dogs are especially gentle and are great with young children and the elderly. These dogs are typically older or more experienced. They are perfect for our Stampede to Read program. They have to pass the normal behavioral exam, CGC test, as well as display their gentle and affectionate demeanor. They must also hold a long down/stay command.

Trick therapy dogs

These dogs know how to entertain the crowds! They can perform tricks such as shake, hug, roll over, spin, and waving hello and goodbye, but we accept any sorts of fun tricks for this category. our dog must pass the behavioral analysis and be able to perform at least 5 tricks with someone other than the handler commanding them

Play Therapy Dogs

Play therapy dogs are great for our outdoor events and activities with college students and older children. While these dogs must still be certified therapy dogs to pass the exam, they are usually our younger and more active pups. People may want to play fetch with them

learn the difference between a service animal, ESA, and therapy animal

A therapy dog lends comfort and affection to people in a facility setting or to certain individuals who require visitation to process with a physical or emotional problem. 

Therapy dogs are not service dogs, who provide a specific service for a person with special needs, and who receive full public access per the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). There is no official registration for service dogs, but they require intensive training.

They are also not emotional support animals, who require a prescription from a mental health or health care professional (but have no specific training) and only housing access rights.

Therapy Animals provide comfort to the public and can only go inside of facilities if they are invited to do so for a visit. While they require training, certification, and registration, they do not receive any legal rights for public access.

What skills does my pet need?

To be a therapy dog your dog will need to master skills such as socialization, a Calm, non-reactive personality, Tolerance of voices, Doesn’t mind being handled, petted and tugged on, Confident enough to go into unfamiliar places, People-oriented, able to make eye contact, Able to learn and obey commands, Willing to do the work, Have a caring, attentive handler who knows the dog well, active obedience training, etc.

As they work, they will develop skills like fostering one on one meaningful interactions with individuals and dispersing their attention equally amongst participants. 

Click Here to learn why you should become

 a therapy animal handler

Therapy dogs bring many physical benefits to the humans they visit. They may help lower blood pressure and heart rate, reduce patient anxiety, and increase levels of endorphins and oxytocin. But it’s not a one-way street. Studies have shown that therapy dogs also profit from their work. Rates of endorphins and oxytocin are higher in therapy dogs than average family pets.

“Therapy dogs go out to hospitals, nursing homes, libraries, schools, disasters. Essentially any venue where a clientele exists and it would be helpful for the dogs to be there,” says Linda Keehn, CPDT-KA, therapy dog trainer, evaluator, and handler, and owner of Positive Canine Training and Services in New York.

But you can’t just take your dog to visit a relative in a hospital, for instance. Therapy dogs do need certification from, and registration in, a reputable organization. Certification is the final hurdle in a dedicated process toward becoming a therapy dog, however, which includes temperament assessment, training, and more.