Therapy dogs provide an important and rewarding job for both the dog and the owner. If you are interested in your pet becoming a certified therapy dog you first need to make sure your dog is best suited for this type of work. Therapy dogs should be well trained and friendly. The dog should not be frightened of strangers or new situations and should enjoy going out and visiting new and unfamiliar places.
For certification, your dog will need to be in good health and up to date in all vaccinations. You should receive a health certificate from your veterinarian. Of course, make sure that your dog is well trained. Good therapy dogs need to be able to sit, lie down and stay on command and to walk on a leash without pulling.
If your dog’s health and temperament fit those of a therapy dog the next step is to get him certified. Most therapy groups require that your dog pass the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test. To find a testing site and evaluator visit http://www.akc.org/events/cgc/cgc_bystate.cfm
The CGC test consists of the following 10 items that your dog must pass:
* Accepting a friendly stranger
* Sitting politely for petting
* Appearance and grooming
* Walking on a loose lead
* Walking through a crowd
* Sit and stay commands
* Coming when called
* Reaction to another dog
* Reaction to distraction
* Supervised separation from owner
Depending on the therapy organization that you are seeking certification from, there may be additional requirements beyond the CGC test. Check with the individual organization for their specific requirements.