How to Train Your Pet to Become a Therapy Pet

Eliza Jonasson
3 min readApr 25, 2021

Pets Can also Help Those with Mental Health Issues

Therapy pets are instrumental in changing the lives of many people daily. Just the touch of an animal has been shown to increase those “feel good” endorphins in the body as well as promote energy and decrease feelings of loneliness and isolation. Maybe you are looking to become a volunteer at a hospital, school, or nursing home. These organizations are amenable to animal visits. Here are some suggestions for you and your pet if therapy is what you are considering.

Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash

A Difference

It bears noting that therapy pets and service animals are different. Service animals are trained to the specific needs of a person (deafness, blindness, other disorder). They are trained for that person and then become their personal companion. They maintain contact only with the service person to avoid confusion in their training.

Therapy animals are no less important as far as their duty to help others. While they don’t perform specific tasks as service animals do, they are available to their therapy patients as a tool to bring about a change. For example, petting a dog can provide physical and mental stimulation to nursing home residents. The presence of an animal can slow the heart rate and also reduce anxiety to children about to undergo dental procedures and other medical procedures. Animals, especially dogs, are empathetic, calm, patient, and love to please people.

Training for Your Therapy Pet

We are going to specifically speak about dogs here. They are the most commonly used therapy pet. Several breeds are suitable for therapy because of their temperament, size, and lifestyle. For instance, larger dogs may be more suitable for patients who need to move and for children. Dogs that require frequent daily walks outside are for more active assignments. Smaller dogs can visit people who have limited mobility or are confined to a certain location like nursing facilities.

Here are some things to consider when training your dog to become a therapy pet.

  • Training program — Begin with obedience school. Your dog will need to adapt to a variety of situations by listening and following your commands so they and the patient are kept safe. You can send…
Eliza Jonasson