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How to Get a Dog Certified as a Therapy Dog

Are you looking for ways to get your dog certified as a therapy dog? If so, you’ve come to the right place! In this article, we will discuss the process of getting a dog certified as a therapy dog and provide helpful tips on how to go about it. We will also cover the benefits of having a certified therapy dog and the responsibilities that come with it.

What is a Therapy Dog?

A therapy dog is an animal that has been specially trained to provide comfort and affection to people in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and other settings. Therapy dogs are not the same as service dogs, which are trained to perform specific tasks for people with disabilities. Therapy dogs are often used to help people cope with stress, loneliness, depression, and other emotional issues.

Benefits of Having a Certified Therapy Dog

Having a certified therapy dog can be incredibly beneficial. Studies have shown that petting and interacting with a therapy dog can reduce stress levels and improve overall mental health. Additionally, therapy dogs can provide comfort and companionship to those who are socially isolated or have difficulty forming relationships. Certified therapy dogs can also provide emotional support to people in medical or mental health settings.

Responsibilities of Owning a Certified Therapy Dog

Owning a certified therapy dog comes with certain responsibilities. It is important to ensure that your dog is well-behaved and socialized, as they will be interacting with people from all different backgrounds. Additionally, you will need to keep your therapy dog up to date on their vaccinations and regularly groom them. Finally, you should be prepared to take your therapy dog to regular training sessions to keep them in top shape.

How to Get a Dog Certified as a Therapy Dog

Getting your dog certified as a therapy dog can be a lengthy process, but it is worth it in the end. The first step is to make sure that your dog is a good fit for the job. Your dog should be friendly, patient, and well-behaved. They should also be comfortable around people and other animals.

Once you have determined that your dog is the right fit, you will need to find a therapy dog certification program. There are many programs available, so it is important to do your research and find one that is reputable. Look for programs that provide thorough training and testing and are recognized by the American Kennel Club.

Once you have chosen a certification program, you will need to complete the registration process. This typically involves submitting paperwork, proof of vaccinations, and a fee. You will also need to attend training classes with your dog and complete the certification test.

Once your dog has passed the certification test, they will be officially certified as a therapy dog. You will be given a certificate and a badge to prove your dog’s status as a therapy dog.

Tips for Success

  • Choose the Right Program: It is important to choose a reputable program that provides thorough training and testing.
  • Be Patient: The certification process can be lengthy, so it is important to be patient and follow all instructions.
  • Be Prepared: Make sure that you have all of the necessary paperwork and vaccinations in order before starting the process.
  • Be Responsible: Once your dog is certified, make sure to keep up with their vaccinations and training.


Getting your dog certified as a therapy dog is a rewarding experience and can be beneficial for both you and your dog. It is important to do your research and find a reputable certification program. Additionally, you should make sure that your dog is the right fit for the job and be prepared to take on the responsibilities that come with owning a therapy dog. With the right preparation and dedication, you can get your dog certified as a therapy dog.

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