Before we can answer this question, it is important to know that not every pet is suited to being a therapy pet. Therapy pets are introduced to new people and new environments constantly. They must possess a high degree of socialization towards strangers – especially young children. A dog that distrusts new people or is not comfortable being pet, poked, hugged, and played with by children would not make a good therapy pet.
Therapy pets are certified. Some of the requirements for this certification require potential therapy dogs to complete obedience training. Dogs must be comfortable obeying verbal commands and must be curbed of unwanted behaviors like jumping on people or pulling while leashed. Animals that have exhibited aggression towards people or other animals should never be considered for the duties of a therapy pet. Not meeting these criteria doesn’t mean your pet isn’t great, it just means they might not be suitable as a therapy pet.
HSSA’s Pet VIP Program provides all the necessary information and classes to get your pet ready for their lives as therapy pets. Want to learn more about therapy pets and our Pet VIP program? Contact our Pet VIP Coordinator at (520) 327-6088 ext. 153.