My adopted dog's journey to becoming a certified therapy dog

by 龙跃芳 on Oct 13, 2023

My adopted dog's journey to becoming a certified therapy dog

Adopting a dog can be a life-changing experience. When I first met my furry friend, I had no idea how much joy and fulfillment he would bring into my life. But as time passed, I realized that my dog had a unique gift: he had the ability to make people feel better simply by being in their presence. That's when I decided to train him to become a certified therapy dog.


In this blog post, I'll share my adopted dog's journey to becoming a certified therapy dog. From our initial encounters to the rigorous training process, and everything in between, I hope to inspire others to consider adopting a dog and potentially training them to become therapy dogs.


Meeting my Dog

I met my dog, Jack, at a local animal shelter. I was immediately drawn to his calm demeanor and friendly personality. As I interacted with him, I could sense that he was a special dog with a lot of love to give. It didn't take long for me to decide that he was the one for me.

Initially, Jack was a little shy around new people, but he quickly warmed up to me and my family. We spent time together, went on walks, and played games. Jack's enthusiasm for life was contagious, and I was grateful to have him in my life.

One day, I noticed that Jack had a unique talent: he could sense when someone was feeling down or upset. Whenever I was sad or stressed, he would come and sit by my side, offering comfort and companionship. I realized that he had the potential to make a positive impact on other people's lives, and that's when I decided to train him to become a therapy dog.


Training Process

Training a dog to become a certified therapy dog is a rigorous process. It requires patience, dedication, and a lot of hard work. Fortunately, I had the support of a local dog training center that specialized in therapy dog training.

The first step in the training process was to ensure that Jack was well-behaved and obedient. We enrolled him in basic obedience classes to help him learn basic commands such as sit, stay, come, and heel. We also worked on his socialization skills, introducing him to other dogs and people to help him become comfortable in new environments.

Once Jack had mastered the basics, we began training him specifically for therapy work. This involved teaching him to remain calm in high-stress situations, to ignore distractions, and to follow commands in a variety of environments. We also worked on his manners, teaching him to greet people politely and to not jump up or bark.

In addition to obedience training, we also worked on Jack's therapy dog skills. This included teaching him to approach people gently, to allow strangers to pet him, and to remain calm in the presence of medical equipment such as wheelchairs and walkers. We also exposed him to different smells, sounds, and textures to prepare him for any situation he might encounter during therapy visits.

One of the most important aspects of Jack's training was his ability to remain calm and focused during therapy visits. We practiced in a variety of settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, and schools. During these visits, Jack learned to interact with patients and students in a positive and calming manner. He would sit patiently while people petted him, and he would nuzzle up to those who needed a little extra comfort.


Certification Process

After months of training, Jack was ready to take the certification test to become a certified therapy dog. The certification test is designed to ensure that therapy dogs are well-behaved and able to interact with patients in a positive manner.

The test consisted of several components, including obedience skills, therapy skills, and temperament evaluation. Jack had to demonstrate his ability to follow commands,interact with people in a gentle manner, and remain calm and focused in different environments. I was nervous during the test, but Jack performed beautifully, and we were thrilled when he passed with flying colors.Now that Jack was certified, we began our therapy visits. We visited hospitals, nursing homes, and schools, bringing joy and comfort to those who needed it most. Jack quickly became a favorite among patients and students, and I was proud to see the positive impact he was making on people's lives.

Throughout Jack's therapy dog journey, I learned a lot about the power of dogs to bring comfort and healing to people in need. I also learned about the importance of responsible pet ownership, including proper training, socialization, and care. Adopting Jack and training him to become a therapy dog was one of the best decisions I've ever made, and I would encourage anyone who is considering adopting a dog to also consider training them for therapy work.


Training Rusty to become a certified therapy dog was a challenging but incredibly rewarding experience. I'm grateful for the positive impact he has had on so many people's lives, and I'm proud to be his owner and handler. If you're considering adopting a dog, I would encourage you to explore the possibility of training them for therapy work. Not only will you be providing a loving home to a deserving animal, but you'll also be making a difference in the lives of those who need it most.