Therapy Dog Training
| September 11th, 2009

Therapy Dog Training

Therapy Dog TrainingTherapy Dog Training is the most rewarding work you can do with your dog, as it affords both of you an opportunity to share your love with the people in the community who need it most.

Any dog can be a therapy dog, as long as there are no aggression issues. If your dog is aggressive toward other dogs or humans, you would first need to complete a round of obedience training before he or she was ready to begin therapy dog training.

Therapy Dog Training vs. Obedience Training

Therapy dogs require a baseline of excellent dog obedience training. But there’s still much more to learn. Yes, part of becoming a therapy dog involves learning lots of great dog tricks. Why teach dog tricks? Because in addition to the warmth and soft loving comfort your therapy dog can share with those in need, he should also arrive to bring a wealth of smiles. Some great dog tricks can brighten anyone’s day!

But in addition to dog obedience and tricks training, your dog will need to learn some very specialized skills. For example, many dogs are quite nervous around anything with wheels – from a car to a bicycle to a vacuum cleaner. The natural instinct of some dogs is to bark; others give chase; others shy away fearfully.

When you take your therapy dog for visits, one of the most frequent objects you will encounter is a wheelchair. Therapy dog training will teach your dog to be extremely comfortable around wheelchairs, even when they’re rolling. Another item that your dog won’t otherwise be used to is an IV pole and drip. A rambunctious dog could knock an IV pole over, or get tangled in the tubing. Therapy dogs must learn to be well-adjusted around such medical equipment, and learn to navigate them with grace and ease.

Are Therapy Dogs the same as Service Dogs?

Not at all. Service dog training is completely different. Service dogs receive highly-specialized training to assist the visually-impaired, the deaf community, as well as certain other populations. For instance, there are even service dogs known as seizure dogs who are paired with individuals suffering from epilepsy. A seizure dog can bark and alert his owner to warn of the onset of a seizure before it happens. Really!

Therapy Dogs, on the other hand, are almost always beloved family pets. Your dog lives with you as always, and isn’t paired with a specific individual or institution. Instead, you make arrangements to visit various facilities with your therapy dog to bring warmth and affection to those in need.

Therapy Dog Venues

If you’re wondering where you can take your dog after completing therapy dog training, the list is almost endless: children’s hospitals, hospices, nursing homes, VA hospitals, home-bound elders, even rehabilitation centers.

Do some breeds make better Therapy Dogs?

Absolutely not. The only requirement is that a therapy dog be an adult, not a puppy. But a sweet, loving disposition can be found in any breed, as well as the lovable mutt. Not every dog is cut out for this work, but you should never feel limited by your particular breed or mix.

Therapy Dog Certification

Therapy dog certification is required before your dog can participate at most institutions. Pet Partners is the largest national group that certifies therapy dogs in the U.S. Pet Partners has testing facilities throughout most communities in the U.S. Your dog must receive a Temperament Test and therapy dog certification before he can start to perform therapy dog work.

Sign Up for Therapy Dog Training

Any of our nationwide Zoom Room locations would love to welcome you and your dog into our next Therapy Dog class. We offer a six week class open to all dogs who have passed their Canine Good Citizen Test or the equivalent.

Please click on LOCATIONS in the menu to select your nearest Zoom Room.

89 Responses  
Zoom Room writes:

Hi Carole,

We don’t have any Zoom Room locations near Scranton at this time, but hope to soon have our first PA facilities later this year. If you check out our Facebook page (, we regularly announce our new locations there.

All best regards,
Your friends at the Zoom Room

norman hazzard writes:

Do you have any training programs here in Phoenix, Arizona now?

Zoom Room writes:

Not at this time, Norman. You can always click on Locations on the left, or use the drop-down menu at the top of each page to see a list of our locations. We do hope to be in Phoenix before too long!

– Your friends at the Zoom Room.

R N Walters writes:

Are there any training locations near Crystal River or Inverness, Florida?

Zoom Room writes:

You can always find our list of open locations in our menu. Currently our only Florida location is in Coconut Creek, near Boca Raton.

gail lund writes:

What is your closest training facility to Sutherlin, Oregon?
I am interested in having my wonderful Great Dane become a therapy dog.

Zoom Room writes:

The closest location currently open is in Monterey Bay, CA. You can always find our list of current and upcoming locations on the menu to the left, under Locations, or the drop-down menu at the top of this page, or you can visit, or to see a visual map of locations, use our Find a Location page on Facebook.

Bill Collett writes:

Could you tell me if Therapy Dogs have the same legal access rights as Service Dogs? Is there somewhere I might find information to validate Therapy Dog Access rights?

Thank You, Bill Collett

Zoom Room writes:

They are not the same and do not confer the same rights. You can learn more about therapy dogs and service dogs from the Delta Society at

BRUCE BARR writes:

We live in San Diego and have four year old Golden Dooddle.
Where are the training programs avilable?


Zoom Room writes:

Hi Bruce,

Our San Diego location will be open later this year, and will offer Therapy Dog training. You can stay up to date on the announcement of the Grand Opening on our Facebook page:

Peggy Muro Boynton Beach, Fla. writes:

My dog,( Micki) has been certified with Delta for many years now. Working with Boynton Beach chamber of Commerce ( over 7 years) and the Bethesda Hospital working over 700 hours. She has also put in over 100 hour at the Boynton Beach Library. We have been tested every two years. It is time for her testing again. I think I have checked the websites. Since we are Pet Partners now I am unable to find a copy of the forms that are needed at this time. Please furnish me with them as soon as possible. Thank You,

Zoom Room writes:

Hi Peggy,

We are not the Delta Society. You can reach them at

All best,
Your friends at the Zoom Room

Lisa Burgess writes:

Do you have any training centers near Austin, Texas? My daughter and I are very interested in getting involved.

Zoom Room writes:

Hi Lisa,

Yes! We have a Zoom Room right in Austin that offers Therapy Dog Training as well as a whole host of other training classes. You can learn more and find all contact info here.

shannon writes:

Hoping you have dog therapy certification in Farmington, NM or Durango, CO.

Zoom Room writes:

Hi Shannon,

We do not provide certification. We are a training facility, and provide therapy dog training. We currently have locations in Longmont, CO and Denver, CO.

– Your friends at the Zoom Room

Christy Hoffman writes:

I was unable to find the Therapy Dog certification program on the Hollywood, CA page. Is it still offered regardless? If so, could you give me the cost of the total program and schedule?

Thank You!

Zoom Room writes:

Hi Christy,

Our Therapy Dog Training is available. Please give us a call at (323) 272-4665 so we can better assist you. The schedule and prices are available at

– Zoom Room Hollywood

Ami writes:

Do u train pit bull puppies?How much is training ? I live in the chester area of pa. Do u have services in this area?

Zoom Room writes:

Hi Ami,

We train all breeds. Our Philadelphia location will be open very shortly. You can find more information here: Zoom Room Philadelphia.

morris gailliard writes:

I have a 5monthgreat old rottweiler and the va will pay for her complete training and service dog training my# is 720-388-0848

Zoom Room writes:

Hi Morris. Please look under Locations to find the Zoom Room nearest you. Note: we only train dogs with the owner present.

mystic writes:

I have 2 children with severe mental, behavioral disabilities. I was told I should get them they pets to help them with their seperation anxiety, and ptsd. I paid money to have them certified and everything and now my landlord is trying to make me get rid of them. What can I do? This will devistate my children and set them back months in their progress. Are there laws that protect them?

Zoom Room writes:

Unfortunately local legislation is beyond our ability to offer advice. We’d recommend seeking out local counsel.

Michele Hiemstra writes:

Are their any training classes in Arizona

Zoom Room writes:

Not at this time, Michele. But we hope to be in Arizona soon!

Andrewa writes:

So, you suggest that a therapy pet be at least a year old before training can begin? Why is it recommended that a puppy not be trained?

Natalie writes:

Do you have any locations near Norco CA?

Zoom Room writes:

The starting place for therapy dog training is a dog who has already mastered basic obedience; therefore a puppy should be learning obedience training prior to beginning the more advanced therapy dog work.

Zoom Room writes:

Our Claremont location would be the closest at this time.

sandy lincks writes:

are you in Dallas,Texas because we would love o come to your theropy dog classes. can you email us some lessons and info about it ? thanks sandy lincks

Zoom Room writes:

Hi Sandy! We’re not in Dallas yet, but hope to be soon. Our closest location is Austin, TX. We’re unable to mail you anything – but if you’re ever in Austin we’d be delighted to work with you and your dog.

Ginny writes:

Do you have facilities in the Tidewater area of Virginia?

Zoom Room writes:

Hi Ginny. We have a location coming to Virginia Beach in 2014. That will be the closest.

Julie writes:

I am really struggling to find Pet Therapy training in Phoenix – I hope to see a location soon – good luck to you and thank you.

Susan OToole writes:

I have a Border Collie pup (7mo. Old ). I would like to have him trained as a service dog. How much are your 6 we classes. You mentioned a baseline behavior to qualify for the class. What does this
mean? .
Thanks for your time.
Susan OToole

Arilita Moore writes:

My dog “Storm” is 12 weeks old. I am a us navy vet diagnosed with PTSD. My doctor has recommended a service dog if you will and I would like my dog Storm to for fill that bill. Can she? How much is such training? Does the VA pay for such training? I have not found too much information on this subject. My dog is a American Bull Dog and Terrier Mix. Thank you.

Deb Speybroeck writes:

I work at Corvilla, we have homes for people with develoment disabilities. We are starting are own day program and they want me to do animal assisted activities. I am looking for a program to train me to train my dogs to touch these folks lives. Any help you can give will be appreciated.
Thank You,
Deb Speybroeck

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