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How to train your dog to be a therapy dog

Posted at 3:23 PM, Apr 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-19 18:23:14-04

(KGTV)--One day you're taking Spot out to throw the Frisbee at your local park and a thought strikes you: "Spot would be an awesome therapy dog!" 

But would he really? 

He seems to be a friendly pup but that doesn't necessarily mean he'd make a good therapy pet, right? And how would you go about certifying him anyway?

The American Kennel Club has answers. 

Here's some basic requirements, in addition to being healthy, according to AKC: 

  • Your dog needs to be naturally calm, affectionate and friendly to strangers
  • Your pup needs to have completed basic obedience training
  • Your canine needs to be able to easily adapt to new noises, places, smells and equipment

If Spot passed that test, let's move on to how to train your dog

  1. Socialize him! To new people, places, objects and surfaces
  2. Get her certified as an AKC Canine Good Citizen. Behavior training for look, leave it, loose-leash walking and not jumping on people will be needed
  3. Obtain advanced training or Distraction Proofing classes
  4. Get him ready for therapy dog class, which will also train prepare you for therapy dog visits. You'll both needed to know how to handle different situations.
  5. Register with a national therapy dog organization. The AKC highly recommends this because it can provide you with support, advice and insurance. 

Finally, get your pet an Instagram account. That's not an actual AKC recommendation but man, do people love animal Instagram accounts

Sandy Coronilla is a KGTV digital producer. Follow her @10NewsSandy