Therapy dogs are amazing animals that volunteer with their human handlers in various settings, such as hospitals, schools, nursing homes, airports, and more. They provide comfort, support, and joy to people who need it the most. But not every dog is cut out for this important job. Therapy dogs need to have certain traits and characteristics that make them suitable for working with different kinds of people in different kinds of situations.
So how do you know if your dog has the potential to be a therapy dog? Here are some of the main traits and characteristics that you should look for in your furry friend:
**Calm demeanor**: Therapy dogs must be calm and relaxed in any environment. They cannot be easily startled, stressed, or agitated by loud noises, unfamiliar people, or other stimuli. They must be able to handle being touched, hugged, or petted by strangers without getting nervous or excited.
**Patience**: Therapy dogs must be patient and tolerant of people’s behaviors and emotions. They must be able to cope with being ignored, interrupted, or rejected by some people, while being attentive and responsive to others. They must also be able to wait calmly for their turn or their cue from their handler.
**Confidence**: Therapy dogs must be confident and self-assured in their abilities and skills. They must not show signs of fear, anxiety, or insecurity when faced with new challenges or situations. They must trust their handler and follow their commands without hesitation or doubt.
**Love of human contact**: Therapy dogs must love and enjoy interacting with people of all ages, backgrounds, and personalities. They must be friendly, outgoing, and sociable, without being overly enthusiastic or intrusive. They must be able to adapt to different people’s preferences and needs, such as giving kisses, lying on laps, or sitting quietly by their side.
**Adaptable**: Therapy dogs must be adaptable and flexible to changing circumstances and expectations. They must be able to adjust to different schedules, locations, routines, and tasks. They must also be able to cope with different weather conditions, transportation modes, and equipment.
If your dog has these traits and characteristics, they might be a good candidate for becoming a therapy dog. However, having these traits is not enough. Your dog also needs to have proper training, certification, and registration from a reputable organization that evaluates and registers therapy dogs. You can find more information about the requirements and process of becoming a therapy dog team on websites. This first site is for a local place in Santa Rosa, California