How to Obtain a Therapy Dog Certification

Emotional Support Animal How to Obtain a Therapy Dog Certification

How to Obtain a Therapy Dog Certification

Seeking therapy dog certification for your furry family member can be a unique and meaningful way to give back to your community, but it is important to understand that not every dog will make a good therapy dog before beginning the process and learn about what will be expected of you and your pet before getting started. Here is an overview of what the therapy dog certification process typically involves and how DoNotPay can help you fill in any gaps.

What Is a Therapy Dog?

Therapy dogs are similar to emotional support animals because both can provide comfort during stressful situations. While emotional support animals primarily benefit their owners, therapy dogs can serve a wide variety of groups. These dogs can provide a calm, comforting experience in stressful or sad environments, such as:

  • Hospitals
  • Schools
  • Libraries (may participate in children's reading programs or provide stress relief during final exams)
  • Airports
  • Funeral homes
  • Following natural disasters

Nearly any location can choose to bring in therapy dogs, but they do not typically have other special access to public places in the same what that trained service animals and emotional support animals do when they are not working. This means that their owners will generally need to live in locations where pets are allowed, and they may need to follow pet policies on airlines such as Southwest and the United airlines. This special categorization generally means that they will not need an emotional support animal letter under most circumstances, but you will need to meet other requirements to obtain therapy dog certification.

Therapy Dog Certification

There are no restrictions as far as the breed or size of dogs that can qualify to become therapy dogs, but some breeds tend to be more likely to have a natural temperament and ability to learn that will allow them to be more successful than others. Adult dogs of any age can also qualify, although most reputable therapy dog organizations will not test puppies that are under one year old. Some indicators that your pet may be an ideal candidate to become a therapy dog include:

  1. A calm, relaxed personality
  2. Good manners and social skills
  3. Enjoys being around people in general and is comfortable around strangers
  4. Smart enough to quickly pick up more complex skills
  5. Be comfortable around other dogs

Other ideal traits that a therapy dog should have are:

Self ControlYour pet should not get too energetic and be rough around children or the elderly as this might injure them.
AdaptableTherapy dogs should be able to adapt to various environments they are assigned in. Pets that can’t adapt well may become weary or even aggressive which is not ideal for the job.
Non-sheddingIt should be ideal that your pet shed less or is a non-shedder as some people may have allergies as well as it might be a pain to clean up. There are a few ways for you to combat shedding like bruising your dog regularly or using certain shampoos. Visit and ask your local vet for advice in regards to shedding.

If you are considering seeking therapy dog certification for your pet, he or she will first need to complete a basic dog training program that will give him or her the skills needed to pass the American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen test or a similar obedience test that shows they know how to behave properly in public and when interacting with strangers. Depending on your level of experience working with dogs, you may be able to train your therapy dog yourself, or you can work with a private trainer or take a course with other dogs and their owners.

Obtain Your Therapy Dog Certification by Yourself

After your dog passes this initial test, you can connect with a professional therapy dog organization to take the next steps toward obtaining his or her full therapy dog certification. Your dog will then need to pass a secondary evaluation with this organization that helps professionals determine whether he or she is a good fit for working with a wide range of people under stressful circumstances. Your dog should also be in overall good health. This requirement includes having any routine vaccinations that are required by your city or state.

Next Steps for Obtaining Your Therapy Dog Certification if You Can't Do It Yourself

Although there are many therapy dog organizations across the country, you may not have one in your town or within a reasonable drive from your home if you do not live in a major city. While DoNotPay does not meet the criteria to actually give you your therapy dog certification, we can quickly and conveniently get you in touch with an organization that is a good fit for you. Depending on where you live, choosing us may be faster and more convenient than spending hours searching for a therapy dog organization near you.

Obtain Your Therapy Dog Certification With the Help of DoNotPay

Here is an overview of how DoNotPay can help you throughout the therapy dog certification process:

  1. Search "service animal" on DoNotPay.


  2. Select the type of issue you need help with, including contacting your landlord about your ESA/service animal, asking your airline about ESA options, or requesting ESA/service accommodations at other venues.
  3. Answer a series of questions about your current situation and the details of your ESA/service animal, so we can generate the best results for you.

We can then contact any necessary third parties on your behalf.

What Else Can DoNotPay Do?

DoNotPay makes handling several types of problems from home easier than ever. We can also quickly and successfully help you:

  • Get approved to get an emotional support animal, even if your rental does not allow pets
  • Get approved to bring your emotional support animal to work, on airplanes, and to other public places
  • Get copies of several types of important documents
  • Handle safety concerns with your rental

Aside from answering your pet-related inquiries, DoNotPay can also help you with other services like:

At DoNotPay, we are here to quickly and conveniently help you through the therapy dog certification process. Contact us today to learn more about the benefits of therapy dogs or to get started!

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