Volunteering is a wonderful way to give back to your local community. There are many ways to volunteer but one in particular that seems to be very popular today is volunteering as a Therapy Team with your dog.
At Alaska Dog Works, we get countless calls and inquiries monthly regarding individuals interested in certifying their dog as a therapy dog. Many times, the individual is taken aback once they learn what it takes. You see not every dog can or wants to work. Not every dog has the temperament or drive to make itself available emotionally and physically to strangers in new unfamiliar environments.
That being said Alaska Dog Works offers many different levels of Therapy Team training. Including temperament testing and recertification training, we are familiar with the practices and testing requirements of Delta Society (http://www.deltasociety.org), Therapy Dogs International, Children’s Hospital, and other therapy team certification.
If you are thinking about volunteering with your dog and becoming a therapy team take some time and research your endeavor. Ask at the local assisted living homes, hospitals, schools, and libraries if they utilize this service and what certification they are looking for. There are also several private therapists, in home care businesses and enrichment programs that utilize therapy teams. Your local dog trainer is a great resource and I would recommend starting with a trainer who is certified or experienced in therapy training.
Training recommendations for therapy dogs; basic obedience, Canine Good Citizen, a form of public access training, and proper socialization with people and outside environments.