Therapy dogs are very similar to Assistance dogs and undergo the same training program however they are not required to perform the tasks that Assistance dogs are. Unlike an Assistance dog who is trained to assist their handler by performing certain tasks, Therapy dogs are trained to provide affection, comfort and support all kinds of people, not just their handlers.
Therapy dogs are trained to work in a variety of settings such as;
Can a Therapy Dog go Anywhere?
Therapy dogs do not have the same public access rights that Assistance dogs enjoy, however they are allowed in many public places such as those listed above. Many of these establishments have a therapy program in place such as the schools that have Reading dogs. Therapy dogs are still required to have a high level of training which includes toileting on command. A dog that toilets inside a hospital, school or other public facility will soon wear out its welcome.
What Breeds are Suitable as Therapy Dogs?
While a Therapy dog does not have the same requirements as Assistance dogs in regards to size, they are required to have a calm and even temperament. The Labrador and Golden Retriever are amoung the many breeds suitable along with Cavalier King Charles Spaniels which are considered natural therapy dogs since they were originally bred to be companion dogs who love meeting new people including children. They are very gentle and are eager to sit on someone’s lap and be patted.
Many schools have a reading dog program where children are encouraged to read to the dog. Children who are reluctant to read in front of the teacher find it easy to read to the dog as there is no judgement if the child stumbles on a word.