Training a dog to be a therapy dog involves mastering basic obedience commands, such as "sit" and "down," both with verbal cues and hand signals. Help a therapy dog behave in a variety of sensitive situations with help from a certified dog trainer in this free video on canine behavior.
Hi my name is Dee Hoult with Applause Your Paws in Miami, Florida. In this clip I'm going to show you how to get your dog ready to become a certified therapy dog. Now this is my dog Oxford, he's a yellow Labrador Retriever and he is registered through Therapy Dogs Incorporated, you see his little tag here. And Therapy Dogs Incorporated is one of a couple of national organizations that allows dogs to become certified to visit schools, to help children learn how to read. Visit nursing homes, to help the sick feel better and also hospitals. So there's a couple of things that we can do to get our dog ready to pass a therapy dog's exam. Now it's helpful if your dog already knows obedience commands. However, that's not always mandatory for the test. But if your dog already knows sit or down that's preferable. And what we want to start teaching and because Oxford's motivated by food, we are going to use food but you can use a toy just as well. We want to teach Oxford, come here buddy, to accept being close to an object to do a sit. Now most dogs are very comfortable doing a sit in front of you. Sit and as you see he's demonstrating for you what the tendency is, to swing out. But we are not going to give him the reward until he sits right here in between me and my make believe wheelchair, sit. Good boy. And we really want to reward our dogs for this because in this scenario this maybe a person then at that point that would lean over and pet our dog. Good boy. So we want to practice this on a lot of different sides because dogs don't generalize. So we'll move our pretend wheelchair over and we'll ask Oxford to do it on this side for us too. You can take his collar if you need to, sit, what a good boy. Now another thing that I like to do to get dogs ready for therapy exam is teach them to just respond to hand signals because sometimes you can't be loud you know in a facility like a hospital or a nursing home because it could frighten the residence there. And also it's just not polite to be that loud in that kind of setting so what we want to do is also teach our dog to just respond to hand signals. So for something like up, we might want to teach Oxford that this means up. Good boy. For something like sit you can use a hand signal like this. Now again I am just directing the dog to look at my hand. So I don't have to say the word, he'll naturally sit just looking up. And then lastly, a down, good boy. I'm Dee from Applause Your Paws in Miami, thanks for watching.