Therapy Dog Training Guidelines

These are basic guidelines a trainer needs to keep in mind while planning their approach to training a dog for therapy work and during the process of training.  

1. Dogs are focused on “What got me the treat” 

2. Timing the reward is important. You only have a couple of seconds to reward your dog when they have been successful, so have treats and praise ready. 

3. Ability to anticipate what your dog is going to do in any given situation (know when to use it to your advantage and when to try to neutralize). 

4. Dogs can be one dimensional, so change up your training routine or route (same as anticipation). 

5. Know yourself - when you are being impatient, flustered or angry, you should probably stop your training session. Learn how to get yourself in the right state of mind. 

6. Know your dog - know when learning has started and more importantly when it stopped. 

7. Training does not have to be in a special training area. It’s best to start, then as training progresses, learn to use the environment (parks, stores, people) 

8. Make training a part of your daily routine. 

9. Anything can be a cue 

10. Clicker? Clickers are not required for training, but if you would like to incorporate one be sure you know the advantages and disadvantages and when to use one.