Therapy dog training isn’t something you should do just when you have the time. This type of training actually takes commitment and consistency. Training should begin the moment you bring your pet home. As an owner, if you feel that your dog would make a good therapy dog, it will be your responsibility to teach your pet the appropriate behaviors using positive reinforcement.
Training your dog to be a therapy dog is all about building their self-confidence and independence, which can help to create an amazing bond that will allow your dog to thrive.
Some dogs can be more challenging to train than others, depending on their age and disposition. Additionally, small breed pups can have different training needs compared to large breed dogs.
To learn more, click here to read our chihuahua training guide.
These training tips are designed to help set your pup on the right path toward becoming a therapy dog.
In addition to these tips, we recommend following a structured training plan, such as Doggy Dan’s Online Dog Trainer program. This program is easy to follow and can really help you to refine your dog training skills.
Now, let’s begin with the first tip for dog training.
Simple Training Techniques
- Enjoy what you do. If you practice accurate positive reinforcement training techniques and enjoy training your dog, then your dog will enjoy the training as well. Training should involve a fun game or activity that you and your dog both enjoy doing together. A dog will learn faster if he or she enjoys what they’re doing as well.
- Exercise for mental and physical health is important. Between training sessions, ensure your pet has received regular, adequate exercise. If you try to train your pet before they’ve had a chance to burn off energy, then getting them to settle down will be the equivalent to trying to teach a hyperactive toddler. Mental exercise is just as important as physical exercise. Training can be considered a form of mental exercise, but you should also provide plenty of opportunities for your pet to participate in a variety of mental exercises that are challenging.
- Get to really know your dog. Become familiar with their challenges and work on these as much as possible. A good therapy dog must know how to act appropriately in public. Is your dog hyper in crowded places? Do they jump up on strangers? A good therapy dog must learn how to act calm around people and in chaotic environments. Practice walking your dog in a calm manner in these types of environments. If your dog tries to jump on people, have them sit down immediately. Wait patiently until they’re calm and continue on your walk. During this time, make sure you bring along a bag of treats. Give your dog a treat every block or so, rewarding them for their calm, appropriate behavior. Instead of focusing on their surroundings they’re going to pay close attention to you.
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It’s a popular misconception that only certain breeds of dogs are trainable. While it is true that there are certain breeds that can be more challenging to train than others, every dog can be trained if you use the appropriate techniques. You may need to use different techniques with different dogs, but this ultimately depends on their disposition and personality. Small dogs may require different training techniques compared to large breed dogs, while seniors are often more difficult to train than younger dogs. But one therapy dog training technique that will always work is positive reinforcement.