Any dog of any breed or mix of breeds with these qualifications is a good candidate to be a therapy dog. The membership process involves the handler/dog team passing the handling portion of the test followed by 3 successful supervised visits in the field. At this point, the handler sends in the membership packet with appropriate fees to the office where upon ATD has sole authority in accepting the team for membership into the organization. Upon acceptance, the newly registered team receives a membership card, a certificate and a heart shaped tag for the dog’s collar, to be worn when representing ATD.
The team may only begin visiting after receiving this packet.
Therapy dogs are not considered service dogs and do not have the legal access rights that service dogs have. An ATD member who misrepresents his/her registered therapy dog as a service dog violates the ATD Rules and Regulations and places his/her membership and the integrity of the organization at risk.
Therapy dogs are personal pets which meet certain requirements of good manners and good health, and pass testing and evaluations:
Therapy dogs must –
- Be at least one year of age
- Be good around other dogs
- Listen to their handlers
- Allow strangers to touch them all over
- Not jump on people when interacting
- Walk on a leash without pulling
- Not mind strange noises and smells
- Be calm for petting
- Not be afraid of people walking unsteadily
- Be current on all vaccines required by the local laws
- Have a negative fecal test and physical exam every 12 months
- Be clean and well groomed
Want to learn more about Therapy Dogs? Contact Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.