Therapy dogs are trained to provide comfort and affection to those in hospitals, nursing homes, retirement homes and schools with children who have learning difficulties and developmental disorders.

Therapy dogs come in all shapes and sizes. Temperament is the most important trait of a therapy dog, not breed or gender. A therapy dog must be outgoing, friendly, well socialized to all kinds of distractions (people, places, other dogs, loud noises, strong odors, different types of flooring, elevators, etc.). Basic obedience is a must.

Therapy dogs work in a variety of settings and must be comfortable being petted by men, women and children, occasionally all at once.  They often enjoy the visits as much as the people they are there to meet.

Caring Canines members include a variety of dog breeds and mixed breeds. Each dog must pass the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizens test, which requires of good manners and basic obedience. In addition, each team (handler/dog) must pass the Alliance of Therapy Dogs Inc. or Delta Pet Partners test. Each dog is temperament tested to ensure the dog’s comfort and reliability in a variety of settings and situations.

Although all dogs are wonderful, not all dogs are suitable for therapy work.

To decide if your dog has the temperament and obedience skills to become a successful therapy dog, ask yourself:

  1. Do you and your dog have a strong bond?
  2. Does your dog focus on you, and look to you for instruction?
  3. Is your dog consistently obedient, even in stressful situations?

How would your dog react in the following situations?

  • Having his hair, tail or ears pulled
  • Being hugged firmly
  • Crying or moaning patients
  • Sudden loud noises or beeping of medical equipment
  • Pungent odors
  • Food or pills on low tables or on the floor
  • Working in cramped, tight quarters
  • Interacting with large groups of elderly people or young children
  • Working side by side with other therapy dog teams

If you think you and your dog would be a good fit for our group, we would love to have you join our team!