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Although any size dog can make a great therapy animal, small dogs are particularly well-suited for the job because they can be easily lifted onto a person’s hospital bed, or held in the patient’s arms. When choosing a canine to serve as a therapy dog, the most important things to bear in mind are the animal’s temperament and how easily the dog can be trained. A good therapy dog must have a calm and gentle demeanor and must enjoy human touch. Although any breed can make a great therapy dog, some of the best therapy dog breeds are:
Therapy Dog Breeds- Small Breeds:
- French Bulldog
- King Charles Spaniel
- Bichon Frise
Therapy Dog Breeds- Large Breeds:
- Golden Retriever
- Labrador Retriever
- German Shepherd
- Saint Bernard
- Great Dane
- Bernese Mountain Dog
Therapy Dog Requirements
Therapy Dogs must:
- Be well-tempered
- Enjoy human touch
- Comfortable in busy or stressful settings
- Not shed excessively
- Love to cheer others up!
NOTE: Due to liability concerns, most organizations require therapy dogs to be fully certified and temperament tested.
A therapy dog’s primary duty is to make affectionate contact with unfamiliar people in sometimes-stressful environments, and thus, aside from the animal’s training, the most important characteristic of a therapy dog is its temperament.
Therapy dogs must have a calm and stable temperament and must be able to tolerate children, other animals, crowded public places and other situations which may be stressful, without becoming distressed or dangerous.
A good therapy dog must be friendly, confident, gentle in all situations and must be comfortable and contented with being petted and handled, sometimes clumsily.
Additionally, the dog must possess the ability to be lifted or assisted onto an individual’s lap or bed, and must also be able to sit or lie comfortably there.