The AKC Therapy Dog program awards an official AKC title awarded to dogs who have worked to improve the lives of the people they have visited.
The AKC Therapy Dog title (THD) can be earned by dogs who have been certified by AKC recognized therapy dog organizations and have performed 50 or more community visits.
AKC and SCOA does not certify therapy dogs; the certification and training is done by qualified therapy dog organizations. The certification organizations are the experts in this area and their efforts should be acknowledged and appreciated.
Earning an AKC Therapy Dog title builds on the skills taught in the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy and Canine Good Citizen programs which creates a sound and friendly temperament needed by a successful therapy dog.
Therapy dogs are dogs who go with their owners to volunteer in settings such as schools, hospitals, and nursing homes.
From working with a child who is learning to read to visiting a senior in assisted living, therapy dogs and their owners work together as a team to improve the lives of other people.
Therapy dogs are not service dogs. Service dogs are dogs who are specially trained to perform specific tasks to help a person who has a disability. An example of a service dog is a dog who guides an owner who is blind, or a dog who assists someone who has a physical disability. Service dogs stay with their person and have special access privileges in public places such as on planes, restaurants, etc. Therapy dogs, the dogs who will be earning the AKC Therapy Dog title, do not have the same special access as service dogs.
It is unethical to attempt to pass off a therapy dog as a service dog for purposes such as flying on a plane or being admitted to a restaurant. SCOA recommends that all persons considering making therapy visits certify their dog through an agency that provides insurance to cover their visits.
How to Earn the Title
To earn the AKC Therapy Dog title, you and your dog must meet the following criteria:
1. Certified/registered by an AKC recognized therapy dog organization.
2. Perform a minimum of 50 visits.
3. The dog must be registered or listed with AKC.
For more information on this program please see www.akc.org/akctherapydog/
To see the Spinone who currently hold this title visit About SCOA, Titles and Awards, AKC Therapy Dog Titles