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How Are Therapy Animals Trained?

02 March 2023

Therapy animals can provide comfort and reassurance to people experiencing negative emotions like stress, loneliness, and anxiety.

In order to do this, therapy animals need to have a certain temperament and stay calm in potentially stressful situations.

If you’ve ever wondered if any pets can be therapy animals, what training therapy dogs and cats need to undertake, and how your business could benefit from pet therapy services, this article will answer all of your questions.

How can my business use therapy animals?

Many businesses and organisations are turning to therapy animals to provide a mental, emotional, and physical health boost to visitors and employees.

For example, therapy animals can help staff destress after a busy time at work and let students wind down after exams. They can also give older people in care homes and hospitals the opportunity to interact with a furry friend.

As an example of our work, we partnered with Barclay’s, with the bank offering puppy-petting sessions to students stressed about money. So students could get free budgeting advice and cuddle with a friendly puppy at the same time!

There are many different ways that your business or organisation can use therapy animals to boost peoples’ levels of serotonin and make them feel better!

(Please note that we only provide pet therapy for corporate events and professional/controlled environments. We do not offer therapy animals for events with children under 16 years old.)

Can any animal be a therapy animal?

We work with a wide range of kittens, puppies, and farm animals at Urban Paws UK, and the good news is that all breeds, large or small, can be fantastic therapy animals. It also doesn’t matter if a therapy animal comes from a registered breeder or is a rescue puppy or kitten.

However, the animals we work with must have the right personality for therapy work. While all animals are amazing, therapy pets need to have a particular disposition in order to be able to work with people.

Therapy animals need to not only have a friendly and kind personality but:

  • Be calm and relaxed around people, as well as other therapy animals
  • Be responsive but not needy or clingy
  • Enjoy being pet or stroked
  • Be unreactive to sudden and quick movements or noises. For example, if a therapy animal is in a hospital, they will need to be used to being around medical equipment
  • Be clean, fully vaccinated, and well-groomed

Therapy animals also need to be well-behaved. They need to:

  • Be able to respond quickly to recall
  • Be non-responsive around other animals
  • Be able to spend time away from their owner
  • Not jump up at people
  • Not lick or bark at people
  • Not display any signs of stress around people like barking, mouthing, or snapping

This means that not all animals can be therapy animals. However, animals that are comfortable around people and are not averse to new sights, sounds, and smells can be fantastic therapy pets!

(Please note that all puppies/kittens we use are temperament tested and will go to their forever homes once of age.)

How are pets trained to be therapy animals?

There isn’t a designated qualification for therapy animals in the UK. As a result, our therapy dogs have a wide range of training experience, from Canine Concern Scotland, and Pets As Therapy, to Canine Generated Independence. Some therapy animals don’t have official accreditations and instead are well-trained, well-socialised, and have a sweet disposition.

It’s essential for therapy animals to start their training when they are young and to be well-socialised with both humans and other animals. Therapy animals work with people from all walks of life, so they need to be used to being alongside everyone!

Hire a therapy animal today with Urban Paws UK

Pet therapy provides a wide range of health and social benefits. We all feel a lot happier and calmer after interacting with a cuddly animal friend, after all!

We offer pet therapy as one of our services at Urban Paws UK. Whether it’s fluffy kitten therapy, cuddly puppy therapy, or sweet farm animal therapy, all our pets are well-behaved and trained to the highest standards.

You can search our database to find out more about our therapy animals, including any accreditations and qualifications they have.

Contact us today to find out more about our therapy animal services, or to make a booking.

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