What is a “Therapy Dog”?

Three Different Types of Therapy Dogs

The first and most common are “Therapeutic Visitation” dogs. These dogs are household pets whose owners take time to visit hospitals, nursing homes, detention facilities, and rehabilitation facilities. Visitation dogs help people who have to be away from home due to mental or physical illness or court order. These people miss their pets, and a visit from a visitation dog can brighten the day, lift spirits,
and help motivate them in their therapy or treatment with the goal of going home to see their own pets.

The second type of therapy dog is called an “Animal Assisted Therapy” dog. These dogs assist physical and occupational therapists in meeting goals important to a person’s recovery. Tasks that a dog can help achieve include gaining motion in limbs, fine motor control, or regaining pet care skills for caring for pets at home. Animal Assisted Therapy dogs usually work in rehabilitation facilities.

The last type of therapy dog is called a “Facility Therapy Dog”. These dogs primarily work in nursing homes and are often trained to help keep patients with Alzheimer’s disease or other mental illness from getting into trouble. They are handled by a trained member of the staff and live at the facility.

Therapy Dogs Must

  • Be well tempered
  • Not shed excessively
  • Well socialized (exposed to many environments)
  • Love to cheer others up!


THERAPY DOGS MUST BE CERTIFIED! Certification provides liability insurance and temperament testing for all certified dogs. Don’t leave home without it!