Are Bernedoodles Good Therapy Dogs? [Process Made Simple]


are bernedoodles good therapy dogs

The obvious appeal to a Bernedoodle is their adorably charming faces. Typically, this Bernese Mountain Dog and Poodle mix have a slightly curly or wavy, hypoallergenic coat. This designer dog tends to have a pretty lovely and happy-go-lucky temperament, and they love being around their family members. Does this make them a good therapy dog, though?

A Bernedoodle is the perfect combination of intelligence and friendliness. They have an eagerness to please and create strong bonds with their owner. These qualities (with the proper training) can make the Bernedoodle an excellent choice as a therapy dog.

Keep reading if you’re considering owning a Bernedoodle as a therapy dog. Below, you will find important information about why a Bernedoodle can be a great therapy dog and the process, plus some other interesting info.

Difference Between Emotional Support, Therapy, and Service Dogs

Before we dive into whether or not Bernedoodles are a good fit as a therapy dog, it’s essential to understand the critical differences between emotional, therapy, and service dogs. Although sometimes the terms are used interchangeably, they are not the same thing.

  • Service dog: A service dog is specifically trained to work with those who may have disabilities, such as blindness, visual impairment, diabetes, and more.
  • Therapy dog: Unlike service dogs, a therapy dog can enter buildings such as nursing homes and schools to provide comfort and support.
  • Emotional support dog: Lastly, an emotional support dog (ESA) is a dog that provides emotional support to those struggling with severe mental illnesses. They are not considered service dogs and therefore do not have to be allowed into buildings.

Are Bernedoodles Good Therapy Dogs?

Now that you know more about a service, therapy, and emotional support dog, we can look at whether or not a Bernedoodle is a good fit. We will start with therapy.

A Bernedoodle is a top choice for therapy dogs. They inherit intelligence and obedience from their Poodle parent, which means they will be easy to train. On the other hand, they also inherit the charming, loving, and happy temperament from the Bernese Mountain Dog. Together, these qualities prepare the Bernedoodle to be an excellent therapy dog.

There are only two essential things to keep in mind when it comes to a Bernedoodle becoming a therapy dog. For one, Bernedoodles typically come in three sizes. Even the largest size isn’t all that big, which means they won’t be a good option for those that need mobility support.

Depending on the dog, some Bernedoodles can have somewhat high energy needs. As long as they are exercised at least once throughout the day, it shouldn’t be an issue. Otherwise, the Bernedoodle is the picture-perfect candidate for therapy. 

What is the Process of Becoming a Therapy Dog?

Just because the Bernedoodle has the right personality for therapy doesn’t mean they will automatically become one. Proper training must be conducted before a dog is labeled an actual “therapy dog.”

Training can be done in private lessons (search for private therapy dog training near you – even Petco offers a great course), or you can do it in your own home. To know exactly how to train your pet, it’s a good idea to look at the ten requirements for the CGC (Canine Good Citizen test).

It’s a good idea to train a Bernedoodle when they’re younger. Bernedoodle puppies may have some stubbornness. The good news is, this typically wears off as the Bernedoodle reaches adulthood. This is when their calm, intelligent, and eager-to-please attitude comes into play.

Make sure that you are taking care to properly socialize your Bernedoodle, too. They should be around all types of people, places, and things to be well-versed with society. By doing so, your Bernedoodle won’t have a problem entering buildings ranging from preschool to nursing homes.

Once your Bernedoodle is socialized and deemed a “Canine Good Citizen,” it’s time to focus on therapy training specifically. Certain behaviors such as: “Leave It,” “Watch Me,” and leash-walking are imperative skills. 

When your Bernedoodle is ready, get your Bernedoodle certified through a place such as Alliance of Therapy Dogs or Pet Partners. Register your hound so they can start helping people right away!

How Much Does a Therapy Dog Certification Cost?

It shouldn’t cost more than a few hundred dollars to get your Berndedoodle certified as a therapy dog. Here is a basic breakdown of the expenses:

  • Handler’s Class: This can vary depending on where and who handles your hound, but it typically runs between $60 and $80.
  • Therapy Training: Again, this depends on who’s training your pooch. A professional class can cost up to $100 or more.
  • Evaluation: To get certified, you will need to have your Bernedoodle evaluated. This typically does not cost more than $20.
  • Registration: Upfront registration is usually less than $100.
  • Renewal – Every three years, your Bernedoodle will need to renew its certification. This is also less than $100.

Are Bernedoodles Good Emotional Support Dogs?

Training your Bernedoodle to be an actual therapy dog can be time-consuming and costly. If you’re not dead set on having your Bernedoodle become a therapy dog, it can still be used as a successful emotional support dog.

Remember – a dog that has a calm, friendly, and supportive attitude is all that is necessary for a dog to become an emotional support dog. The Bernedoodle has these traits and more, making this designer breed a top-notch choice for emotional support.

The only drawback is that an emotional support dog cannot enter all buildings like a service dog. So, don’t plan on bringing your Bernedoodle anywhere that dogs are not allowed in general.

Final Thoughts

A Bernedoodle is an ideal candidate for a therapy dog. They are loving, caring, calm, and intelligent. They’re easy to train, so training a Bernedoodle to become an actual therapy dog is a cinch, even if you perform the training at home. After proper certification and registration, your Bernedoodle will be set to support and comfort people across the nation.

More on Bernedoodles

If you’re simply in love with Bernedoodles and can’t get enough, then check out our other posts below:

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