After living with our own Cavachon for the last four years, we have often wondered whether he would make a good therapy dog. We never did train Kirby for this as a puppy, but does he have the right temperament to be trained at this stage of life? Even if we decided to embark on this path, we were unsure how to get him certified. The process of getting certified as a therapy dog feels complex and challenging.
Cavachons can become excellent therapy dogs due to their temperament and friendly nature. They must be well socialized as puppies to interact with many types of people and medical equipment such as walkers and wheelchairs. Many national programs certify therapy dogs.
If you are considering training your Cavachon to be a therapy dog or an emotional support animal, this breakdown will help you decide what the right fit is for you.
Difference Between Emotional Support, Therapy, and Service Dogs
There are many vital differences between emotional support animals, therapy dogs, and service dogs. Understanding which type of work you want your Cavachon to do is essential to accessing the proper training and certification. Here is a quick breakdown of what you can expect from each type of dog and the rights that they are granted under the law:
Emotional Support Dogs
Emotional support dogs are great for those who struggle with mood disorders. They do not have public access rights, meaning that they will not be able to accompany you into stores or restaurants. However, they also do not require any specialized training. They are there purely to support you emotionally in a home setting. They are permitted in housing, even if it is a pet-free rental.
While there are many registration sites out there, it is not required to register your dog for this level of support. You will need a letter from a medical provider stating that you can benefit from having an emotional support animal. It functions as a prescription for you to have your Cavachon regardless of housing rules.
Therapy dogs are entirely different than emotional support animals. With this type of training, a therapy dog is permitted to go into facilities to lend comfort to many people. They are allowed in hospitals, nursing homes, libraries, and more. Cavachons are great for this type of work as they are naturally very friendly with strangers.
Service dogs are specifically task-trained to mitigate a physical or mental disability that impacts their handler. They must perform a task that will help improve your quality of life, such as retrieving medications, detecting seizures, or identifying allergies. The list of potential jobs that your service dog can learn is practically limitless.
They are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act and receive full public access rights to accompany their handlers anywhere they need to go, including stores and restaurants.
Are Cavachons Good Emotional Support Dogs?
Emotional support animals must be in tune with their owners to give them the support they are designed to provide. Cavachons are naturally very loving dogs and have no problem lavishing you with their affection. Spending a lot of time with your Cavachon allows them to form a close bond with you, enhancing their ability to determine when you are struggling.
They tend to be quite intuitive when managing your feelings and emotions. Because of this, they make excellent emotional support dogs.
Are Cavachons Good Therapy Dogs?
Therapy dogs must be amiable and cannot be timid around strangers. If your dog is a therapy dog, they will be exposed to many different people in unfamiliar settings such as a hospital or a nursing home. If your Cavachon is well socialized as a puppy, you should have no issues training them to be a therapy dog.
Their temperament is ideal for this line of work because the Cavachon tends to be very gentle and friendly toward everyone. If this is something that you are interested in pursuing, it can be helpful to start their training as a puppy so that they are confident in new situations and around a variety of people.
What is the Process to Get an Emotional Support Animal or Therapy Animal?
Emotional support animals do not require any specialized training to do their job well. While basic obedience is a good idea, this is not a requirement. Keep in mind that your dog will not be able to accompany you in public settings with this designation. They would need to be task-trained to serve you in public or have basic training as a therapy animal to help others.
Therapy animals are often required to pass the Canine Good Citizen test or an equivalent test administered by a professional. This proves that they are under the handler’s control, can adhere to basic obedience principles, and are friendly with other people.
Suppose you want to pursue taking your Cavachon into hospitals or other healthcare facilities to improve the quality of care for patients. In that case, you may be required to have certification from a legitimate training organization. Your Cavachon will need to learn essential commands such as:
- Leave it
- Loose leash walking
- Watch me
- No jumping on people when greeting
After obtaining your AKC Canine Good Citizen certification, you can enroll in a specific therapy dog class in your local area. These classes often culminate in an evaluation that gives your dog certification to accompany you in these settings.
How Much Does It Cost?
While training a service dog can be extremely expensive, you will incur far fewer costs to train a therapy dog. It will cost you just a few hundred dollars or the cost of the classes and evaluation that you will need to take to certify your dog. The exact price depends on which programs you enroll in and how much training you do with your dog on your own at home.
Where Do You Get Training for a Therapy Dog?
If you are searching for training for your Cavachon to become a therapy dog, it can be a good idea to look for nationally-recognized organizations. If you have a specific hospital or place where you would like to volunteer with your dog, you should check with them upfront to see their policy on permitted therapy dogs.
A few of the most well-known therapy dog organizations include:
- Alliance of Therapy Dogs
- Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs
- Love on a Leash
- Pet Partners
- Therapy Dogs International
You may also be able to find therapy dog classes through a local pet store for your Canine Good Citizen testing.
Allowing Your Cavachon to Help Others
Cavachons have the personality and temperament to make excellent therapy dogs if they are well socialized as puppies. They will still need professional training through an organization if you want to take them in public to help those with physical or mental disabilities in a setting where dogs are not typically permitted. If you have the money and time to invest in this endeavor, you will find that having a therapy dog can be pretty rewarding!
More on Cavachons
If you’re simply in love with Cavachons and can’t get enough, then check out our other posts below:
- Are Cavachons Hypoallergenic? [Our Personal Story]
- How Much Do Cavachons Cost in 2021? [Complete Price Guide]
- How Long Do Cavachons Sleep? *Sleep Habits & Training Guide
- Cavachon Lifespan: How Long Do Cavachons Usually Live?
- How Big Do Cavachons Get? [Firsthand Experiences Shared]
- How Long Does it Take to Potty Train A Cavachon? [9 Top Tips Inside]
- Do Cavachons Bark a Lot? [Triggers and Training Guide]
- Do Cavachons Like to Cuddle? [Our Kirby Sure Does!]
- Are Cavachons Good For Apartments? [Our Kirby Thinks So!]
- Can Cavachons Be Left Alone? [How Our Cavachon Kirby Copes]
- Why Does My Cavachon Smell Doggy? [Our Personal Experience]
- Are Cavachons Smart? [Our Family’s Personal Experience]
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- Our Cavachon Vs. Your Cavapoochon [Which Is The Best?]
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