The Maltipoo is unquestionably one of the most popular “designer dogs” out there. But just because their adorable faces come in small packages doesn’t mean they can’t be a viable option as a therapy dog. With that in mind, are Maltipoos good therapy dogs, and why?
Maltipoos can be excellent therapy dogs thanks to the intelligence of the Poodle and the playful and affectionate nature of the Maltese. They will need to be socialized as puppies and go through the proper training and certification to become therapy dogs.
If you’re the proud owner of a Maltipoo and want to share the love, joy, and affection they bring with the world, you should consider training and certifying your hound as a therapy dog. Keep reading to discover why the Maltipoo is an excellent candidate and how they can join the elite group of therapy dogs.
Difference Between Emotional Support, Therapy, and Service Dogs
Before you can genuinely understand whether or not your Maltipoo is the right breed for therapy work, it’s essential to understand the difference between emotional support, therapy, and service dogs.
These three terms are often used interchangeably, but they are their own specific categories with straightforward jobs and functions.
- Emotional Support Dog: An emotional support dog must be prescribed by a mental health professional. The physician must determine that the dog is essential to a patient’s mental health. From there, the emotional support dog can be housed regardless of a building’s pet rules. However, these dogs are not permitted elsewhere, with laws and regulations for pets.
- Therapy Dog: Therapy dogs are specifically trained to be “good citizens” and provide care to the people they interact with. They accompany their owner into a wide range of settings, from hospitals to nursing homes and beyond.
- Service Dog: A service dog is specifically trained to handle specific disabilities, such as being a guide dog for a visually impaired owner or a medical alert hound for those with epilepsy.
Are Maltipoos Good Therapy Dogs?
The quick answer is yes. The Maltipoo has the ideal temperament for being a therapy dog. Not only that, but they are highly intelligent and fast learners, which is essential for becoming a therapy dog.
Since the Maltipoo is relatively calm – especially as an adult – it shouldn’t have a problem providing services to many people, from nursing homes to schools and beyond. Just make sure that your Maltipoo is socialized at a young age for the best results.
Bonus: Maltipoos are hypoallergenic, which means they’re suitable for almost any environment.
Are Maltipoos Good Emotional Support Dogs?
The Maltipoo is also a stellar choice for emotional support. Again, this reverts to the calm and snuggly temperament of the breed. Another bonus is that they are pretty small in stature, which means they will have no issues climbing into someone’s lap for long periods.
They are best suitable for those struggling with depression, anxiety, and related disorders.
Are Maltipoos Good Service Dogs?
The Maltipoo would be the superior choice in a perfect world as a service dog. They love to help their owner and provide them with the best care possible. Unfortunately, the Maltipoo’s size holds them back from most service work.
The Maltipoo typically only stands 8 to 10 inches and weighs up to seven pounds, making them a tiny designer dog that loves to play around and snuggle up on one’s lap. Obviously, their small stature makes it impossible for them to perform heavy service assistance, such as pulling wheelchairs.
This doesn’t rule out service work entirely, though. Although small, the Maltipoo is easily trained and can help people with specific disabilities. For example, the Maltipoo is a prime candidate for a Medical Alert Canine, perfect for those struggling with epilepsy or oxygen deficiencies.
What is the Process to Become a Therapy Dog?
Training your Maltipoo to become a therapy dog is not a difficult feat. The Maltipoo is naturally loving and a good learner, so training should be a breeze. Training can be done on your own or with a professional trainer.
Regardless of the route, here are the basic steps to become a therapy dog:
- Start with socialization as a puppy. Therapy dogs will be around an immense amount of people, and they need to feel comfortable with that. The best thing to do is socialize at a young age.
- Train for and obtain the AKC Canine Good Citizen title. The Canine Good Citizen (CGC) title consists of must-have behaviors such as “leave it” and the ability to greet people without jumping on them.
- Consider specialized training. Although not essential, some Maltipoo owners may want to further their dog’s training and skills. There are many groups they may become a part of.
- Pass the test and register as a therapy dog. An observer will watch your dog in intimate and visiting settings to ensure they are suited for the job. If your Maltipoo passes, they will be issued a certification.
How Much Does it Cost?
It typically costs several hundred dollars to have your Maltipoo become a certified therapy dog. Many factors go into the final price, though.
- Training. Private and professional training will cost more than training done for free at home.
- CGC classes and tests. Your dog needs to have this certification to become a therapy dog. Owners should be prepared to finance this.
- Certification. Therapy dogs will require certification before being allowed into public places for work.
- Registration with other organizations. While this is not essential, it’s certainly something most therapy dog owners will engage in. Each organization has its pricing; for example, the Alliance of Therapy Dogs costs around $60.
Maltipoos As Therapy Dogs: A Great Choice
A Maltipoo is undeniably one of the best designer breeds for therapy work. They have a calm demeanor and love to be cuddled, making them the perfect fit. They are also viable options for emotional support and particular service work. Regardless, expect to pay a decent amount to provide your pet with the training and certifications necessary for therapy work.
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