Do you wish that your Morkie could make an impact on the community? As therapy dogs, they may be able to do just that. They can earn the right to enter hospitals, nursing homes, libraries, and more to bring joy to people in the community. Many Morkie owners wonder whether their dog has what it takes to be considered a therapy dog, and there is good news!
The Morkie tends to have a social temperament that lends itself well to therapy work. Be sure to socialize puppies with lots of people and objects to prepare them for this line of work. Start with the AKC Canine Good Citizen test, and then find national certification and registration for your dog.
If you have been thinking about training your Morkie for therapy work, here is everything you need to know!
Differences Between Therapy Dogs and Emotional Support Animals
Before you determine what type of training is the right fit for your Morkie, it helps to know the critical differences between these two common types of animals. Many people mistakenly use the terms interchangeably, but they are distinct categories with special rights bestowed upon the dog. Take a closer look at the differences between therapy dogs and emotional support animals here.
Therapy dogs accompany their handlers into facilities where dogs are not often allowed. This can include hospitals, nursing homes, libraries, and schools. They are intended to boost the patient’s care or the person they will be interacting with.
Your Morkie must be friendly and well-behaved to be a good therapy dog. Most facilities will require training or a type of certification to prove that you have control over your dog in public. The AKC Canine, Good Citizen test is a great starting point if you want to eventually have a therapy dog.
Emotional Support Animals
Emotional support animals do not have the right to accompany you in public places where dogs are not typically permitted. However, they are granted housing rights that allow you to keep the dog with you even if your landlord does not allow pets. You will need a prescription from your medical or mental health provider stating that you need an emotional support animal to get legal protection.
There are many online sites for registering an emotional support animal, but these are not an absolute requirement. You may find that registering gives you peace of mind, but it is an unnecessary step. They do not require any special training, though basic obedience is always a good idea.
Are Morkies Good Emotional Support Dogs?
Morkies can make great emotional support dogs for their handlers. Like many other designer dog breeds, they are pretty friendly and form close attachments to their owners. Because of their very social nature, they tend to always make themselves available for a cuddle or petting. Some dogs of this breed are pretty intuitive and know when their owners need them.
Are Morkies Good Therapy Dogs?
If you socialized your Morkie well as a puppy, then you may find that they make a great therapy dog. You will want to see your dog engage in appropriate behavior with strangers, including many different types and ages of people. They should also be comfortable with medical equipment and moving objects like walkers or wheelchairs.
In general, Morkies tend to have the right temperament for this type of work. They are naturally social and love to be petted and cared for. They are outgoing, and most dogs act as though they have never met a stranger. This makes them ideal for therapy dogs because they will be exposed to many different types of people.
What is the Process for a Therapy Dog?
Most facilities want to see proof that your dog is well-behaved and has the right temperament for therapy work. Be sure to check with the facility where you are interested in volunteering to see what they require before you embark on this journey.
Most Morkie owners will start with basic obedience training that leads up to the AKC Canine Good Citizen test. This is administered at many local pet stores and through private trainers who are certified to give the exam. During this training, your dog will learn essential obedience skills such as:
- Leave it
- Loose leash walking
- Focus or watch me
- No jumping when being introduced to new people
From here, you can pursue more specific therapy dog training through many organizations in the country. Research some of the most well-known organizations for more details on their training process:
- Alliance of Therapy Dogs
- Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs
- Love on a Leash
- Pet Partners
- Therapy Dogs International
Many of these organizations provide the testing, certification, or registration required by the facility where you wish to volunteer. Be sure to check with the facility to ensure that the certificate you receive will allow you to bring your dog through their doors.
How Much Does a Therapy Dog Certification Cost?
You can expect to spend a few hundred dollars on a therapy dog certification. First, you have the cost of the Canine Good Citizen classes and tests. While many local pet stores offer this option, it is the first actual expense of training your dog for therapy work.
Beyond this, you will also need to pay for the therapy dog training, certification, and registration with the organization of your choosing. This can cost in the ballpark of $100. For example, if you wish to register with Alliance of Therapy Dogs, it will cost you about $60 ($30 for annual fees, $10 for new members, and $20 for a background check).
Training Your Dog for Therapy Work
While emotional support animals do not require any extensive training, therapy dogs must adhere to a higher standard because they interact with the public. If this interests you, you should research what facilities in your area require registration. The Morkie is a great candidate for therapy work and emotional support, so decide for yourself if you are interested in volunteering alongside your four-legged friend!
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