Home Shih Tzu Dog Training Shih Tzu Therapy Dogs: Benefits & Training Tips

Shih Tzu Therapy Dogs: Benefits & Training Tips

by Scott Lipe
Shih Tzu Therapy Dogs

Therapy dogs are an incredible source of comfort and emotional support for individuals in hospitals, nursing homes, and schools. They have a unique ability to lower stress, reduce blood pressure, and uplift spirits. Shih Tzus, with their affectionate and friendly nature, make excellent therapy dogs.

To be a successful therapy dog, a Shih Tzu should possess qualities such as genuine affection for people, the ability to remain calm, and an awareness of others’ needs. Obedience is also crucial. Training a Shih Tzu as a therapy dog involves at-home or group obedience training and obtaining the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Award. Additionally, registering with a therapy dog organization, like Therapy Dogs International, is necessary to become an official therapy dog.

Key Takeaways:

  • Shih Tzus have a natural affinity for providing emotional support as therapy dogs.
  • Training for therapy work includes at-home or group obedience training.
  • Obtaining the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Award demonstrates good manners and obedience skills.
  • Registering with a therapy dog organization is essential to become an official therapy dog.
  • Therapy dogs, including Shih Tzus, offer numerous benefits such as lowered stress and increased well-being.

Qualities That Make Shih Tzu a Good Therapy Dog

Shih Tzus possess qualities that make them well-suited for therapy work. They are naturally affectionate and friendly, demonstrating genuine affection for all sorts of people. Their loving nature allows them to create strong connections with individuals, providing comfort and companionship.



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One essential quality of Shih Tzus is their ability to stay calm and composed in various settings. Regardless of the environment or the people involved, Shih Tzus maintain a peaceful demeanor. This calmness is crucial when interacting with different individuals, including those who might be anxious or in distress.

Shih Tzus are also incredibly perceptive and alert to the needs of others. They have the innate ability to sense when someone requires emotional support or simply a gentle touch. This sensitivity allows them to bring joy and happiness to those they encounter during therapy work.

Obedience is another vital trait for therapy dogs, and Shih Tzus excel in this aspect. They are eager to please and quick to learn, making training sessions efficient and enjoyable. Shih Tzus easily grasp commands and can follow them reliably, even in demanding situations.

The combination of affection, composure, empathy, and obedience makes Shih Tzus an excellent choice for therapy work. They have the innate qualities that enable them to provide emotional support and make a positive impact on the lives of those in need.

Qualities Description
Affectionate Shih Tzus demonstrate genuine affection and love towards people.
Composed They stay calm and composed in various settings and around people of all ages.
Perceptive Shih Tzus are alert to the needs of others and enjoy making connections with people.
Obedient They listen attentively and follow commands reliably, a crucial trait for therapy dogs.

Testimonial:

“Our therapy program is incredibly fortunate to have Shih Tzus as part of our team. Their affectionate and calm presence brings comfort and happiness to everyone they encounter. The empathy they possess is truly remarkable, and their obedience makes them a joy to work with. Shih Tzus are undeniably exceptional therapy dogs.”

– Jane Summers, Therapy Program Coordinator

Training a Shih Tzu to become a therapy dog involves honing these inherent qualities through obedience training and socialization. By leveraging their unique traits, Shih Tzus can contribute to the well-being and happiness of many individuals in need of emotional support.

Steps to Prepare a Shih Tzu for Therapy Dog Work

therapy dog training

To prepare your Shih Tzu for therapy dog work, follow these steps:

  1. Start with at-home or group obedience training. Training your Shih Tzu to follow basic commands and behave well in different situations is essential. Enroll your dog in group training classes to provide opportunities for socialization and learning in distracting environments.
  2. Obtain the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Award. This award demonstrates that your Shih Tzu has good manners and obedience skills, which are important for therapy dog work. Training for the CGC test will further enhance your dog’s training and behavior.
  3. Register with a therapy dog organization. Becoming a member of a therapy dog organization is necessary to start the journey towards becoming an official therapy dog. One example of a therapy dog organization is Therapy Dogs International, which offers education, testing, and certification for therapy dogs.
  4. Meet the therapy dog requirements. Each therapy dog organization has its own set of requirements that your Shih Tzu must meet. For example, Therapy Dogs International requires the dog to be at least 1 year old, have a clean bill of health, and not have a history of biting. The dog will also need to pass a comprehensive evaluation that tests their behavior and obedience in various situations.

By following these steps, you can prepare your Shih Tzu for therapy dog work and contribute to bringing comfort and joy to those in need.

Shih Tzu Therapy Dog Certification Process

The certification process for Shih Tzu therapy dogs entails a comprehensive evaluation conducted by a qualified evaluator. This evaluation assesses the dog’s behavior and obedience in various situations, as well as their response to physical touch. To ensure the dog’s suitability for therapy work, the evaluation includes specific criteria such as proper entry into rooms, greetings with individuals, and obedience to commands like “heel,” “sit,” “down,” “come,” and “leave it.”

During the evaluation, the dog should also demonstrate a willingness to be petted by different people, including those with mobility aids. This showcases their ability to provide comfort and support to individuals in need. By passing the certification evaluation, Shih Tzu therapy dogs are recognized as well-behaved and capable of fulfilling their role in therapy programs.

Finding a Shih Tzu therapy dog involves connecting with therapy dog organizations that have registered therapy dogs available for various programs. One such organization is Therapy Dogs International. They can assist in matching individuals or facilities with certified therapy dogs, ensuring a suitable match for the specific program’s requirements.

Shih Tzu Therapy Dog Certification Requirements

To become a certified therapy dog, Shih Tzus must meet certain requirements set by therapy dog organizations:

  • The dog should be at least 1 year old.
  • They must have a clean bill of health, including up-to-date vaccinations.
  • No history of biting or aggressive behavior.

Furthermore, therapy dog organizations, such as Therapy Dogs International, usually have their own certification process that includes a comprehensive evaluation. The evaluation assesses the dog’s behavior, obedience, and their ability to provide comfort and support in various situations.

Benefits of Having a Certified Shih Tzu Therapy Dog

Having a certified Shih Tzu therapy dog can bring numerous benefits to individuals and facilities:

  1. Providing emotional support and companionship to those in need.
  2. Helping to reduce stress and anxiety.
  3. Improving mood and overall well-being.
  4. Enhancing social interactions and promoting feelings of connectedness.
  5. Bringing joy and comfort to individuals in hospitals, nursing homes, and other settings.

A certified Shih Tzu therapy dog can make a positive impact on the lives of many, offering their affectionate nature and therapeutic benefits to those seeking comfort and support.

Conclusion

Shih Tzus have proven to be exceptional therapy dogs, utilizing their affectionate and friendly nature to offer emotional support and companionship to individuals in need. These adorable dogs have been scientifically shown to have therapeutic benefits, such as reducing stress and blood pressure, while fostering happiness and overall well-being. By bringing comfort and joy to various settings, Shih Tzu therapy dogs play a crucial role in enhancing the emotional well-being and quality of life for those they interact with.

The training and certification process ensures that therapy dogs, including Shih Tzus, are fully prepared and capable of fulfilling their role in therapy programs. Through obedience training and evaluations, these dogs become proficient in following commands and exhibiting proper behavior in different situations. Therapy dogs also undergo comprehensive evaluations that test their response to physical touch and their ability to connect with people of all ages and backgrounds.

Thanks to their lovable nature and the therapeutic benefits they provide, Shih Tzu therapy dogs have a positive impact on the lives of many. Their presence brings comfort, happiness, and a sense of companionship to individuals in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and other settings where therapy dog services are needed. These dedicated and trained therapy dogs exemplify the incredible bond that humans share with animals and the immense value they bring to our emotional well-being.

FAQ

Q: What are the benefits of using Shih Tzu therapy dogs?

A: Shih Tzu therapy dogs offer emotional support and have been proven to lower stress and blood pressure while lifting spirits.

Q: What qualities make Shih Tzu well-suited for therapy work?

A: Shih Tzus are naturally affectionate and friendly, able to stay calm and composed, and are aware of the needs of others. They also possess good obedience skills.

Q: How do I train my Shih Tzu to be a therapy dog?

A: Start with at-home or group obedience training and earn the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Award. Registering with a therapy dog organization is also necessary.

Q: What are the requirements for Shih Tzu therapy dog certification?

A: Shih Tzu therapy dog certification requires passing a comprehensive evaluation conducted by a qualified evaluator, demonstrating good behavior, obedience, and response to physical touch.

Q: How can I find a Shih Tzu therapy dog?

A: Connect with therapy dog organizations, such as Therapy Dogs International, that have registered therapy dogs available for various programs.

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