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A Guide to Training Your Dog to be a Therapy Dog in Queensland

Updated: Mar 18

In the vast world of canine companionship, dogs often transcend their roles as mere pets, becoming cherished members of our families and communities. Beyond providing unconditional love and companionship, some dogs possess the remarkable ability to offer therapeutic support to those in need. These special canines, known as therapy dogs, play a crucial role in various settings, including hospitals, schools, nursing homes, and rehabilitation centers. If you're in Queensland and interested in training your dog to become a therapy dog, this guide from Doggy Styles Dayspa will provide you with essential steps to embark on this rewarding journey.

Understanding the Role of a Therapy Dog:

Before diving into the training process, it's essential to grasp the role and responsibilities of a therapy dog. Unlike service dogs, which are trained to assist individuals with disabilities, therapy dogs provide comfort, companionship, and emotional support to people in various settings. Their presence can alleviate stress, reduce anxiety, and improve overall well-being.

Legal Considerations in Queensland:

In Queensland, therapy dogs are not granted the same legal rights as service dogs. However, they are often welcomed in many public places, including hospitals, aged care facilities, and schools, with prior approval from the respective authorities. It's advisable to check with the specific facility or institution regarding their policies and requirements for therapy dog visits.

Selecting the Right Candidate:

Not all dogs are suited for the role of a therapy dog. Temperament, behavior, and obedience are crucial factors to consider when selecting a candidate for training. Ideally, a therapy dog should exhibit calmness, friendliness, and a gentle disposition towards people of all ages and backgrounds. Additionally, they should be comfortable in various environments and able to remain composed in potentially stressful situations.

Training Process:

1. Basic Obedience Training: Before embarking on therapy dog training, ensure your dog has mastered basic obedience commands such as sit, stay, come, and leave it. These commands form the foundation for more advanced training and are essential for maintaining control in various settings.

2. Socialization: Expose your dog to diverse environments, people, and animals to promote socialization and desensitization. This helps them become accustomed to different stimuli and ensures they remain calm and confident during therapy visits.

3. Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Certification: Consider enrolling your dog in a Canine Good Citizen (CGC) program, which focuses on developing good manners and behavior in various situations. CGC certification demonstrates your dog's obedience and suitability for therapy work.

4. Therapy Dog Training Programs: Enroll your dog in a reputable therapy dog training program or organization. These programs typically cover obedience training, temperament assessment, and specific skills required for therapy work, such as proper greeting techniques, handling distractions, and maintaining composure in challenging situations.

5. Practice Visits: Once your dog has completed training, engage in practice visits to healthcare facilities, schools, or other approved settings under the supervision of a certified therapy dog handler. This allows your dog to acclimate to the environment and refine their skills in real-world scenarios.

6. Certification and Registration: After completing training and demonstrating proficiency as a therapy dog, consider obtaining certification and registration from recognized therapy dog organizations. While not mandatory in Queensland, certification enhances credibility and may be required by certain institutions.


Training your dog to become a therapy dog in Queensland is a fulfilling endeavor that requires dedication, patience, and commitment. By following these steps and guidelines, you can prepare your canine companion to positively impact the lives of others through the power of therapy dog work. Remember, the journey towards becoming a certified therapy dog team is as rewarding as the service you'll provide to those in need.


lady with therapy dog

About the Author:

Leita Culpeper is the creative mind behind Doggy Styles Dayspa, Doggy Hampers, and Doggy Eco. With six years of experience in the pet industry, she's mastered the art of pet care through her grooming business and pet gift hamper company.

Fascinated by animal psychology, Leita shares her expertise through her YouTube channel, Doggy Lifestyles, where she interviews top experts in dog training, nutrition, and lifestyle trends. Doggy Lifestyles has become the go-to resource for pet owners seeking to enhance their furry companions' quality of life. With Leita's passion and dedication, Doggy Styles Dayspa, Doggy Hampers, and Doggy Eco epitomize excellence in the pet industry, fostering stronger bonds between pets and their humans.

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