• How to Register Your Dog for Therapy Certification Training in Hudson County

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    Here in Hoboken and Jersey City, we love our dogs. No, but seriously — it’s almost impossible to walk to the bus stop without seeing at least one pupperino. Here in Mile Square, we even have a dog poopoo ordinance; if that’s not a testament to our collective love for dogs, then consider these pups twinning with their mamas for Mother’s Day or these 20 Hoboken dogs with Instagram.

    Since Hudson County is a bunch of doggo lovers, we figured some of our Hoboken Girl readers might be interested in learning about Therapy Dog Certification.

    If you don’t know what Therapy Dog Certification is — don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. A therapy dog is a dog that has gone through a specialized kind of training to become therapy certified. Once certified, a therapy dog can visit hospitals, schools, and community events to offer members of the community emotional support. 

    You might have heard of Emotional Support Animals. The therapy dog distinction is different though. Before we get into how to register your dog for Therapy Certification training in Hudson County, let’s go through the basics of what it means to get a certification.  Keep reading to find out how you can register your dog for therapy certification in Hudson County. 

    therapy dog hudson county

    See More: 6 of the Best Dog Parks in Jersey City

    What a Therapy Dog Is

    A therapy dog is a dog that has undergone intensive training with the intention of being able to volunteer at hospitals, schools, and community events. Therapy dogs can visit cancer wings, psychiatric wards, children’s hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and more. They can also visit schools or university campuses. {This is becoming more and more popular for universities during finals week!} Therapy dogs can also attend community events with the goal of making people happy or providing emotional support.

    Therapy Dog vs. Service Dog

    No, therapy dogs and service dogs are not the same. A service animal is allowed in all public spaces because it has undergone even more intensive training to learn how to help individuals perform tasks they cannot do on their own because of a disability.

    While therapy dogs undergo intense training, the goal of a therapy dog is to provide emotional support.

    Read More: These 7 Hoboken Bars Allow Dogs

    What Therapy Dogs Have to Do

    Therapy dogs have to prove that they will listen to their handler. They must be able to sit and stay, sit and stay while the handler walks away or even walks around them; therapy dogs cannot get up until the handler lets them out of “sit” or “stay.” Therapy dogs must also do “leave it” to ensure that they won’t eat anything off the floor in a professional setting.

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    Dogs must also learn how to visit. This means a dog can do “paws up” if asked to visit. Therapy dogs cannot show aggression toward wheelchairs or any other kind of equipment and they must be comfortable riding in elevators. Therapy dogs are also not allowed to show aggression toward any other dog, handler, or trainer.

    Essentially, therapy dogs need to know basic commands but they need to respond to those commands in all kinds of environments. Dogs must ignore other dogs, ignore other humans; basically, therapy dogs must only have eyes for their handlers and be able to do anything the handler commands in any kind of situation.

    After Your Dog is Certified

    Most programs require 10 training sessions and visits before offering novice certification. There are other levels of achievement {like the Advanced Certification, which is generally 100 visits or Distinguished, which denotes 400 visits}. Check with your program though because many programs differ in their requirements.

    Once your therapy dog is certified, the certification organization will work with you to set up volunteer opportunities for you and your pup. As mentioned above, therapy dogs can visit hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, schools, libraries, and more.

    Therapy Certification in Hudson County

    So, you’ve read all the info about Therapy Dog Certification and you and Fido are game. For the next step, keep reading for a list of training classes that offer Therapy Dog Training:

    • Sit and Stay Dog Training: Joanna Watsky is a dog trainer, behavioral counselor, and Therapy Dog evaluator in Hoboken and Nutley, NJ. To learn more about her positive reinforcement program, visit her website, contact her at info@njsitnstay.com, or call at 201-933-3369.
    • Jersey City Medical Center: JCMC is looking for adult volunteers and their dogs for their JCMC Pet Therapy Team! You can register with Joshua Remland at 201-309-2739 or by email at joshua.remland@rwjbh.org. To qualify, you must complete their seven-week training course and volunteer on-boarding process. Their training schedule is available here.

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    Therapy Certification in Morris County

    • Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs: Located at 80 Powder Mill Road in Morris Plains, you can check out their schedule online.
    • Creature Comfort Pet Therapy: CCPT serves Morris County and surrounding counties, including Sussex, Somerset, Union, Essex, Passaic, and Middlesex. Learn more about their upcoming evaluations, trainings, and volunteer opportunities here.

    Starting Your Own Therapy Dog Chapter

    Love on a Leash is one of the largest and most well-known volunteer organizations committed to certifying therapy dogs. There are chapters nationwide, but as of right now, it doesn’t seem like Hoboken or Jersey City has a LOAL chapter. In fact, according to the LOAL website, New Jersey doesn’t have a chapter at all

    If this is something you want to take on, Love on a Leash has guidelines for leaders looking to start a chapter. Learn more about what it takes to start a LOAL chapter here.

    Are you interested in registering your dog as a Therapy Dog? Let us know in the comments!


    Written by:

    Steph Osmanski is a freelance writer who specializes in sustainability and health and wellness content. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at Stony Brook Southampton.


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