A dog isn’t a therapy dog until it’s received the proper training.
However, anyone can call their dog such, because there’s no regulations.
Colleen Dell, from the One Health and Wellness at University of Saskatchewan, noted therapy dogs are trained to understand when to and not to work.
“I’ve trained a service dog with a veterans service organization,” she said. “And it just blows my mind when I put that service vest on him. There’s no distractions, you can offer him a cookie, you can offer him whatever. No! He’s not taking it.”
Dell, who’ll be speaking at the Saskatchewan SPCA Conference in Saskatoon later in September, finds it concerning that people call their dogs “therapy dogs”, despite the fact they’ve received a lack of or no training.