There is a good chance that your pug helps you out a great deal. They probably make you laugh, cozy up to you when you need comforting and are just a bundle of joy and warmth to be around. However, would your pup be just as useful to other people? More to the point, would your pug make a good therapy dog?
The short answer to this question is: yes, pugs do make good therapy dogs. If this is a route that you are considering for your pooch, though, you need to gain more understanding into why your pug is a good fit for such a role. Not to mention, you also need to understand the intricacies of your pug becoming a therapy dog.
So, without further ado, let’s get started…
What are Therapy Dogs?
You first need to know what a therapy dog is. There is some confusion about what these kinds of pups can achieve. This is often because people get mixed up with service dogs, emotional support animals, and therapy dogs.
Therefore, let’s first straighten out what a therapy dog is. A therapy pup can be for just one person. Nonetheless, more often than not, they are dogs that help out larger groups of people as well. Their main job is to improve the mental and physical wellbeing of people. Therapy dogs will often be used in schools, hospitals, retirement homes, and similar settings.
There are many ways that therapy dogs can help people. For instance, they can be paired with a child who is learning how to read. Or, they can provide affection for someone sad or lonely. Sometimes, they are brought into the classroom to alleviate stress or teach kids about empathy.
It should be noted that therapy dogs aren’t anything like service dogs. This means that laws that apply to service dogs – such as airlines and housing – don’t apply to therapy dogs.
What Makes Pugs Good Therapy Dogs?
Now that you have a clearer idea of what the job of a therapy dog entails, let’s look at why your pug may be the perfect fit for this role:
They Have a Loving Personality
As a pug parent, you are more than aware that your pug is an incredibly affectionate pup. They’re always ready to give and receive love, regardless of who they’re around. You will often find that they are willing recipients of cuddles as well.
This trait is present because pugs have almost always been companions to humans. Unlike many other breeds, you will probably not have to train your pooch to go to other people.
They will do it all by themselves, often with total strangers.
Now, as mentioned, one of the therapy dog’s main jobs is to make people feel better. And, what better way to do this than to shower humans with love? It is this very nature that will make your pug a perfect fit for classrooms and retirement homes alike. In fact, it is why they will be readily accepted anywhere.
They are a Versatile Breed
Another thing you may have noticed about your pooch is that they are incredibly adaptable. They seem to be equally happy indoors, outdoors, with other animals, or by themselves. Pugs also adapt to different situations quite rapidly.
This means that your pug will be thrilled to go almost anywhere with you. There will be no need to spend loads of time trying to get them familiar with a particular spot. Rather, they will quickly make themselves at home, delighting all those around them!
Pugs are Trainable
Therapy pugs do need to receive some training as there are certain things that they need to learn before they can be taken to various facilities. Naturally, you know that your pug is quite intelligent. This alone makes it easy to train them to perform a variety of tasks. Not to mention, you will be able to manage it within a shorter period as well.
Just as important is that pugs are eager to please their humans. Thus, they will readily learn a task especially if they see that it makes you happy. So, when it comes to training, it is a win-win situation with your pug.
They Work Well with Children
There is no denying that kids can be a tricky audience. Children have a tendency to be loud, grabby, and rather excitable. This is why it is such a good thing that pugs are great around kids, especially if they have been raised in a household that has children.
Since pugs love being the center of attention, they don’t mind kids that want to pet them and play with them. They are also patient and calm creatures, ensuring that they will not become excitable when provoked by children. This means that your pug can easily be taken to hospitals, schools, and similar public areas without any problem.
Pugs aren’t Intimidating
Many people haven’t grown up around dogs. Thus, when they see bigger breeds, they may get nervous or shrink back. They will certainly not feel at ease around them. As you can imagine, this can defeat the purpose of having a therapy dog with you.
With a pug, though, there are no such issues. They are small and adorable enough that many people will automatically feel safe around them. Pugs also have small teeth and paws. Due to this, no one is going to fear that they will get mauled or attacked by the little dog. Therefore, it will be an absolute breeze to introduce your pug to virtually anyone.
How Can Your Pug Become a Therapy Dog?
You have established that your pug should be an excellent therapy dog. This means that the only thing left for you to learn is how to help your pug achieve this status. These are the steps you can follow for this part of the process:
Assess Your Pup
Now, you know that pugs, as a breed, can make excellent therapy dogs. Nevertheless, this doesn’t automatically ensure that your dog is right for this job. This is why you first need to assess whether or not your dog meets the necessary criteria.
So, can your pug be considered outgoing, affectionate, trainable, calm, and adaptive? At the very least, does it seem that your dog can be trained in such areas? If so, there is a good chance that your pup can be a candidate to become a therapy dog.
At the same time, you may only get your answer once you have started to train your pup. During this period, you may discover that your pup isn’t necessarily cut out for such a role. There is no need to get down, though, as they will still make an excellent pet.
Train Your Pup
Therapy dogs don’t have to perform specific tasks like service dogs. Due to this, there is no need to train them to pick up items or push buttons. Rather, a therapy dog’s training is more about their behavior. In short, they should exhibit positive traits while avoiding any negative attributes.
Most experts would agree that pugs who want to become therapy dogs should pass the Canine Good Citizen test. Some of the tasks that they will need to perform during this assessment include:
• Greeting a stranger
• Sitting quietly while being petted
• Allows their ears and paws to be handled/ Stays calm during grooming
• Follows simple commands such as Sit and Lie Down
• Walks through crowds calmly
• Follows leash commands as required
• Comes when they are called
• Isn’t easily distracted
• Can be left with other people for short periods
Therefore, if you would like to train your pug, these are some of the behaviors you should work on improving. As you can see, it is more about temperament than anything else. So, if your pug is already well-behaved and responds well to instructions, half of your job has already been handled for you.
Get Your Pug Certified
Once your pug has been properly assessed, it is a good idea for them to be certified by the proper agency. Registering your pug makes the future process a great deal easier for you. In particular, you will not have to keep convincing people that your pup is a therapy dog. Instead, you can show them the registration papers.
As such, this is a step that you should take once your pug has gone through the full process. The proper certification can also make it far easier for your pug to be placed in specialized environments such as hospitals.
This is a comprehensive guide on why pugs make such good therapy dogs. You can also find the details you need to register your pup and more. In doing so, you will be able to bring love, light, and joy into so many people’s lives! Thus, you can now use this information to share your pug’s warmth and affection with everyone you meet. What a wonderful gift that would be!