Therapy dogs go with their owners to volunteer in settings such as schools, hospitals, assisted living facilities, airports, and libraries. From working with a child who is learning to read to visiting a senior center to college students during finals week, therapy dog visits are all about enriching the lives of other people.

Therapy dogs are not service dogs. Service dogs are dogs who are specially trained to perform specific tasks to help a person who has a disability. Therapy dogs, the dogs who will be earning the AKC Therapy Dog™ title, do not have the same special access as service dogs—no, your therapy dog may not go into a restaurant or fly for free. It is unethical to attempt to pass off a therapy dog as a service.

The Purpose of This Program

The purpose of this program is to recognize AKC dogs and their owners who have given their time and helped people by volunteering as a therapy dog and owner team.

  • AKC does not certify therapy dogs; the certification and training are done by qualified therapy dog organizations. The certification organizations are the experts in this area and their efforts should be acknowledged and appreciated
  • AKC Therapy Dog titles can be earned by dogs who have been certified by AKC-recognized therapy dog organizations and have performed the required number of visits
  • The AKC Therapy Dog™ program awards official AKC titles to dogs who have worked to improve the lives of the people they have visited

Get Started with AKC Therapy Dog