Well, I trained Niki myself because she worked in my video store for years delivering movies to people's cars and a bunch of other duties. So after we closed the stores, passing the therapy dog test was a piece of cake. Really it is not too hard and the biggest help is to take the dog everywhere you can and be around a lot of people, noises and activity. Places like the parking lots of large stores, inside malls, parks, county fairs and on and on. It is not a requirement that they be professionally trained. I had to teach her to ignore other dogs because people often came to our store with dogs with them or in their cars. After years of that I took her to a dog park and she was mortified that other dogs were sniffing her butt
. That was OK.
She is ten and still going strong. Old is OK but the dog must be at least one year and the handler must be over eighteen. I take her to assisted living homes and tell everybody she is seventy years old and they love that. I truly believe a dog needs to be at least two years old to begin heavy duty therapy training but TDI only requires that they be one. It is best to start training when they are pups.