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AKC Expands Therapy Dog Titling Program

New York, NY – In an effort to honor the thousands of therapy dog teams that make a difference in the lives of others daily, the American Kennel Club® (AKC®) has added four new titles to the popular AKC Therapy DogTM program.

In addition to the AKC Therapy Dog (ThD) title (awarded after 50 visits), the AKC now offers:

  • AKC Therapy Dog Novice (ThDN) – Awarded after 10 visits
  • AKC Therapy Dog Advanced (ThDA) – Awarded after 100 visits
  • AKC Therapy Dog Excellent (ThDX) – Awarded after 200 visits
  • AKC Distinguished Therapy Dog (ThDD) – Awarded after 400 visits

“The AKC heard from many dog owners whose dogs had already earned the ThD title and who wanted additional formal recognition of their ongoing commitment to volunteering to help others. We’re pleased to expand the AKC Therapy Dog program as a result of these requests,” said Doug Ljungren, Vice President of AKC Sports and Events. “We’ve also added a way to acknowledge beginning therapy dogs, hoping that this will encourage even more dogs and owners to participate in therapy dog work.”

Dogs who are registered and approved by recognized therapy dog organizations may apply to earn the AKC Therapy Dog titles, which will be listed on the dog’s AKC title record. Any dog, including mixed breeds, can earn AKC Therapy Dog titles as long as the dog is AKC-registered, listed with AKC Canine Partners or enrolled in the Purebred Alternative Listing (PAL) program. AKC does not train or certify therapy dogs.

Applications for the new titles will be accepted beginning June 1st, with titles awarded beginning July 1st.

To apply for a title or learn more about the AKC Therapy Dog program, visit http://www.akc.org/dogowner/therapy/index.cfm.

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  • Cindy Bundy May 12, 2014 at 1:30 PM

    I am appalled. As someone who is very active in therapy dog work, this is the worse thing the AKC could do. It has now made it a sport to do therapy visits. I was thrilled when they came out with the original title. I have 3 dogs that qualified. But this was my biggest fear. I even called the AKC when they first came out with the title and begged them NOT to make advance titles. To do therapy work is an act if empathy. It is done by people who enjoy interacting with people and sharing that special human-animal bond. Now it will become a competition. Let’s see how many visits I can do in a day so I can get an advanced title…..sickening. We all know the title mongers who have si many titles on their dogs you don’t even know what is the name or part of the titles. I am sooooo disappointed in the AKC over this one. Sad.

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