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PetSmart Launches Dog Therapy Training


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PetSmart has unveiled a new Dog Therapy Training Course. The dog therapy training service prepares pet owners and their dogs for Therapy Dog evaluation, which is conducted by third parties dedicated to registering therapy pets. Once officially registered, the therapy dog and pet owner can work together to give back to their community, delivering emotional support to those who need it at senior living facilities, hospitals, schools, libraries, funeral homes, community centers and other locations.

The six-week training course, available for $119, will roll out this month at select stores and is expected to be available across the majority of PetSmart’s 1,500-plus store chain by the end of the year. The course is led by an accredited pet trainer who delivers therapy training techniques designed to prepare pet owners and their dogs for the evaluation required to become a registered therapy dog through organizations like Pet Partners.

According to the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), animal-assisted interventions and support can reduce people’s stress, depression, and anxiety and help with conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder. Research also shows that classroom pets can motivate children to improve their reading performance. Therapy dogs can help hospital patients—especially children—battling illness with long hospital stays, as well as seniors, where trained therapy dog visits to nursing homes and senior living facilities reduce loneliness, generate smiles and lift spirits.

“We are thrilled to be the first national pet retailer to offer this unique training program, and we look forward to the positive impact this new course will have on pet parents and their dogs, as well as in local communities across North America,” said Joanna Zucker, vice president of services for PetSmart. “We listened to our pet parents, who told us they wanted this new level of training. Our dog training services range from puppy training and beginner training to advanced and trick training. This new offering provides another way for pet parents to deepen their connection with their dog and a powerful way to give back.”

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