PHOENIX--(BUSINESS WIRE)--PetSmart, North America’s leading pet specialty retailer, today announced a new Dog Therapy Training Course – a first for a national pet retailer to offer this unique dog training program. The new dog therapy training service prepares pet parents 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 parent 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 new six-week training course, available for $119, is rolling 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 parents 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.”
Pet parents interested in PetSmart’s Dog Therapy Training are encouraged to contact local stores to learn more.
PetSmart, Inc. is the largest specialty pet retailer of services and solutions for the lifetime needs of pets. At PetSmart, we love pets, and we believe pets make us better people. Every day with every connection, PetSmart’s passionate associates help bring pet parents closer to their pets so they, together, can live more fulfilled lives. This vision impacts everything we do for our customers, the way we support our associates and how we give back to our communities. We employ approximately 55,000 associates, operate more than 1,500 pet stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, as well as 204 in-store PetSmart® PetsHotel® dog and cat boarding facilities. PetSmart provides a broad range of competitively priced pet food and products, as well as pet-focused services such as dog training, pet grooming, pet boarding, PetSmart® Doggie Day Camp® and pet adoption. PetSmart, together with nonprofits PetSmart Charities® and PetSmart Charities™ of Canada, invite more than 3,000 animal welfare organizations to bring adoptable pets into stores so they have the best chance possible of finding a forever home. Through this in-store adoption program and other signature events, PetSmart has facilitated more than 7.3 million adoptions – more than any other brick-and-mortar organization. The company’s portfolio of digital resources for pet parents includes PetSmart.com, PetFoodDirect.com, Pet360.com, petMD.com, Pawculture.com, AllPaws, an online pet adoption platform that helps potential pet parents find the perfect pet to adopt based on their home, family and lifestyle, as well as BlogPaws, the world’s first pet blogger and influencer network. Through these digital platforms, PetSmart offers the most comprehensive online pet supplies and pet care information in the U.S. In celebration of its 30th anniversary, PetSmart launched its Buy a Bag, Give a Meal™ program in March 2017. For every bag of cat or dog food purchased March 1 – Dec. 31, 2017, PetSmart will donate a meal to pets in need and expects to donate more than 60 million meals in 2017.*
*Ends 12/31/17. 5 oz. dog food, 1.5 oz. cat food donated to PetSmart Charities to feed dogs and cats in need. See details at petsmart.com/giveameal. The actual number of meals donated is based on dog and cat food bags sold. The meal donation estimate is based on historic sales for similar time periods. No guaranteed amount. Rescue Bank and Feeding America will help distribute a large portion of the pet food donation in the U.S.