Therapy Dog Training

A Therapy Dog is a companion dog that helps to improve the mental, emotional or physical well-being of people in need. These dogs are specially trained for the purpose of bringing love and joy to patients in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, convalescent homes, hospice facilities and the like. Therapy dog training is a rewarding experience for all involved.

The Therapy Dog Training Program highlights two very important aspects of our mission; to help dog owners train their dogs to be well-mannered pets and to help promote the bond between people and their pets.

Our carefully designed Therapy Dog Training Program helps interested dog owners prepare their dogs and themselves for work as a certified therapy dog team. Our Pet Therapy Program has been designed by a team of trainers who have direct and personal experience working in the areas of pet therapy. We have utilized these resources with the ultimate goal of preparing teams for certification and placement with active and successful Therapy Dog Organizations such as Therapy Dog International.

Let's get started teaching your dog the skills necessary for this rewarding work!

Group Manners Dog Training Class

To get started with therapy dog work, we begin with group manners dog training class. During class, your dog gets to practice listening to you around other dogs and around other people.

Therapy Dog Class

The next step towards helping those in need with your therapy dog is therapy dog class. During therapy dog class, your dog will learn the next level of cooperation and will learn to ignore toys and food and choose to listen to you instead. During this class, we work through the tasks and skills needed to pass the Therapy dog test. 

Therapy Dog Test Requirements

  • The Dog must stand, sit or lay down and wait under control within the reach of their owner, while the owner sits at counter or table and completes paperwork while other dogs are lying down 8 feet away.
  • The Dog must lie quietly at their owners feet while the owner is sitting with another person (with or without a dog) during a casual meal or on a park bench.
  • The dog should be able to remain with a friendly stranger without showing distress while their owner is out of sight for one minute.
  • The dog should be able to walk on a loose leash in a new environment and does not pull. Able to execute the following with a loose leash: Left and right turn, Stop, Fast and slow pace
  • The dogs walks on a loose leash through a crowd.
  • During the test, Therapy Dogs walk past distraction dogs and do not pull on the leash.
  • A Therapy Dog must remain in a Sit-Stay in a small group (3 other people with dogs). Owners and dogs are in an informal group while owners have a conversation.
  • A Therapy Dog allows with little or no reaction an approaching person carrying something large such as a box or package to approach and pet it. “May I pet your dog?” (Item is put on floor/ground before person pets dog)
  • Therapy Dogs cooperate with their owners. They walk by food on the floor and respond to leaving the food on the floor.
  • A Therapy Dog responds to “Leave it” when a friendly visitor offers the dog a treat.
  • During the test, Therapy Dogs remains in a down or sit stay at a distance.
  • Therapy Dogs must come when called with distractions. Handler goes out 20-ft. and calls dog. Dog comes past a distraction to return to handler.
  • Therapy Dogs enters/exits a doorway or narrow passageway (on leash, with owner) in a controlled manner.
  • A Therapy Dog must be environmentally sound and tested on high gloss floors, willingness to enter a revolving or sliding door and willing to enter an elevator.
  • During the test, the Therapy Dogs need to ignore children on cue while they run, yell, play ball and drop things.
  • Dogs must be tested on a plain buckle collar or a slip leash. Training collars, training harnesses, halties, or any other corrective training devices are not permitted during testing or visiting as a registered Therapy Dog.
  • Dogs must be a minimum of one year old to be tested.
  • Handlers under 18 years of age must have a parent/legal guardian present.
  • Greyhounds are not required to sit for Therapy Dog Testing.