Therapy Dog Training

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Therapy Dog Training - Level 1
Day of The Week - Start Date - Time - Location:
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Therapy Dog Training & Certification - Level 2
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FAQ’s About Therapy Dogs

Q. What is required of my dog to become a therapy dog?

A. Your dog must be well-mannered, well-behaved, and enjoy meeting new people. They must be properly trained and follow your commands both on leash and off.

Q. Does being a Therapy Dog offer any of the protections/benefits of being an Emotional Support Dog?

A. No, because your pet does not aid you with a specific disability or emotional need, your dog does not qualify for any of the protections offered under the Fair Housing Act or ADA Requirements and may be denied entry to private establishments.

Basic training that shows your dog can do on-leash sit, lie down, stay, and come.

Friendly to other dogs and people.

Clickers are not used. Please do not bring them to class.

Breed restrictions do apply (see my liability page)

What is a Therapy Dog?

A therapy dog’s job is to accompany their owner in volunteer settings- such as hospitals, schools, assisted living homes, and even court rooms! Together owner and therapy dog work as a team to bring a bit of happiness and puppy love to the lives of the people they visit.

Level 1 Training Will Cover-

  • Introduction to wheelchairs, canes, crutches, walkers and wheels.  Dogs are trained to be non- reactive to these commonly encountered objects in therapy dog work.

  • Close work with people. Dogs need to be able to perform commands while in close proximity to others while maintaining focus on their work.

  • Introduction to erratic movements. Therapy dog need to be calm around people with odd gaits, odd clothing, hats and sunglasses

  •  Introduction to sudden and startling sounds, movements and hand motions from people.

  • Basic command work. Solidify your dog's training and basic command work. Walking without pulling on a leash is an important part of Level One.

We will also cover your role as a Therapy Dog Handler and discuss topics like- 

  • Interaction with patients 

  • How to come into a room

  • How to start a conversation

  • The power of silence-when is talk too much?

 Please expect to train at home.

Therapy dogs require intensive training that needs reinforcement at home.

Level 2 Training Will Cover -

  • Don’t Touch. Therapy Dogs must be foolproof to prevent grabbing food from hands, picking up dropped pills, investigating tubes and hoses.

  • Feet up. Therapy Dogs need to be touched by bed bound people.

  • Ignoring tennis balls on walker feet.

  • Long stays. Two minute stays are required.

  • Coming through a doorway. Entering a patient's room must be done quietly.

  • Strange surfaces. Therapy dogs need to be able to walk on unaccustomed surfaces.

  • No Licking. Therapy dogs cannot lick. This is a health hazard when working with immune compromised patients.

  • No Treats. Therapy Dog should be able to perform commands without treats. Petting and praise only.


Level Two introduces your dog to more intensive Therapy Dog Training. Please be prepared to follow up each weekly lesson with at home training. Successful completion and Certification cannot be assured unless you train at home.

Upon successful completion of Level Two you will receive a list of facilities happy to have you and your Therapy Dog. If you also want to join a local Therapy Dog group your dog has been trained to the necessary standards.

And, you'll get text and email support from me. Got a question about a visit? How to solve a problem at a facility? Problem with a patient? You've got me as your back up coach and trainer.

I'll also invite you to join the Companion Dogs Therapy Dog Group. We meet once every season for a long session of food, fun, training games and review. Group meets Sunday mornings at Costa Mesa. The Group is open only to Companion Dogs Therapy Dog Program Grads.