How to Become a Certified Therapy Dog Team
Becoming a certified Project Canine therapy dog team is a 4-step process:
- Class: Take the 4-hour Introduction to Therapy Dog Principles and Initial Team Screening with your aspiring therapy dog. Please make sure your dog is appropriate and ready for therapy visiting before you sign up for a class. You and your dog will be evaluated by the instructors as to your readiness to move on to Step 2 - the exam.
- Test: Take the Project Canine Therapy Team Exam with your dog. You and your dog must pass the exam in order to move on to Step 3 - Practice Lab.
- Practice: Participate in Practice Lab with your dog. You and your dog must successfully complete this step in order to move on to Step 4 - registration.
- Register: Tell us you can't wait to start visiting by registering and paying for your insurance.
Please note: Handlers must be a minimum of 14 yrs old. From ages 14–18 handlers must be accompanied on all visits by a legal guardian who has gone through the training process with them.
We believe that dogs who feel safe and supported by knowledgable, attentive handlers can improve the lives of those they visit. Read more about ethical considerations in pet therapy.
Things you might want to know:
What equipment can I use to train, test, and visit?
How do I know if my dog is ready?
Have more questions?
Click here to go to our Frequently Asked Questions page.
Test Your Knowledge
Does your dog do things that really bug you? Probably. On the other hand, have you ever thought about what you do that might really bug your dog? As humans, we're really good at expecting our dogs to inhabit our world on our terms without thinking about how that feels from a dog's perspective. That's why we teach our handlers to listen to and advocate for their dogs. Handlers who put their dogs' needs first provide safer, more satisfying visits. Read more about thing humans do that dogs hate.