Therapy Dogs

Resume of a Therapy Dog:

Therapy Dog Grad

Therapy Dog Grad

Therapy dogs come in all sizes, shapes, breeds, ages, gender. Knowing this, how do you determine the qualities needed for a successful career as a therapy dog?  After all, each person visited will have different preferences.  One person may be frightened of large dogs but quickly reach for that tiny Pomeranian.  Another person may find a huge lug of a dog much easier to hug.  A hyper-active child will need a very calm dog that he can lie next to on the floor.  Even the geriatric dog can find a place in therapy work. After all, some senior citizens will certainly be able to identify better with a slow-moving, gray-muzzled, slightly arthritic dog.  And, just think what the courage exhibited by a three-legged dog can teach a paraplegic or someone struggling with a terminal illness.  The major ingredients for these situations are personality and temperament. Every therapy dog must be even-tempered, good-natured, and able to accept handling by strangers.

Most therapy dogs are personal pets, who accompany their owners to a variety of facilities such as skilled nursing homes or hospitals.  Many therapy dog visits require very simple skills from the dog.  The dog doesn’t have to know a lot of commands or even perform tricks.  A dog that lies quietly on a bed beside a patient can lower that person’s blood pressure and reduce the sensation of pain.  In some settings, soft warm eyes gazing up at a person are all it takes to work magic.  Volunteering with your dog can be a family project too!

Therapy Dog Prep School:

Our 6-week course includes activities which will prepare both you and your dog for involvement as a therapy dog team. This class is not designed to certify teams but rather to give both handler and dog the tools to become an effective therapy team and to be better prepared for tests conducted by the various programs. We spend time in each class in helping you identify the best therapy program for your needs and interest then guide you in the process. 

  • Instruction and practice with successful therapy dog commands
  • Discussion and practice of techniques for effective interaction between therapy dog and patients
  • Discussion and practice in developing better observation skills to identify signs of stress in dogs
  • Assistance in helping students identify the most appropriate therapy dog programs
  • Role playing opportunities with a variety of typical therapy dog settings
  • A field trip to an Assisted Living Facility during the 5th class to practice tools taught in the course
  • Two classes are video taped and students given an opportunity to study videos at home for discussion in class
  • A discussion about liability issues related to general dog ownership and to the additional risks for therapy dogs


DAYS AND TIMES:  Tuesday nights from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. for 6 consecutive weekly meetings.

LOCATION: Our Training Center in the Miramar area between I-805 and I-15, one mile north of Miramar Rd.

CLASS SIZE:  Class size is limited so early registration is recommended.  We are unable to add someone to a roster or wait list until after receipt of registration and deposit.  All registrations are based on a first come-first-served basis.

FEE PAYMENT SCHEDULE:  Pre-registration is required with a $50 deposit and balance to be paid one month prior to the first class.

BASIC OBEDIENCE PREREQUISITE:  All canine students are required to have had a minimum of one previous dog training class such as Basic Obedience or Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Training.  Certificate showing that the dog has passed the CGC test is also acceptable.   Puppy socialization does not count towards this requirement.

INSTRUCTORS:  All fees will be used to subsidize the mission of Paws’itive Teams.  Instructors are experienced therapy dog handlers and volunteer their time with Paws’itive Teams to teach this class.

AUDITING A CLASS:  Some students prefer to attend the class without a dog as there are a lot of benefits to observing other students without having to handle a dog.


Full Fee (one dog per handler) $180
Repeat/Review (former student) $110
Audit Course (without a dog) $80

After receiving your Registration Form, we will send Prep School Payment Instructions.  You will not be listed in a roster or on a wait list until both the registration and deposit have been received.

WAIT LIST POLICY:  One of the first questions on the registration form is whether you would like to be on the wait list for an earlier class.  If you reply affirmative, we will note that in our files and contact you if we get an opening.  We confirm students for each class one month before the start date.  This enables us to know if we have an opening and to give us time to contact those on the wait list.  Remember, we cannot place you on a wait list until we have received both the registration form and deposit.  Space in class is reserved on first-come-first-served basis, based on receipt of deposit.

CERTIFICATION:  Completion of this class will not include certification as a therapy dog. This is a Prep Class designed to get you ready for certification and to give you additional information about the various programs in the San Diego area that do certify for therapy dog volunteering.

Scheduled Classes:

Start Date Status
April 15, 2014 Closed
July 8, 2014 Closed
October 07 2014 Closed
January 20 2015 Open
 April 14, 2015  Open
 To register for a class, please click here and complete the registration form.

PREP SCHOOL Registration:  To register for a class, click appropriate form below and complete the registration form.  Upon receipt of this form, we will send instructions for paying the deposit. 

Registration form for student with dog:  click here

Audit only registration form (student attending without a dog):  click here