“Certified Therapy Dogs” (CTD) is a division of the Michigan Dog Trainer,a professional dog
training organization whose goal is to offer professional training and evaluation of dog teams who wish to become certified therapy dog teams.
There are other organizations that test and register therapy teams but many do not have easy access to evaluators, don’t offer training to obtain the goal of becoming a therapy team and have either lax evaluation standards and/or test dogs with the presence of patients. CTD does not test dogs on patients. Teams are trained and certified before they have access to patients. Once a team passes the evaluation, they must participate in group visits before being approved to do single visits at facilities. These are important differences that separates CTD from other organizations.
To become a certified therapy dog team, the dog must have been socialized well with people and other animals. The dog must display good obedience and not show any fear or aggression toward other dogs or people. Prior to evaluation, dog teams must complete the following classes and earn their Canine Good Citizen and Novice Trick Titles (obtainable through the classes):
- Basic Family Dog Manners,
- Circus Dog (which includes Tricks, Fun Agility and Canine Good Citizen), and
- Therapy Dog.
The dog team is then ready for evaluation by a representative of the Michigan Dog Trainer. CTD’s purpose is to certify dogs teams who have the right personality and training to be a safe and effective therapy dog. This sets dog teams up for success as they are working with a professional trainer in the development of their dog’s personality and training. Additionally, it provides facilities with certified dogs who can give emotional relief and support as well as entertainment.
Upon completing the evaluation, dog teams are eligible to buy a certified therapy dog vest for their dog and pay a nominal yearly registration fee. In return, they receive insurance which protects them while conducting site visitations on behalf of CTD.
If you and your dog want to become a certified therapy dog team, start your dog’s education now. Basic Family Dog Manners, Circus Dog and Therapy Dog classes are all offered at the Humane Society of Huron Valley in Ann Arbor, Michigan and taught by Michael Burkey, a professional dog trainer. The first Therapy Dog class will be held on September 6, 2012. So don’t delay, get started in the other classes now.