Practical Training for Therapy Dogs

PLEASE NOTE: we currently have no plans to run this course again.  

This course is a fun, interactive course aimed at those wishing to take their dogs into a therapy situation or visiting programme.

The course is made up of two practical training days split 4 weeks apart and some online preparatory theory work designed to help you get the most from the practical sessions.

Course Level: This course is designed to be at an introductory level and will cover the following aspects:

Course Outline:

Theory elements: (approximately 2 hours preparatory work)

  • The historical development of animal-assisted interventions (AAI) and current programmes
  • Canine Ethology – behaviour and how it relates to work in therapy
  • Temperament and behaviour requirements for therapy dogs
  • Visiting programmes in the UK

Practical elements:
(to be attended by both handler and dog)

  • Basics on cue and how they relate to therapeutic situations
  • Go to mat and stay there
  • Approach and petting from strangers
  • Don’t touch
  • Coping with unusual behaviour and distractions
  • Tug and Play
  • Basic target training
  • Permission to take a treat (gently)

Course Tutor:  Practical training on this course is delivered by Nina Bondarenko, who has been training dogs for specific-purpose working roles for over 30 years. Author and illustrator of the book “Hearts, Minds and Paws”, a breeder, judge, trainer, assessor, behavioural consultant and tutor on the SCAS animal-assisted interventions in therapeutic practice course. Nina has developed an in-depth understanding of Canine Ethology, Canine Cognition and Communication, the Human-Animal Bond, and how to communicate with dogs.