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dog-sitting-on-lap-therapy-dog-Top-Gun-Dog-Training in Huntsville, AL

Therapy Dog Training

My Therapy Dog Training Program will prepare your dog for testing, evaluation, and certification to be a therapy dog.



A therapy dog lends comfort and affection to people in a facility setting or specific individuals who require visitation to deal with a physical or emotional problem. 


Therapy dogs are not service dogs that provide a specific service for a person with special needs and receive full public access per the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). They are also not Emotional Support Animals who require a prescription from a mental health or health care professional but need no special training or certifications to do their job.


NOTE: Dogs must be at least one year old to qualify for therapy dog training in Huntsville and Madison.

Listen to the Therapy Dog Training episode on the Puppy Talk Podcast

How it works:

My dog Dixie is a Therapy Dog in Huntsville. I will teach you the exact process I used with her to pass the therapy dog test and get certified. 


There are 4 steps to complete Therapy Dog Training.  After these 4 steps, you must take a test and be observed by the therapy dog organization for several public visits with your dog around people. I suggest ATD (Alliance of Therapy Dogs). My dog, Dixie, and I are members of this organization.


Step 1: Complete our Basic Dog or Puppy Basic Obedience Program. This gives you the foundation of basic commands, loose leash walking, and proper socialization skills. 


Step 2: Complete the AKC Canine Good Citizen Training and Test (CGC). This test consists of 10 items listed here.  We can train and test you for this certification. (The AKC CGC is not a Therapy Dog certification)


Step 3: Complete the AKC Community Canine Training and Test (Advanced CGC). This will ensure that you and your dog are fully prepared for the Tester/Observer to meet with you for evaluations and testing. 


Step 4: Get tested and observed by the ATD Tester/Observer. This is all done voluntarily and consists of 3 visits with visits with the tester/observer to complete your ATP Therapy Dog Certification.


NOTE: We can only prepare you for the therapy dog test. We cannot test you for Therapy Dog Certification.  Once you complete our program, we will recommend a Tester/Observer in your area. Start here to find a tester/observer in your area and join the Alliance of Therapy Dogs after your training.


Please contact us for a FREE 15-minute phone consultation so that we can learn more about your dog and provide a rate quote for reaching your training goals. 



The next steps:

If you are interested in therapy dog training in Huntsville or Madison, request a FREE Phone Consultation with Dale by clicking the blue button below.


Once we ask some questions to receive basic information about your dog, we can discuss the detailed training process, outline,  availability, and rates.


Would Your Dog Make a Good Therapy Dog?

Therapy dog candidates are well-socialized from an early age. They do not bark, jump on people, or playbite. They are always well-mannered and under control by their owners.  


Therapy dog candidates cannot have any serious behavior problems such as fear, anxiety, stress, or aggression. 


Therapy dog candidates are naturally calm, friendly, and affectionate to strangers. They are also well-trained in basic obedience and easily adaptable to novel noises, places, smells, and equipment. The therapy dog certifying organization may also require that your dog be healthy and well-groomed, with regular health and wellness check-ups. Alliance of Therapy Dogs does require all of this. 

Would You Make a Good Therapy Dog Handler? 

The Therapy Dog and its Handler (owner) are known as a "team."  The handler's calm demeanor is just as important as the dogs.  The handler must have a great relationship with the dog for the team to work best together. The handler must also easily connect with people and build relationships with facilities that allow therapy dogs. 


The handler should have basic dog obedience and behavior knowledge, preferably taught by a certified dog trainer.  The trainer is your mentor and coach to teach you everything needed to succeed as a therapy dog handler.

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