Become a Credentialed AaTs Therapy Dog Team
If you would like to utilize a therapy dog in a professional environment or are interested in visiting with your own dog, it is critical to receive the proper training. Students of the AaTs Credentialed Therapy Dog Team Program can expect to graduate with a sense of confidence, knowing that they've been well-prepared to enter various scenarios and situations. As a member of our organization, you'll receive ongoing support to ensure your success in animal assisted therapy work. Additionally, members are eligible for insurance coverage through AaTs. While other organizations may offer insurance, these benefits typically only cover volunteers. AaTs liability coverage is unique in that it is extended to professionals who use their therapy dog in their own practice. By joining the AaTs team, you can expect the following exclusive benefits:
- Comprehensive Insurance: Our thorough policy allows clients to enjoy both off- and on-leash experiences indoors and outdoors. Outdoor sessions may include visiting a local hiking trail or park. We believe that these freedoms are necessary to provide an all-inclusive therapeutic experience.
- Experience: All AaTs Therapy Dog Teams must pass the AKC Canine Good Citizen Test and the Public Access Test. Our training program also includes exposing dogs to various scenarios and distractions that they may encounter in educational or medical settings.
- Professionalism: AaTs Therapy Dog Handlers participate in ongoing dog training opportunities and are educated in current animal assisted therapy practices. You session will always include ease of communication, reliability, and a compassionate attention to detail.
Prerequisite: AKC Canine Good Citizen
The AKC Canine Good Citizen Program is regarded as the gold standard of dog obedience as it verifies that your dog remains friendly, obedient, and calm in a variety of situations. Examples of the ten test items include Accepting a Friendly Stranger, Walking through a Crowd, Reaction to Another Dog, and Supervised Separation. Each test point is explained in detail and practiced until teams feel comfortable, confident, and well-prepared for the final examination which is done by a licensed evaluator. If passed, you will receive a certificate and an award ribbon from the American Kennel Club recognizing your achievement!
6 Weeks: $200.00
6 Weeks: $200.00
AaTs MA Therapy Dog Handler Lecture
This four hour seminar acquaints the novice with therapy dog work. Discussion includes a brief history of animal assisted interventions, animal assisted therapy vs animal assisted activities, different types of facilities, clientele, and visits, basic canine behavior and characteristics, and insurance considerations. The Public Access Test, which is required for all service dogs, is explored so handlers understand the roots of the AaTs Final Evaluation and what is expected to become a Credentialed AaTs Therapy Dog Team. Very informative!
Handlers only, no dogs.
4 Hours: $100.00
AaTs Credentialed Therapy Dog Team Training
(Based on the Public Access Test, Canine Good Citizen Advanced & Canine Good Citizen Urban)
This is a weekly class that prepares handlers and their dog for the AaTs Final Examination, which includes foundations of the Public Access Test, AKC Canine Good Citizen Urban, and Canine Good Citizen Advanced. This comprehensive training ultimately prepares the therapy dog team for both the expected and unexpected aspects of therapy dog work. Additionally, the AaTs Final Examination exposes dogs to wheelchairs and walkers, restrictive hugs, petting from children, and exposes dogs argumentative and loud environments. All classes take place in community settings, with at least one class partnering up with a current AaTs MA Therapy Dog Team during a real therapy dog visit. The class generally runs for six weeks, but an additional week may be added if more practice is needed.
6 Weeks: $300.00
6 Weeks: $300.00
AaTs Final Examination
The Final Examination is offered immediately following the Preparing for the AaTs Final Examination course. Each task is graded on a scale of 0-5 and teams must complete each task with a passing mark in order to become an AaTs Credentialed Therapy Dog Team. The Final Examination is given by the President & Director of AaTs MA. Some of these tasks will be completed in community, real-world settings. Teams that have passed the AaTs MA Exam are automatically eligible for the AKC CGC if they do not already have that title. In addition, teams have the opportunity to simultaneously qualify for the AKC Canine Good Citizen Advanced (CGCA) and the Canine Good Citizen Urban (CGCU) during the AaTs MA exam!
To be renewed annually, this covers insurance cost for the AaTs Credentialed Therapy Dog Team when they respond to AaTs MA visit requests.