Therapy Dog Program

A therapy animal provides affection and comfort to members of the public, typically in facility settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, assisted-living, hospice, shelters, schools, libraries, and physical therapy centers. We do not train service dogs or emotional support dogs, which are not the same as therapy dogs.

In therapy classes, you’ll learn the basics of animal-assisted therapy, how to know if your pet would be a good therapy animal, what training you and your pet need to be an animal therapy team, and how to get involved in therapy programs around the Twin Cities area.

Prerequisite: Dog must be at least 18 months old and assessed by Instructor during  Therapy Animal Overview Seminar – Open to members and non-members –  $10 fee and preregistration is required. This seminar is required for any handler who is thinking of starting our Visiting Dog classes. Bring your dog to the seminar if they can walk on a loose leash with many other dogs in the room. Bring lots of treats, no bones. At the end of the seminar, the instructor will individually assess your dog for its skills walking on a loose leash, sit, down, stay, and connection with handler All must be pre-approved before entering our Visiting Dog program.This seminar is designed for members of the general public who want to learn more about therapy dog volunteering and the process of becoming a therapy dog team. If you would like to take our therapy dog training classes, this seminar is required.

Upcoming Therapy Dog Information Seminars:

  • Tuesday, April 7, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Therapy Dog Level 1: In Level 1, students will learn to recognize their dog’s subtle boy language changes and how to help them. They will begin to desensitize all of their dog’s senses of sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste to help cope with actual visiting situations. Fee: $130. Enrollment must meet a minimum number of students or class will be cancelled.

Therapy Dog Level 2&3: Students will learn optimal positioning of their dog for safe, effective visiting. They will also practice protocol, etiquette, and what to say in various situations. Fee: $120. Enrollment must meet a minimum number of students or class will be cancelled.

Membership is required to take classes at TCOTC. Membership fees are $25 for a Single Membership and $35 for a Household Membership. If you are a new member, you will be prompted to choose a membership level upon enrolling for Visiting Dog 1.
Be sure to check our policies for children in class and allowed training equipment.