OUR TRAINING PROGRAM

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HANDLER/PET THERAPY TRAINING AND ACCREDITATION PROGRAM

WHAT MAKES A GOOD THERAPY DOG?

  • At least one year old and in good health
  • Owned for at least six months
  • Obedience skills mastered
    • Walks on a loose leash
    • “Sit” and “Down” commands mastered
    • Holds a “stay” command for 2 minutes
    • “Leave It” command mastered
  • Calm, friendly and comfortable in new settings particularly noisy and crowded
  • No history of biting or aggressive behavior
  • No prong or chain collars allowed

WHAT DOES OUR TRAINING AND ACCREDITATION PROGRAM OFFER?

  • Hands-on practice, training, and assessment at a multi-care residential community (Congregational Home – Brookfield WI)
  • A knowledgeable, dedicated, and professional dog training staff
  • Recognized by American Kennel Club (AKC) as one of two pet therapy training programs in Wisconsin
  • Small class sizes
  • Opportunity to apply for the “Canine Good Citizen” designation through AKC upon graduation
  • Pet therapy placement support post-program completion
  • Involvement in special events and visits

PART 1 – ASSESSMENT

  • Assessment focuses on temperament, obedience, and initiation/engagement
  • Thirty minute assessment where both dog and handler are guided through a series of tasks
    • Assessment for One person with one dog = $35
    • Assessment for Two people with one dog = $50
  • Tasks are designed to measure specific skills and temperament quality necessary for a good therapy dog
  • Successful completion of assessment results in an invitation to the four-week training classes

PART 2 – THERAPY CLASS AND TESTING (pricing includes all 4 classes)

  • Classes combine demonstration, individual and group activities, and role playing with actual client visits and scenarios within a controlled and supervised setting
    • One person with one dog = $150
    • Two people with one dog = $250
    • Two people (one minor-under 18) with one dog = $225
  • Week 1:
    • Introduction to Animal Assisted Interventions (AAI) and their benefits
    • Discussion of the many opportunities to become involved in AAI’s
    • Explore the role and responsibilities of being a volunteer handler
  • Week 2 and 3:
    • Provide the teams an opportunity to practice interactions in various situations and settings, including bed-side work
  • Week 4:
    • Test Night
    • Evaluation is completed to test competence and skill in activities and interactions learned throughout the accreditation process

PART 3 – PAPERWORK, PLACEMENT, RETENTION

  • Handler/pet teams that successfully pass the final exam are asked to submit final paperwork and work begins to locate their best placement
    • Evidence of liability insurance with minimum limit of $1,000,000
    • Health report from veterinarian stating the dog is healthy and up to date on shots/vaccinations
  • Assistance offered by PHP to help handlers find right placement once paperwork is submitted
  • Re-accreditation (Every two years) = $50 per handler/pet team

A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHY WE TRAIN AT CONGREGATIONAL HOME

Through a remarkable partnership with Congregational Home, Pets Helping People has been able to provide our teams an opportunity to assess and train in an actual multi-care residential community. This allows owners and their dogs an opportunity to experience firsthand the sights, sounds and smells similar to those they will encounter when out visiting. Training in a facility where residents are welcome to stop in and visit during class exposes our new teams to the unpredictability of doing volunteer work. This ‘hands-on’ training helps new handlers gain experience in real-life situations. Experience builds confidence and with confidence comes calmness, a critical element of pet-therapy work.

Set on a beautifully landscaped 13 acre site in Brookfield, Wisconsin, Congregational Home is a wonderful place to call home. Here you will find a blend of living arrangements to fit almost every need and desire, including Independent apartments, Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing, Memory and Rehabilitative care. Personalized service is the hallmark of Congregational Home. They believe the way to truly care about people is by building strong relationships, one at a time. Visit us at http://congregationalhome.org