Free Online Course
Have you ever wondered if your dog has what it takes to be a therapy dog?
You know, the dogs that go out and visit with patients in hospitals, the elderly in nursing homes, or have kids read to them at the library?
This course is all about helping you understand if pet therapy is a good volunteer opportunity for you and your dog.
Hi, my name is Debbie LaChusa, and I’ve been certified as a pet therapy volunteer since 2014. I’m currently certified with both of my dogs, Hope and Faith, through two different therapy dog organizations: Love on a Leash, and Alliance of Therapy Dogs. I’m a former Love on a Leash Visit Captain, responsible for supervising pet therapy teams-in-training, and doing training visit evaluations. I also spent three years as a member of the Love on a Leash national board of directors.
I’ve done more than 500 pet therapy visits in a wide variety of venues, including the VA Hospital, libraries, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, health and rehab centers, memory care units, special needs classrooms, high schools, universities and colleges, and even an addiction support group.
So, I have a lot of experience in the pet therapy world!
This course will help you understand:
- What a Therapy Dog is, and does
- How a Therapy Dog is different from a Service Animal and an Emotional Support Animal
- What traits and characteristics a therapy dog needs to have
- If pet therapy is a good fit for your dog
You’ll also learn:
- The basic dog training commands necessary to become a certified pet therapy team through a nationally recognized pet therapy organization
- Additional dog training commands and behaviors that, while not required for certification, are helpful while doing pet therapy, to keep your dog safe and make your pet therapy visits more enjoyable for you, and the people you’re visiting
- What you can expect as a newly certified pet therapy volunteer
- What cues to watch for in your dog once you begin doing volunteer pet therapy work
- What to do if you discover your dog doesn’t like certain pet therapy visits
- The answers to 16 Frequently Asked Questions about doing pet therapy
While this is NOT a dog training course, every behavior and command covered is DEMONSTRATED so you can see what the behavior or command is, and how it is successfully performed.
Volunteer pet therapy is one of the most rewarding activities you can do with your dog.
It’s a wonderful volunteer service to share with the people in your community. It takes your relationship with your dog to an entirely new level: you become partners and your bond deepens. You’ll meet interesting people you might never otherwise meet. And, you’ll experience the rewards and joy of watching the difference your dog can make, simply by spending time with those in need.
Pet Therapy Teams are In Demand
I’ve done pet therapy in both a large city on the West Coast, and a small town in the East, and in both cases certified therapy dog teams have been in high demand. There are always more facilities wanting to schedule therapy dog visits than there are qualified therapy dog teams to fill those requests. You and your dog can help fill that demand when you become a qualified therapy dog team.
Why this course is being offered for Free
I decided to make this course free because pet therapy is a volunteer activity and I did not want to charge people who simply want to find out if pet therapy is a good fit for them and their dog. I also wanted to pass along what I’ve learned from my years of experience doing pet therapy, in the hopes it can help others who are just getting started.
So, if you’ve been thinking about doing pet therapy, or even if you’re just interested in learning more about what pet therapy is, and what it entails, I encourage you to enroll.
It’s the first step to getting your dog ready to go out and start spreading joy, love, and smiles, the way only a dog can!