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Therapy Training

Each of our training programs are conducted in a small setting or privately and are specifically tailored to the needs and goals of participants. Shadowlee Canine ensures that all therapy teams are successfully ‘certified’ as opposed to simply ‘registered’ before engaging in any therapy activity. Upon graduation, participants will receive certification, insurance and placement as a Therapy Dog Team.   


Certification means that both the dog and it’s handler participated in and successfully completed the Therapy Dog training program.  Registration simply means that the dog and handler have completed a one-time screening and does not ensure that the appropriate training has been carried out prior to placement in a facility. 


Our certification process begins with a free evaluation of both the dog and the handler.  The dog and handler are observed to ensure that there is no aggression whatsoever.  If the dog passes the evaluation, the owner may be provided with a few activities to work on with their dog prior to the first training class.  

Therapy Training Class

A total of 11 training sessions, including one shadow visit at a facility, must be completed prior to Certification. 


Therapy 1

Consisting of five classes, Therapy 1 begins by with the following trainings: 

  • Focusing on their handlers

  • Staying until released in various circumstances

  • Slow and fast controlled walking on either side of the leash

  • Protective leg position

  • Target touch

  • Leave it

  • Noise and object desensitization 


Therapy 2

During this phase handlers are provided with training materials that they are expected to review that covers topics such as:

  • Disability etiquette and awareness 

  • Communications about those with disabilities 

  • Help in active listening

  • What to bring on therapy visits

  • Cleanliness and infection control


Teams work with assistive devices such as wheelchairs, crutches, canes and walkers to desensitize the dogs to these items.  Teams also learn about HIPPA privacy laws, how to work with people with disabilities and how to recognize and deal with the signs of stress and anxiety in your dog. 


Before graduation all dogs must be seen by a veterinarian to receive an overall check-up and have a health form completed.

Annual Re-Certification

Therapy teams must undergo annual assessment by the trainers regarding their fitness for working.  The dog must also be seen by a veterinarian to have their health form updated as well as any vaccinations that may be necessary. 


All therapy teams have lifetime access to trainers, training classes and may use the class fees and veterinarian costs as tax deductions. 

Would you and your dog

make a good therapy team?

A Great Handler Should: 
  • Love to be social and be a good listener.  Have a friendly face. 

  • Have an interest in helping people and be comfortable with people in fragile or stressful surroundings. 

  • Be calm and polite in all circumstances. 

  • Be confident about your ability to help your animal be comfortable on a visit. 

  • Be aware of your animal’s state-of-mind at all times - before, during and after a visit.

  • Be a benevolent leader using gentle, patient interactions with your animal. 

  • Speak to your animal with a calm, gentle voice. 


Behaviors Incompatible With Therapy Animals
  • Rough or abusive handling. 

  • Demonstration of excessive stress. 

  • Unwillingness to take direction or suggestions from trainers. 

  • Inappropriate treatment of other people. 

  • Inability to control animal in calm, gentle manner. 

  • Inability to observe stress signals in animals. 

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