San Diego Humane Society and SPCA

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How to Make Your Dog a Pet-Assisted Therapy (P-AT) Dog

Therapy Dog

Helpful guides:
Adobe PDF logo 75px 6 Steps to joining P-AT
with your dog
Adobe PDF logo 75px Comprehensive P-AT
Dog Handbook

Many volunteers bring their own approved dog to P-AT visits. These dog provide an extra dimension of happiness to residents who look forward to seeing them on a monthly basis. By certifying your dog as a Pet-Assisted Therapy dog, you will help us touch countless more lives with the warmth and companionship of animals.

6 Steps to joining P-AT with your dog:

  1. Apply as a general volunteer at the San Diego Humane Society. Follow the process of a volunteer interview and subsequent orientation.

  2. Attend our P-AT class with P-AT Coordinator, Judith Eisenberg. This class will be explained and scheduled after your first general orientation.

  4. Go on two P-AT visits without your dog after you have completed all training and begun volunteering in P-AT.

  5. Obtain a Canine Good Citizen (CGC) certificate for your dog either through the San Diego Humane Society public Behavior and Training classes or through your own trainer.

  6. Be sure your dog meet all other requirements:
    • Pass the temperament evaluation by the P-AT Coordinator, which includes introduction to small animals (rabbits, guinea pigs, rats).This step can be completed before other steps, to ensure your dog will thrive in a P-AT setting with small animals.
    • Be spayed or neutered
    • Be at least one year old
    • Hold the American Kennel Club's Canine Good Citizen (CGC) certificate (step 4)
    • Not be on a raw food diet

  7. Pay $40 for your dog’s P-AT vest … and you’re done!


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