Q. How can you and your pet be a part of this volunteer opportunity?

A. mvPTa offers a Therapy Pet Training Course multiple times per year. Classes meet for 2 hours, once a week, for 7-weeks. Pets need to have good manners before they start class. This means that pets should have reliable and consistent basic obedience skills (sit, down, stay, heel). Our training course covers animal behavior, teaches students how to identify stress in their pet and other species, teaches students how to de-stress their pet, and gives an opportunity to practice the skills required for certification in a testing environment. Students will get the opportunity to take their pet on an actual visit to a local facility. Students are required to take a written assessment and participate in a practical test with their pet in order to complete certification requirements.

Q. How do I know if my pet is a good candidate for pet therapy?

A. Pets need to have the aptitude for pet therapy (calm, confident, good manners)
Skills assessment includes the following:

  • Walking on a loose lead
  • Sit, down, stay
  • Sit while greeted/petted by a stranger
  • Walking past an unfamiliar dog with only mild curiosity
  • Walking calmly through a crowd
  • Calm around medical devices
  • Tolerating crowded petting without jumping up or getting overly active or shying away
  • Not overly startled at loud noises
  • Being left with a stranger for a few minutes without getting anxious

Q. What should I do to prepare my pet for pet therapy?

A. Make sure your pet is well socialized to other animals, all types of people, and different situations. Take your pets to stores and facilities that welcome uncertified animals, and encourage people to interact with your pet. Get your dog used to walking on different types of surfaces (carpet, tile, grates). Ride on elevators (parking garages are a great place to practice.)

Q. What is required of the owner/handler?

A. Commitment to working with your therapy pet at least 12 hours per year.
Enjoy visiting! We have more facilities requesting services than we can accommodate.


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