Certify Your Own Dog

//Certify Your Own Dog
Certify Your Own Dog2018-10-18T18:25:56+00:00

On this page, you will find the complete program process details and guidelines for the Companion Paws program.  Companion Paws Therapy Dog Certification is a Four-Part process. A temperament assessment is the first requirement to assess the suitability of your dog as a therapy dog for Companion Paws Personal, Assisted and Visiting therapy designations. The second part of the process is a complete Therapy Dog Skills Training Online Course that includes, reading material, excellent skills training videos and a short quiz. Part three entails a second temperament assessment with a Companion Paws Assessor, followed by the 4th and final part of the program process, the scheduled final evaluation. We ask that you have the second temperament assessment scheduled for at least a week prior to the final evaluation.

Companion Paws dogs are not Service Dogs or Guide Dogs. Companion Paws dogs are designated Therapy Dogs.  Companion Paws Therapy Dogs are trained, assessed and tested in therapy companion obedience. Interaction with a Therapy Pet provides therapeutic, motivational, educational and recreational benefits to enhance quality of life. Therapy pets DO NOT share the same public access rights granted to service pets and may be denied admittance to public places. Companion Paws Canada pets do not have special privileges beyond those granted to any other pet in public places, on public transportation or in private buildings such as apartment blocks where the keeping of pets is restricted or prohibited.

Everyone at Companion Paws is a dog lover.  As such, we only qualify Visiting and Assisted dogs who enjoy interacting with strangers to protect dogs who don’t from being over-stressed or forced into such activities.

In the near future, TLC’s Companion Paws will be working with Canada’s Airlines, while also working to have our Companion Paws Personal Therapy Dogs recognized through Public Access bylaws and the Housing Act.

If you have read this page and passed the first Temperament Assessment to confirm suitability, please click the following link Next Steps to register for the remainder of TLC’s Companion Paws Therapy Dog Program.

Please thoroughly read through this page for details of the program process before registering.

Through our Companion Paws program process, we assess and test 3 types of Animal Assisted Therapy Dogs;

Personal Therapy Dog (first program of its kind in Canada): A personal therapy dog (Companion Paws emotional support dog) is a trained, temperament tested, evaluated and certified dog that brings benefits to their owners/handlers that struggle with mental health conditions.

Assisted Therapy Dog: Assisted Therapy Dogs join their handler/owner (typically educators, teachers, psychologists, counsellors and doctors) at their workplace to help their students, clients, customers and/or patients.

Visiting Therapy Dog: Typically, Visiting Therapy Dogs visit hospitals, schools, hospices, nursing homes and more. Unlike service dogs, therapy dogs are encouraged to interact with a variety of people while they are on-duty including petting the therapy dog.

Health records and vaccinations must be up to date prior to the First Temperament Assessment.

Costs;

Step 1 – $55.00

  1. First Temperament Assessment (First Temperament Assessments will be scheduled starting in October 2018!)

Upon successfully completing a Temperament Assessment with a Companion Paws Assessor, you may register for the remainder of the program process.

Step 2, 3 and 4 – $250.00

2. Therapy Dog Skills Training Online Course

3. Second Temperament Assessment

4. Final Evaluation

Upon successfully completing TLC’s Companion Paws Final Evaluation, you will be emailed documents to be completed and submitted back to us with any required supporting documentation. All certified members receive a Companion Paws vest, identification card and certificate of registration. We have letters of certification, landlord letters and airline letters available by request.

Annual Re-Assessment and Registration Renewal $95

  • Includes the required Annual Re-Assessment

Guidelines;

  • Calm and gentle temperament
  • Very well trained.
  • Very friendly.
  • Great with people of all ages and not aggressive to people or other dogs.
  • Dogs are expected to be clean and healthy with up to date vaccinations.
  • Minimum age of dog is 1.5 years old. There is no age limit on dogs for the workshop.

Everyone with TLC’s Companion Paws is a dog lover.  As such, we only qualify dogs who enjoy interacting with strangers to protect dogs who don’t from being over-stressed or forced into such activities.

To qualify as a therapy dog, the dog must have up to date medical health records letter from his or her veterinarian, current dog license and must have no aggression towards people or other dogs (including un-neutered male dogs).

For personal therapy dog certification, you must have a letter from your current mental health professional on letter head, with date, signature, your name and why a therapy dog would benefit you.

1. First Temperament Assessment

The first part of the Companion Paws Therapy Dog certification process is a Temperament Assessment to confirm suitability as a therapy dog for your requested designation of Personal, Assisted or Visiting therapy.  The assessment will take approximately 30 minutes. You may request more than one Therapy Dog designation. You must pass the first temperament assessment to register for the last 3 steps of TLC’s Companion Paws program. To request the First Temperament Assessment for confirmation of suitability for the program, please click the following link Temperament Assessment Request and complete the request form.

If your city or province is not listed in available locations for final evaluations, and you would be willing to travel to your closest location for the final evaluation, please contact us at admin@thelifelinecanada.ca to request an assessment and we will work to find an assessor local to you to perform the temperament assessment.

2. Companion Paws Therapy Dog Skills Training Online Course

The second step of the program is the Skills Training Online Course.

  1. Reading Resources include information about the Program, the Process, By laws, Code of Conduct, Rules and Regulations.
  2. Skill training Videos
  3. Online course final Quiz

Summary of the online course skills training videos;

  1. Teaching a Cue
  2. Watch and Focus “Watch Command”
  3. The “Down” Cue
  4. The “Stay” Cue
  5. The “Come” Cue
  6. Loose Leash Basics
  7. Loose Leash Walking
  8. Sitting When Stopped
  9. Introducing a Wheelchair “Stationary”
  10. Introducing a Wheelchair “Adding Motion”
  11. Introducing Crutches: “Stationary”
  12. Introducing Crutches: “Adding Movement”
  13. Distractions: Keeping Your Dog Engaged
  14. Conditioning to Loud Noises
  15. Conditioning to Clumsy People
  16. Conditioning to Inappropriate Petting
  17. Conditioning to Multiple People Petting
  18. Accepting a Friendly Stranger
  19. Leave It: “Food Distractions”
  20. It’s Your Choice: A Self-Control Game for Your Dog
  21. No Jump Manners
  22. Greeting Another Dog
  23. Supervised Separation

Current Evaluation City Locations

Alberta

  • Calgary
  • Edmonton
  • Medicine Cat

British Columbia

  • North Vancouver
  • Duncan
  • Kelowna
  • Kamloops

Manitoba

  • Winnipeg

New Brunswick

  • Saint John

Nova Scotia

  • Halifax

Ontario

  • Barrie
  • Guelph
  • London
  • Ottawa
  • Peterborough
  • Windsor

Quebec

  • Montreal

Saskatchewan

  • Regina
  • Saskatoon

Locations and Dates continue to be added for final evaluations throughout Canada.  If your city is not listed above, please send an email to admin@thelifelinecanada.ca and include your city, province and designation interest, or check back often to see new available evaluation locations and dates on our website.

3. Second Temperament Assessment

The third part of the Companion Paws Therapy Dog certification process is a Temperament Assessment to again confirm suitability as a therapy dog for your requested designation(s) of Personal, Assisted or Visiting therapy.  You may request more than one Therapy Dog designation.

4. Final Evaluation

The CPC evaluation is divided into two stages and has 17 individual tests and additional exercises within each test. The Temperament Assessment is not included in this number.

What to bring to the Final Evaluation;

  • Bring a proper lead and collar so your dog is always manageable in the group.
  • Bring your own grooming tool to the final evaluation

Summary of Final Evaluation;

  • Coming When Called
  • Sit and Down on Command (Staying in one place)
  • Reactions to Distractions x 2
  • Accepting a Friendly Stranger
  • Sitting Politely for Petting
  • Out for a Walk (Walking on a close leash)
  • Walking Through a Crowd
  • Reaction to Another Dog
  • Reaction to Medical Equipment x 2
  • Leave It x 2
  • No Mark Manners
  • Supervised Separation (time – one minute)
  • Say Hello
  • Appearance and Grooming

Upon successfully completing TLC’s Companion Paws Final Evaluation, you will be emailed documents to be completed and submitted back to us with any required supporting documentation. All certified members receive a Companion Paws vest, identification card and certificate of registration. We also have letters of certification, landlord letters and airline letters available by request.

5. Annual Re-Assessment and Renewal

You will be required to re-assess annually for the renewal of certification. The annual renewal fee is $95 and includes the re-assessment.

Frequently Asked Questions about TLC’s Companion Paws Program

What is Animal Assisted Therapy?
Animal Assisted Therapy is a therapy by which animals are used in treatments of individuals that would benefit, whether for themselves or for others. Our Companion Paws program works with three types of Therapy Dogs; Personal Therapy Dogs, Assisted Therapy Dogs and Visiting Therapy Dogs. Therapy dogs are friendly, patient, confident, gentle, and at ease in a variety of situations.

What is a Personal Therapy Dog?
A personal therapy dog is a trained, evaluated and certified dog that brings benefits to their owners/handlers that struggle with mental health conditions.

For Personal Therapy Dog certification, you must have a letter from your current mental health professional on letter head, with date, signature, your name and why a therapy dog would benefit you. For the Companion Paws adoption program, you are also required to submit a permission letter from your landlord that allows your dog, if you do not own your own home.

What is a Visiting Therapy Dog?
Typically, Visiting Therapy Dogs visit hospitals, schools, hospices, nursing homes and more. Unlike service dogs, therapy dogs are encouraged to interact with a variety of people while they are on-duty including petting the therapy dog.

Visiting Therapy dogs may also visit schools, daycares, group homes and rehabilitation centers. Their roles vary from dogs who give learning disabled children the confidence to read out loud, to actively participating in physical rehabilitation therapy. In some cases, a therapy dog will work in an establishment exclusively, such as a psychotherapy practice.

To qualify as a therapy dog, the dog must have an up to date medical health records letter from his or her veterinarian and must have no aggression towards people or other dogs (including un-neutered male dogs).

What is an Assisted Therapy Dog?
Assisted Therapy Dogs join their handler/owner (typically educators, teachers, psychologists, counsellors and doctors) at their workplace to help their students, clients, customers and/or patients.

To qualify as a therapy dog, the dog must have up to date medical health records from his or her veterinarian and must have no aggression towards people or other dogs (including un-neutered male dogs).

Difference between a Therapy Dog and a Service Dog?
We do not train or work with Service Dogs.  Service dogs and Therapy dogs are two forms of highly trained dogs that work to improve the lives of people. Although both types of these dogs have an amazing impact on the lives of their humans their roles are very different.

A service dog is an assistance or guide dog that has been specially trained to help someone who has a disability. Service dogs work only with one owner/handler. They are trained in unusual dog behaviors for the person’s specific needs.

What are the Benefits of a Therapy Dog?
Therapy Dogs are trained and tested in therapy companion obedience. Interaction with a Therapy Pet provides therapeutic, motivational, educational and recreational benefits to enhance quality of life. Therapy dogs provide help to people with a variety of noticeable and not so noticeable mental and emotional disabilities. These can include stress, depression, anxiety, personality disorders, social anxiety disorders, and much more.

Is this the only program in Canada that works with Personal Therapy Dogs?
Yes.  The LifeLine Canada Foundation’s Companion Paws Personal Therapy program is the only and the first of its kind in Canada to place and work with Personal Therapy Dogs.

What makes a good therapy dog?
Calm Temperament.
Very well trained.
Very friendly.
Great with people of all ages and not aggressive to people or other dogs.
Clean and healthy with up to date vaccinations.
Minimum age of dog is 1.5 years old. There is no age limit on dogs for the workshop.

Does my dog need special training to be a Therapy Dog?
There is no special therapy dog training required to register your own dog to become a therapy dog. However, to become a Therapy Dog, your dog must be fully trained. The dog can be trained by yourself or an experienced dog trainer in basic skills and obedience.

Are there any breed/size/sex/age restrictions for therapy dogs?
There are no restrictions or limitations on the breed/size/sex of the dog.  Minimum age for pre-assessment workshop registration is 1.5 years old.

Do you provide training?
We do provide complete dog training to clients of our Companion Paws Adoption program.  For individuals with their own dog registering for the workshop, you will gain insight and skills in training for any behaviors your dog needs to work on. For individuals with their own dog who are interested in the Companion Paws program but require training prior to registering for a workshop, we can recommend experienced trainers in your area.

Are Companion Paws Final Evaluations available across Canada?
Yes, Scheduled Evaluations are available in many locations across Canada. Available locations can be found on this page. Locations and Dates continue to be added for final evaluations throughout Canada.  If your city is not listed above, please send an email to admin@thelifelinecanada.ca and include your city, province and designation interest, or check back often to see new available location and dates on our website.

What are the costs for the Companion Paws Therapy Dog Program?
Step 1 – $55.00

Step 2,3 and 4 – $250

  • Skills Training Online Course
  • Temperament Assessment
  • Final Evaluation for Certification

What does the Final Evaluation entail?
The final evaluation includes 17+ tests.  Therapy Dogs must  pass with 100%

Evaluation Summary:

  • Coming When Called
  • Sit and Down on Command (Staying in one place)
  • Reactions to Distractions x 2
  • Accepting a Friendly Stranger
  • Sitting Politely for Petting
  • Out for a Walk (Walking on a close leash)
  • Walking Through a Crowd
  • Reaction to Another Dog
  • Reaction to Medical Equipment x 2
  • Leave It x 2
  • No Mark Manners
  • Supervised Separation (time – one minute)
  • Say Hello
  • Appearance and Grooming

How do Companion Paws standards compare to other organizations?
Companion Paws uses the highest standards of testing available.

What laws protect Therapy Dogs and their handlers?
Therapy pets DO NOT share the public access rights granted to service pets and may be denied admittance to public places. Companion Paws pets do not have special privileges beyond those granted to any other pet in public places, on public transportation or in private buildings such as apartment blocks where the keeping of pets is restricted or prohibited. Some airlines will allow small support dogs to fly in the cabin if they fit in a carrier at the traveler’s feet.

Why have I never heard of the Companion Paws program?
Companion Paws is a brand new program which began in late 2017 and is the first of its kind in Canada for Personal an Assisted therapy.

Are there annual fees for Companion Paws Therapy Dogs?
Yes, the annual registration fee is only $95 for all Companion Paws Therapy Dogs and includes an annual temperament assessment.

Do I have to retake an evaluation during the life of the certified Companion Paws Therapy Dog?
TLC may request that a certified member of Companion Paws, retake an evaluation and or temperament assessment, at the time of renewal or at TLC’s discretion, if potential concerns arise.

Do you have any recommended reading about dog training?
We love the book “How to Speak Dog” by Stanley Coren

How can I contact you if I have any more questions about the Companion Paws program?
For any further questions about the Companion Paws program, please don’t hesitate to contact us anytime at admin@thelifelinecanada.ca