Caring Paws

Therapy Dog Training Program & Certification

Caring Paws creates awareness of the benefits of pet therapy, trains therapy dogs and brings loving pets and their caring handlers to those in our community who are in need of comfort and connection. Caring Paws brings certified pet therapy dogs and their handlers directly to those in need. Do you have a friendly, stable tempered dog who loves attention and people? Are you a caring person that wants to give back to your community? Canine Learning Centers is looking for caring dog/ handler teams to provide visits to those in need.

How it Works

Therapy Dog

A therapy dog is a privately owned pet used for visits to hospitals, nursing homes, schools, private homes, etc. These pets can provide emotional comfort to those who are sick and vulnerable.


A potential therapy dog must truly love continual attention and petting from people. The dog must be confident but not aloof, must not show any dominant or protective tendencies, must be generally calm and have a “willing to please” personality.


Potential therapy dogs’ temperament must first be evaluated by trainer before enrolling in Canine Learning Centers Therapy dog training program. Dog/handler teams must attend a series of 6 week classes through Canine Learning Centers.

After signing the Responsible Dog Owners Pledge, owners and their dogs are ready to take the CGC Test. Items on the Canine Good Citizen Test include:

This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to approach it and speak to the handler in a natural, everyday situation. The evaluator walks up to the dog and handler and greets the handler in a friendly manner, ignoring the dog. The evaluator and handler shake hands and exchange pleasantries. The dog must show no sign of resentment or shyness.

All tests must be performed on leash. For collars, dogs should wear well-fitting buckle or slip collars made of leather, fabric, or chain. Special training collars such as pinch collars, head halters, and electronic collars are not permitted in the CGC test.
As of November 4, 2010, body harnesses may be used in the CGC test. The evaluator should check to make sure the harness is not of a type that completely restricts the dog’s movement such that it could not pull or jump up if it tried.

We recognize that special training collars such as head collars and no-jump harnesses may be very useful tools for beginning dog trainers, however, we feel that dogs are ready to take the CGC test at the point at which they are transitioned to equipment that allows the evaluator to see that the dog has been trained.

The evaluator supplies a 20-foot lead for the test. The owner/handler should bring the dog’s brush or comb to the test.

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