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Therapy Dog Team

Skill Sets

Therapy dogs teams are trained to perform certain actions and behaviors to help others with what ever they may need therapy for.  It is important to remember that a Therapy Dog is does not work for it's partner, but for many different individuals.

Indicates the task is "cued" or functions with a  command from the Team Partner (you). All Therapy Skills are "cued"

Skills related to education therapy:

  • Prolonged focused attention on study material ei: staring at an open book appearing to "read" or solve a problem

  • Select predetermined material(books) from a pile of decoys

  • Turn pages, close or open book

  • Cover part of a word to help "sound-outs"

  • Cued behavior for correct or incorrect answers

  • A focus for the student to break-away and re-direct their attentions  This type of therapy can be extended into what ever works best for the therapy team and the student.  Home-schoolers can take advantage of many skills taught particular to a popular text book or lesson plan. Use of your imagination and suggest a routine and we will devise a training program for your idea. Education therapy should be fun above all. 

Skills related to medical therapy:

Please see the general "Task List" for skills taught relating to the medical field.  Look for the

"Therapy Dog" Badge to in the "TASK" boxes to the right. 

A note about Therapy Dogs and the mental health of the working dog.

Many of the working Therapies a team can engage in are difficult for the dog to handle emotionally, on a daily or even weekly basis. Constant visits to a hospice for example can quickly depress a sensitive dog.   Conversely, continual R.E.A.D. sessions with hyperactive or physically inattentive children can make your dog "turn-off" during the session.

Make sure to give your dog plenty of "decompress" time after sessions. Be mindful of your dog's mental state, and don't push it if its not working out.


Vocabulary lesson: A "Task" and a "Skill" are basically the same thing; something taught to the dog to assist people.  Labelling is necessary to understand the difference between a TASK TRAINED service dog and a Skilled (or Professional) Therapy Dog.


Learning to be groomed, especially for the dog that needs a clippered haircut every 4 to 6 weeks, can be a challenge for any pet owner, but the Therapy Team has the added commitment of keeping the dog squeaky clean and odor-excess shed free.  This can become a costly burden on many Therapy Teams, and is listed as the No. 1 reason for early retirement from the Therapy Work chosen; grooming becomes too expensive to keep up. (Golden Doodles are particularly affected by this.)

Our training program can also include grooming instruction for the Therapy team, complete with wholesale grooming supply resources and instructions for building a portable grooming table.   

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