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WAGS The Dog Program presents

Therapy Dog Assessment and Basic Handler Training MURWILLUMBAH


This course is delivered in two 3-hour sessions on consecutive days. Attendance at both days is required.

Cost: $450.00. Payable in advance.

This course is aimed primarily at assessing and certifying dogs suitable to use as therapy dogs in community settings such as youth centres, aged care homes and hospitals with a focus on human mental health services. 

This course will also equip you and your dog with the skills and knowledge you need to stay safe and effective while providing therapy dog services.

This course is suitable for people who would like to:

• Volunteer their dog at a hospital, aged care home, youth service or similar community organisation.

• Volunteer their dog to visit students in a mainstream school setting

• Use their dog to work in a WAGS program in your local area

• Use their dog to provide therapeutic services to family members

This course assumes you have your own dog to use. If you have more than one dog you would like to have assessed, you will need to supply a handler for each additional dog. If you do not have a dog to use, you can still complete the “Intervention Dog Handlers Course” instead.

While the primary purpose of this training is to observe, test and assess your dog for suitability, an extensive range of training techniques and strategies are explained and explored. 

W.A.G.S. puts the health and safety of our canine team members at the centre of everything we do. And we certainly don’t forget about our volunteer handlers either! Your course will include resources and training on establishing safe work practices, monitoring health, OHS in the workplace, ethical care and legal requirements.

Whilst it is our sincere wish that you and your dog make an effective and happy team, not all dogs have the specific skills, apptitude and temperament required to be a W.A.G.S. dog. Failure to be certified should never be considered a reflection of the dog’s character or worth. Dogs, like people, occupy a whole spectrum of personality types and experiences. Some will enjoy working as a therapy dog, but some will not. Enrolment in this course includes extensive investigation into your dog for this reason. Answer the suitability questions in the enrolment form as thoughtfully and honestly as you can. We will contact you prior to taking your money if we suspect your dog may be facing greater than average challenges to passing.


Are there minimum age requirements to complete the certification?

While there are no minimum age requirements for the humans involved in W.A.G.S., there are age restrictions for dogs that can be assessed. Dogs must be between 18 months and 10 years old at the time of certification. W.A.G.S. welcomes human handlers of any age but you should research volunteer requirements with the organisations you are hoping to visit with your dog, as sometimes they require volunteers to be a minimum age. 

What are the minimum requirements for my dog, to be considered for certification?

There are some non-negotiables when it comes to considering dogs for certification as a therapy dog. Your dog MUST:

1. Be between the ages of 18 months and 10 years old.

2. All dogs must be de-sexed

3. All dogs must have a clean bill of health and vaccination history

​4. All dogs should have a friendly disposition that is likely to enjoy participating in the program

There are other requirements for passing the certification, but we can usually help you overcome those obstacles. We do encourage you to answer your enrolment form as honestly as possible so we can identify anything that may be an added challenge for either you or your dog.

What should I bring on the day?

  • Clean and healthy dog

  • Vaccination Certificate

  • Appropriate soft collar and lead (no check chains, head halters or anti-pull harnesses)

  • Water bottle

  • Chair (optional)

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