Hot to Become a Therapy Dog Team

Mukaluka Dirtypaws, visiting in a hospital

Learn how to become a registered therapy dog team in the greater Portland, OR / Vancouver, WA area, or elsewhere in the U.S. Share your dog's love in schools, libraries, businesses, assisted-living homes, hospitals and/or hospices.

But first, to learn more about therapy dogs and how they differ from service dogs and emotional support dogs, see Service, Emotional Support and Therapy Dogs.

Visiting in an assisted living home

You will find complete information on how to become a registered, insured therapy dog team on the Alliance of Therapy Dogs (ATD) website at Click on Join, then Be a Member.

For a quick overview, scroll down and read What Makes a Good Therapy Dog?, then watch the video. The video shows therapy dogs visiting in a facility, as well as the test you and your dog must pass.

The test is conducted by a Tester/Observer, and after you pass you will accompany the Tester/Observer on three visits to a facility they regularly visit with their dog. This process ensures that you and your dog are suited for this type of volunteer work, and that you will enjoy visiting safely.

For complete information, scroll back up the page and click on Download Membership Forms. The membership package includes ATD's regulations and an application.

Please let me know if I can help you with any questions! You will surely find that in sharing your dog's love you will be helpless to give more than you receive.

Peter Christensen
Salmon Creek, WA

Short video visiting a patient (1:23)

Pukalu, my second therapy dog