The Therapy Dog (Re)Certification Day allows graduates to refresh and recap on their skills after graduation, re-certify an existing dog, certify a second (or subsequent) dog, or certify a multi-dog group. You may also attend the (Re)Assessment Day for Drives to gain competence prior to Advanced Certification.

(Re)Certification is an intensive and activity packed day running participants through all of the Leadership Obedience, Canine Good Behaviour Shaping, and Therapy-Dog application skills and scenarios that form the Therapy Dog and handler assessments.

Foundation (Re)Certification

The Re-certification Day allows graduate teams to refresh their skills, and to recertify once their original Certification has expired (usually after 1 year). The assessment criteria used are the same as that in the Foundation course, with most tasks to be competed on-lead and halter.

Pre-requisite:

You (handler) must have completed the Foundation Therapy-Dog & Handler Certification course before enrolling in the (Re)Certification Day. The dog must meet the requirements as listed in the Therapy Dog Suitability Checklist.

Advanced (Re)Certification

Advanced Re-certification allows graduate teams to refresh their skills, and recertify once Advanced Certification expires (usually after 1 year). The assessment criteria used are the same as that in the Advanced course, with all activities (except heeling) completed off-lead.

Pre-requisites:

Handler: Must have successfully completed the 4-day Advanced Certification course with at least one dog previously.

Dog: All dogs must meet the suitability requirements and be ready to work off lead. Dogs must also have current certification as a Visiting Therapy Dog with competence in all areas*, OR if a new dog (has not previously attended Foundation or Advanced course), must have completed the Drives Assessment Day and demonstrated competence and control when under stimulating settings (play, prey, chase drive with animals, toys, food).

* Please note that mild separation anxiety is not exclusionary for Advanced Certification, provided this can be shown not to impact the dog’s capacity to work; e.g. the dog can be left alone in familiar places, or can be left with a trusted Secondary Handler/support person if necessary during a work day without distress.

Multi-Dog Handler Certification

Once a handler has completed the Advanced course, and displays competence in managing at least one advanced therapy dog off-lead, they are eligible to complete Multi-Dog Handler Certification. This ensures the handler is competently and safely managing their animals when working with more than one dog during interventions. It is not uncommon for experienced handlers to work with more than one dog at a time, and Multi-Dog Handler Certification ensures that this occurs safely and effectively.

Assessment occurs at a (Re)Certification Day. The dogs assessed do not necessarily have to have completed the advanced training, but the handler must feel confident that each dog is working at an advanced standard, completing the vast majority of tasks off-lead. The handler must attend with the dogs they wish to certify, and the handler and dogs will be certified as a working group. The dogs must complete all of the assessments simultaneously, including off-lead manners, step aways, and work under distraction. The only obedience assessed one at a time is the ‘heel’ command. Dogs will also be assessed for separation confidence from the handler, and from each other. If the handler cannot manage one or other of the dogs, or the dogs do not work well together, they cannot be certified as a group. Each of the dogs will obtain their Visiting Therapy Dog Certification or Advanced Therapy Dog Certification provided they have also completed the Assessment Day and are deemed competent to work under drive. Only dogs assessed together are part of the certified group, however all dogs passing the assessment will also be able to work independently.

Pre-requisites:

Handler: Must have successfully completed the 4-day Advanced Certification course with at least one dog previously.

Dog: All dogs must meet the suitability requirements and be ready to work off lead. Dogs must also have current certification as a Visiting Therapy Dog with competence in all areas*, OR if a new dog (has not previously attended Foundation or Advanced course), must have completed the Drives Assessment Day and demonstrated competence and control when under stimulating settings (play, prey, chase drive with animals, toys, food).

Course Details

logo-alpha-canine-professionalLocation: The Alpha Canine Centre, 54 Rushdale St. Knoxfield Victoria 3180
Dates: All upcoming course dates can be found in our Training Calendar, and Application Form.
Cost: $300 inc GST
Times: 8.30 am to 4.30 pm

Available for purchase: 

  • Therapy Dog Identification Coats $55
  • Lead & Halter sets $50

Note: A maximum of 15 participants will be accepted into this course. Please enrol early to avoid disappointment. A 20% non-refundable deposit is required to secure your place in the course. Fees must be paid in full 28 days prior to course commencement.

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Training Dog

Benefits of Re-Certification

Not all graduates of our courses will want to Re-certify for a variety of reasons.

Re-certification may be beneficial for those who wish to;

  • Certify a second or subsequent dog
  • Certify multiple dogs to work in a Multi-Dog Group
  • Remain up to date with current handling techniques or changes
  • Remain listed on the Lead the Way Directory page
  • Problem solve any issues or concerns with the way the Therapy-Dog is working or responding
  • Provide reassurance to insurers or employers of ongoing competence
  • Refresh skills and knowledge, and network with other graduates

Certification Standards

The Foundation and the Advanced assessment protocols will be equivalent to what you have completed during your practical course to obtain your original certification. At the Foundation level, Visiting Therapy Dogs will be assessed on-lead and halter, unless specified otherwise. Advanced Therapy Dogs (and Multi-Dog Groups) are expected to work through all of the assessments off-lead. Competence will be assessed and graduating teams will be provided with a Statement of Competence. For more information, please refer to your course manual, or the detailed course information page for that level.

Certification* remains current for one year for adult & adolescent dogs (aged 1+years), and 6 months for puppies (aged 5 months – 12 months). Certification may be removed at any stage if your dog fails to meet the Suitability requirements. Graduate teams with current certification are eligible for listing on the Lead the Way Directory page.

* New certification standards have been introduced in 2019, in line with ISAAT (International Society of Animal-Assisted Therapy) and IAHAIO (International Association of Human-Animal Interaction Organisations) guidelines.

(Re)Certification Day Course Outline

The day is largely practical, with some group discussions;

Morning

Recap of the Canine Leadership System

  • Obedience including, sit, drop, step-aways & heeling
  • Canine Good Behaviour Shaping off-lead (manners)
Afternoon

Applications & Scenarios

  • Applications – e.g. familiarisation with equipment such as wheelchairs
  • Role plays demonstrating obedience commands, control and handling
  • Visiting with diverse populations (e.g. children, aged, disabled)

(Re)Assessment Day for Drives

Whilst there are some situations where it would NOT be appropriate for a Therapy Dog to go into ‘drive’, for example a nursing home visit, there are other settings where it may be valuable to have a dog who gets clearly excited by something – for example ‘play drive’ to fetch a ball thrown by a client, or ‘food drive’ that stimulates experimentation during trick training activities. It is vital, however, that handlers are able to bring the dog out of drive quickly and immediately upon verbal command. A dog who requires repeated instruction and quickly or repeatedly returns to drive is not yet competent in that domain, requiring additional practice and consolidation to achieve competence.

The (Re)Assessment Day for Drives provides an opportunity for Certified Visiting Therapy Dog and handler teams (foundation level) who have completed further training and/or rehabilitation to return to the farm-based centre (Macclesfield) and be re-assessed for a range of drives, for example play drive around toys, food drives, or chase/prey drives that may be elicited by working around animals including cats, ponies, sheep, chooks and other dogs. Visiting Therapy Dogs must be competent in all areas, including with animals, toys, food and other dogs, PRIOR to being eligible for Advanced Therapy Dog Certification.

Foundation level dogs must pass the re-assessments on lead and halter. Advanced dogs must pass the (re)assessment on-lead and flat collar, and off-lead where appropriate. You can also enrol in the Drives Assessment Day if you would like to certify a new Advanced Therapy Dog (who has not previously been assessed as part of a Foundation certification course).

Pre-requisite:

You (handler) must have completed the Foundation Therapy-Dog & Handler Certification course before enrolling. If you would like the dog to be assessed at an Advanced level, you (handler) must also have previously successfully completed the Advanced Therapy Dog and Handler Certification course.

Course Details

Location: The Alpha Boarding Kennels, 8 Kiernan Rd. Macclesfield Victoria 3782
Dates: All upcoming course dates can be found in our Training Calendar, and Application Form.
Times: Afternoon session, 4 hours
Cost: $150 inc GST

Note: A maximum of 10 participants will be accepted into this course. Please enrol early to avoid disappointment. A 20% non-refundable deposit is required to secure your place in the course. Fees must be paid in full 28 days prior to course commencement.

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