Therapy Dog (Re)Certification Day

This one-day course allows graduates to refresh and recap on their skills after graduation, re-certify an existing dog, certify a second (or subsequent) dog, or certify an Advanced MultiDog Group.

(Re)Certification is an intensive and activity packed day running participants through all of the obedience, manners, application skills and scenarios that form the Therapy Dog and handler team competency assessments.

Teams are eligible to re-certify once every SECOND assessment remotely online (usually every second year). The alternate assessment must be comleted in person. Online participants supply additional video evidence and a statutory declaration as to their dog’s ongoing competence. NEW dogs (a Certified Handler’s second or subsequent dog), or competence UPGRADES can not be certified solely online, as we need to assess some socialisation, handling and scenarios face to face.

All dogs attending a (Re)Certification Day must be up to date with vaccinations, and have a current Brief Veterinary Health Screen (due every 6 months). Dogs must continue to meet the Visiting Therapy Dog Suitability requirements.

Level Two - Visiting Therapy Dog and Handler Team (Re)Certification (Foundation)


Suitable for:

  • Handlers who have previously completed Visiting Therapy Dog and Handler Team Certification at the foundation level Two, with this or another dog
  • Dogs who have been trained to a level where they can complete the required assessments, including formal obedience, manners and human-animal interactions, on lead.

Level Four - Advanced Therapy Dog and Handler Team (Re)Certification (Advanced)

Suitable for:

  • Handlers who have previously completed Level Four –  Advanced Therapy Dog and Handler Team Certification with this or another dog
  • Dogs who meet the suitability requirements for Level Four Advanced Certification including safety to work off lead in close proximity to other dogs in complex settings.
  • Note: Dogs not passing the Advanced assessment may be granted Foundation (on-lead) ReCertification if appropriate.

Level Four - Advanced MultiDog Group and Handler Certification (Optional)

It is not uncommon for experienced handlers to work with more than one dog at a time, allowing clients to take advantage of additional interactions and group dynamics. Advanced Multi-Dog Group and Handler Certification ensures that this occurs safely and effectively.  Handlers are encouraged to take advantage of the MultiDog training Workshop prior to MultiDog Certification

Handlers should be confident that their dogs work well together, and that they can confidently manage their off lead dog(s) with minimal intervention, so that any on-lead or Learner dog can have the attention and support they require.

Handlers attend the (Re)Certification Day with the dogs they wish to certify, and the handler and dogs are certified as a working group. The dogs must complete the assessments simultaneously, including off lead manners, step aways, and simulations under distraction (Foundation or Learner dogs are not required to perform Advanced formal obedience cues. Learner dogs may be tethered for step aways). Dogs are also assessed for separation confidence from the handler, and from each other. Role-play scenarios are at the Advanced (complex) standard for ALL dogs simultaneously. For example, handlers may conduct an Adjunctive Relational interaction where the off lead dog(s) shake hands with the ‘client’ and the handler helps the ‘client’ teach the Learner/on-lead dog the same skill. 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.

Only dogs assessed together are part of the Certified Group, however all dogs passing the assessment will also be able to work independently.


Suitable for:

  • Handlers who have previously completed the Level Four – Advanced Therapy Dog and Handler Team Certification with this or another dog
  • Only one dog is permitted to be working at the onlead (Learner Dog or Level Two) standard
  • Each dog in the group must work well with the others, not showing signs of competition or antisocial interactions
  • Note: Dogs not passing the Advanced assessment may be granted Foundation (on-lead) ReCertification if appropriate.

Access and Pricing

(Re)Certification Day

Course dates can be found on the application form and on the training calendar

$410 AUD (inc. GST)

This price includes access to up to date course manuals, policies and procedures

Available for purchase on the day: 

  • Therapy Dog Identification Coats
  • Therapy Dog Bandanas
  • Leads, training collars, flat collars, and halters

Certification Standards

Participants should ensure that they familiarise themselves with the most current assessment standards prior to attendance at (Re)Certification. 

Level Two – Visiting Therapy Dogs are assessed on-lead and training collar/halter, unless specified otherwise. Level Four – Advanced Therapy Dogs are expected to work through all of the assessments off-lead. Competence is assessed and graduating teams are provided with a Statement of Competence.

Certification remains current for one year for adult & adolescent dogs (aged 1+years), and 6 months for puppies (aged 8 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.

Certification standards are regularly updated 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;


Assessment of handling & training skills

  • Formal obedience including, sit, drop, step-aways, free walking & holding a ‘place’ cue
  • Attunement and management in typical and challenging environments (Off-lead manners, socialisation with toys, food, equipment and animals)
  • Separation confidence


Applications, scenarios and human-animal interactions

  • Simulated interactions/role plays demonstrating adequate management of the therapy dog whilst simultaneously facilitating a mutually rewarding interaction
  • Temperament testing (e.g. handling, crowding, response to challenging people)
  • Visiting with diverse populations

Benefits of Re-Certification

Re-certification is beneficial for those who wish to:

  • Re-Certify to provide reassurance to insurers or employers of ongoing competence
  • Upgrade competence (e.g. for eligibility to proceed to Advanced Certification)
  • Refresh skills and knowledge, and network with other graduates
  • Certify a second or subsequent dog
  • Certify multiple dogs to work in an Advanced MultiDog Group
  • Remain listed on the Lead the Way Directory page