Schedule & Registration

Therapy Dog 2: Advanced Volunteering Skills 

Group Classes or Private Lessons


Instructor: Elizabeth M. Simpson CPDT-KA

Volunteering, to share the enthusiastic-nonjudgmental love of your dog with those in need, is a special kind of joy. Sometimes dogs and their handlers just require a bit of training to make the dream of volunteering a reality, or for those already volunteering, to take their skills to the next level. This advanced group class/private lesson emphasizes teaching the handler and dog to work together in a confident relationship, developing the knowledge and skills necessary to be an excellent therapy dog team.

Group classes/private lessons involve information on the therapy dog approval process in the Vancouver area, practice of typical therapy dog test items, and instruction on developing skills that will give you and your dog confidence during therapy dog visits. Positive reinforcement training techniques including food rewards, praise, cue words, and hand signals will be used to guide the human-dog teams in learning to communicate with each other. All this, in a stress-free environment designed to be fun for you and your dog.

Typical group classes: In person | 6 weeks | 60 minutes per week | 8 dog teams maximum
Typical private lessons: In person | 1-3 weeks | 60 minutes per week | 1 dog team maximum

Prerequisites: Dogs must be at least 1-year old because the class includes potentially fearful items. DOGSmart Beginner Class is not required but is recommended. In addition, the Therapy Dog 1: Canine Good Neighbour Preparation class is not required but is a good step towards this Therapy Dog 2: Advanced Volunteering Skills class.

Please equip your dog with a flat buckle collar, or front clip harness, and an approximately 6-foot leash. Collars, including pinch, choke, martingale, and shock, as well as retractable-leashes are not permitted.

Cancellations or Refunds: One-week notice prior to the date of the first group class/private lesson is required for cancellations or refunds. We are unable to provide refunds once group classes/private lessons have started. Due to the sequential nature of Therapy Dog 2 classes, we are unable to offer make-up classes for any you miss. Dates and times of classes are subject to change.

Contact Us:

Call DOGSmart at 604 267-9500. For classes visit our website for more information and to check timing and availability For other questions or private lessons please email the instructor 

Recent Media: 

We are honoured to have graduates from our Dog Therapy 2: Advanced Volunteer Skills and Therapy Dogs 2: Canine Good Neighbour Preparation programs participate in the new pet therapy program at B.C. Children's Hospital which is designed to help staff cope with stress, anxiety, and work-related health issues.

Vancouver Sun

CBC Video


Photo: Vancouver Sun