Schedule & Registration

Preparing to Volunteer as a Therapy Dog Team

Instructor Elizabeth M. Simpson, B.Sc., M.Sc., Ph.D.


This class emphasizes preparing the handler and dog to work together in a confident relationship, developing the knowledge and skills necessary to be a successful therapy dog team.

Each class involves information on the therapy dog process in the Vancouver area, a “check in” with the handlers regarding successes and challenges, review and practice of a typical therapy dog test item, and instruction on development of a specific skill that will be helpful during therapy dog visitations. 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.

COVID protections – classes are kept small allowing social distancing, each team has a designated working area, all handlers and trainers will wear masks, the room will be cleaned before and after each class.

Length: 6 Weeks | 60 Minutes Per Week


Dog must be at least 1 year old. Handlers and dogs will be assessed for potential to develop into a therapy dog team before signing up for this class. Please register and join the WAITLIST to be contacted by the instructor for an assessment. Please equip your dog with a flat buckle collar, or for dogs less than 10 lbs a harness may be used, and an approximately 6-foot leash. Collars, including pinch, choke, martingale, and shock, as well as retractable-leashes are not permitted.

Important Note: One-week notice prior to the date of the first class is required for cancellations or refunds. We are unable to provide refunds once classes have started. Due to the nature of Therapy Dog Team classes we are unable to offer make-up classes for any that you miss. Dates and times of classes are subject to change. Visit our website for more information and to check space availability in classes.

Upcoming Classes

Preparing to Volunteer as a Therapy Dog Team.

Fridays at 6:15 PM

DOGSmart Room P

Elizabeth M. Simpson, Ph.D.