Testing Requirements

Required Tests

Therapy Dogs United, Inc. requires that every dog certified as a canine volunteer pass a very difficult and challenging obedience and temperament test. Please read the following information prior to scheduling your exam.

Therapy Dog Obedience

We use the nationally-recognized AKC Canine Good Citizen test (commonly referred to as the CGC) as our obedience testing standard. This test is administered by our Certified AKC-CGC Evaluator. Every dog is required to pass the CGC before he/she can volunteer and work in our programs. According to the AKC, your dog is eligible to take the CGC evaluation at any age, however, if your dog receives his/her CGC certificate prior to 12 months of age, you MUST retake the CGC exam as part of TDU's therapy dog certification process. If your dog receives a passing grade from a Certified CGC Evaluator who is not working directly through TDU, we reserve the right to retest your dog as part of our therapy dog certification process. If it has been longer than 24-months since your dog was certified with the CGC, you will be required to retake and pass the CGC prior to your Therapy Dog evaluation. Therapy Dogs United is not a breed-specific certifying therapy dog organization. We welcome all dog breeds with the exception of a wolf or wolf-hybrid.

For our volunteers located throughout Canada, we require that every potential therapy dog pass the Canine Good Neighbour evaluation (commonly referred to as the CGN), which is embraced by the Canadian Kennel Club.   

Therapy Dog Temperament

Once your dog successfully passes the Canine Good Citizen test or the Canine Good Neighbour evaluation, you and your dog must also pass the TDU Therapy Dog (TD) Evaluation. This test ensures that your dog is able to remain calm in difficult, distracting and stressful situations, as well as work in a group with other dogs. You can expect your dog to be exposed to a variety of distractions (often referred to as sights and sounds) that a therapy dog volunteer will experience out in the field. Some of these include a wheelchair, walker, wheelchair alarm, medical equipment, multiple children and other dogs. During the Therapy Dog Evaluation, the volunteer handler is evaluated independently from the dog.

The Volunteer Handler

Every individual certified as a Volunteer Handler with Therapy Dogs United is required to undergo a Child Abuse Background Check for the home state or territory of each Handler. A copy of every Volunteer Handler's Child Abuse Background check is kept on file in our Erie, Pennsylvania headquarters. Prospective volunteers must possess criminal background and child abuse check results that remain in compliance with TDU's background Check policy.

To be considered as an active volunteer and member in good standing with Therapy Dogs United, every therapy dog team is required to make no less than six scheduled visits created and endorsed by our organization. You will be required to complete and return a monthly log documenting every therapy dog visit you participate in. Therapy Dogs United does not allow membership with multiple therapy dog organizations.   Click here to print a copy of our Visitation Log.

For more information about our rules, regulations, policies and procedures, please visit our FAQ page, or contact us.

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