Canine Evaluation Skills

Many people ask us what the process is for the evaluations for a Therapy Dog. As we do not make our exact evaluation public, here are some guidelines as to what we are looking for in both the dog and handler as individuals and a team.

Dog needs to have basic obedience with a solid foundation with the following commands:

  • Sit
  • Down
  • Leave It (This one is one of the most important commands to have as we visit facilities where medications are given out and human medication can be extremely harmful to dogs. There are also chances that hosted events have other animals and food so your dog needs to be able to respect you and your command of “leave it” for their safety)
  • Loose leash walking 

Dog needs to enjoy interacting with humans and being touched and handled by strangers

  • This needs to be a controlled voluntary action of the dog meaning that they do not just approach anyone unless you have let them know that it is ok to do so. No forcing your dog to interact if they are not comfortable.

Dog needs to have a balanced mannerism where they are comfortable with other dogs and animals around them

  • There are cases where we are able to have members attend a more private event but 90% of the time there will be other dogs around. It is not a social “free for all” for the dogs at events but they still need to not react in any aggressive manner if they see another dog/animal/human
  •  Separate evaluation will be held to see how your dog is with the farms animals that are a part of the foundation. 

Dog needs to be able to handle small and large crowds out in public settings both indoor and outdoor spaces.

  • Dog will need to be able to handle loud noises (clapping, things falling on the floor, screaming) different equipment (wheelchair, walker, cane, crutches etc) and odd movement (twitches etc).

Know your dog’s signals

  • It is very important that you advocate for your dog. If they are in a situation that is making them uncomfortable, it is in your and their best interest to remove them before things escalate.

Please note that if your dog shows extreme fear or reactivity during the evaluation is an automatic fail. We have a responsibility to keep the public and other members safe at all times.

If you have any questions or concerns about your dog’s level of training please reach out as we work with Karing Holmes and they are constantly offering many different classes and seminars for you and your dog.

Recruiting New Members:

Evaluations to come June 2022

Please contact for more information and to register.

Space is limited.

Not a member but would like to donate?

We appreciate and gratefully accept any donation towards helping keep therapy animals in the community!