Professional Therapy Dog Training and Certification

Canine Community Heroes professional therapy dog training program is specifically designed for service professionals who will be integrating dog-assisted interventions into their existing work with people. The training and certification program supports future professional therapy dog teams in education, counseling, social work, first responder peer support, therapy and other specialties for human health and well-being.

Certification Program

CCH offers a certification program for professional therapy dogs who will be onsite at a location with their handler who is a service provider. The program features a comprehensive curriculum that includes training in advanced dog skills and dog handling skills. We believe that a professional therapy dog team (handler and dog) should have effective 2-way communication skills before delivering any services to people such as counseling or therapy. Partnership building is a core feature of the program.

Professional Therapy Dog Skills

  • Basic manners (skills in public areas)
  • Social skills (greetings and interactions)
  • Partnership (responding to cues)
  • Work related skills (participating in goal-oriented activities)

Professional Dog Handling Skills

  • Read and respond to dog body language (aka dog signals)
  • Partnership (management and handling)
  • Dog advocacy (decision making for safety in the work environment)
  • Animal Assisted Intervention implementation (developing goal-oriented activities for your profession)

Prerequisites to Enroll


  • 8 weeks – 6 yrs. of age (puppies less than 6 months will focus on socialization, confidence building, and manners)
  • Enjoys social interactions with unfamiliar people
  • Confident in environments outside of the home


  • Service provider (i.e. – educator, therapist, counselor, peer support member, social worker)
  • Local to our geographic area (Northern Colorado)
  • Force-free dog handling (no choke, shock, punishment)

Getting Started

Training your own professional therapy dog can be a challenging, yet rewarding process however; we recognize that it is difficult to know whether you and your dog are candidates for this type of training model. To help determine the suitability of our program to meet your needs, the Getting Started Page will help you learn more about our evaluation process. If you are a Thompson School District educator in Colorado, please let us know when you contact us.

Learn More

Are you an educator or human service provider? We have additional information and resources to help you. Our School Therapy Dogs page covers important considerations when implementing therapy dog programs in the schools. The Animal Assisted Intervention page will help you learn more about implementing goal-oriented activities with a therapy dog.