CErtification Test



Canine Therapy Corps' Certification Test is evaluated on a PASS/FAIL basis*. This means Handler and Test Dog must successfully complete ALL Test exercises in order to pass Canine Therapy Corps' therapy dog test. Retesting candidates will be allowed to reattempt no more than two non-temperament based exercises or elements, which are identified by an asterisk on the Certification Test form.

Test Dog must be on a flat, buckle collar during the Certification Test and a 4' or 6', fixed-length leash during both the Practice Session and the Certification Test. No training aids (e.g., collars, harnesses, food, toys, clickers, etc.) of any sort may be used or on the Handler's person during the Certification Test, though these aids are permitted during the Practice Session.

Canine Therapy Corps is looking for Handler to exhibit verbal control over the Test Dog, meaning Test Dog responds to the Handler's verbal instructions - come, sit, stay, heel, down, etc. - within 4 cues, without the necessity of the following to encourage the required behavior: leash pressure; training aids; physical touch or modeling; sounds or vocalizations other than the verbal cue (e.g., finger snapping, clapping, whistling, clicking, kissing, etc.), yelling, scolding, intimidation, or other sounds or body language. Simple obedience hand signals (e.g., hand to heart for "come") are permitted, but behaviors such as foot stomping, body blocking, crowding, pretending to reach in your pocket, etc. are not.

Handler must be standing and upright when commanding Test Dog.

CTC heavily promotes the use of praise and encouragement in exercises where verbal coaching is permitted and expects Handler to continuously advocate for Test Dog's well-being and enjoyment.

Canine Therapy Corps reserves the right to dismiss any Handler or Test Dog from a Practice Session or Certification Test at its discretion. For example, a Test Dog may be dismissed, if at any time while at the Test Site or in the Test Site vacinity, Test Dog demonstrates behavior ubecoming a therapy dog. Behavior unbecoming a therapy dog includes, but is not limited to: mouthing of any kind (the leash, a person, etc.), lip lifting/tooth displays; uncontrolled barking or vocalizing; and reactivity or aggression. If two dogs are involved in an altercation, and both react, both dogs may be dismissed. Dismissed Test Dogs may retest during future Certification sessions if Handler and Test Dog have rectified the problematic behavior.

*The Handler of a Test Dog who has failed three certification sessions by a narrow margin of one non-temperament exercise or less may appeal to Canine Therapy Corps for exemption from the pass/fail standard. 

Watch two of our dogs, Gemma and Prada, navigate the CANINE THERAPY CORPS certification test. Both videos are also posted on YouTube. Here are Gemma and her handler, CANINE THERAPY CORPS Test Evaluator Mary Dellorto, and Prada and her handler, Program Leader Michelle Schwartz, taking our test - with the help of some Canine Therapy Corps veterans.


Gemma, our "big" dog

Prada, our "small" dog