A therapy dog must be at least one-year-old.

What Species do you certify and register?

Dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, goats, snakes, lizards, turtles, and more! We are able to certify nearly any animal to determine if it has the right temperament for therapy work.

What dog breeds do you certify?

Dogs of any breed or mix of breeds can be a therapy animal with the proper temperament.

How do I get Certified?

Follow these steps, which starts with this application.

I don't have a pet, how can I help?

If you'd like to help at events you can apply to be a "helping hands intern" to lean more about animal-assisted ecotherapy. You can also donate here to help support our efforts.

How do i attend events?

After going through our certification and registration process, you can check our event calendar here, or join our facebook group to rsvp to events and let us know you will be attending.

Do you offer training?

Yes, you can find our training options here.

What types of therapy pets are there?

At Take A Paws CA, LLC, we offer different types of therapy pets to cater to various needs and preferences. We have facility therapy animals that can be requested with a social worker/coach, as well as therapy pet teams from the community who strive to make a difference. Our therapy pet options include animal-assisted activities, animal-assisted education, and animal-assisted therapy. We certify comforting therapy animals, play therapy animals, and trick therapy animals, each to help clients in unique ways. You can learn more about that, here. We understand that each client's interaction preference may vary, and we strive to meet those needs by providing a range of therapy pet choices.  

Does my pet need to be spayed/neutered?

No, but animals in heat or pregnant will not be allowed to work. Bringing an unneutered/unspayed animal is done at your own risk.

Does a Therapy Dog Have to Know Commands or Tricks?

A therapy dog doesn’t have to perform any tricks or know any special commands such as fetch, speak, or high five. therapy dogs must listen to their handlers, walk gently on a leash, and know how to sit and lay down on command, among other skills shown in the video at the bottom of this page.
Though, dogs that can performs certain types of tricks may be chosen for specific jobs where asking dogs to perform tricks is an integral part of the therapeutic experience. Not to mention, clients absolutely adore a dog that can high five, hug, or wave goodbye!

What Type of Temperament Should a Therapy Dog Have?

Therapy dogs need to have a calm, friendly, and gentle disposition. They must be good around other dogs, calm when strangers pet them all over, not jump on others, walk on a leash without pulling, and not get startled by things such as strange noises, smells, or medical equipment. There is a video below showing some of the skills your pet may need.

Does a Therapy animal Need Good Health?

A therapy animal must be current on all vaccines (or titre tested), not have any current illness or injury, and be clean and well groomed for each visit. Conditions that do not affect daily tasks may be considered on a case by case basis. Elderly or geriatric (dogs 8+) (cats 12+) may be therapy animals, but will likely be given special assignments with less demanding activity, such as a reading group.

Do Therapy Dogs Need a Special Diet?

No. TAP doesn’t restrict member’s choices regarding what they feed to their canine team partners. Raw fed and kibble fed dogs are welcome.

Is a Therapy Dog a Service or Assistance Animal?

No. Therapy dogs don’t have the legal access rights that service dogs have. Therapy teams are only welcome into environments that have invited us to them or have given us permission.

Why a Background Check?

As a Volunteer organization, we care about our program and the quality of the individuals who help us. TAP feels it is an important to assure we are bringing in members who are trustworthy. A background check provides the facilities we visit with a sense of comfort that our volunteers have been properly screened. Background checks prior to testing will also help to keep our insurance premiums low and thus, keep your yearly fees low. The cost for the background check is $20.00, which will be required after application has been accepted. If you have a background check from another organization, such as Alliance of Therapy Dogs, this allows you to share the results with us and avoid paying the fee a second time. 

What is the certification process like?

First, you will fill out a basic application. Then you will schedule a behavioral analysis an submit the nominal fee. Below is a video of a similar test and skills you can work on with your dog to pass the behavioral exam. After the exam, we will send you an email to continue the process depending on if your team passes or fails.