Essentials of Canine Behavior & Training for Animal Assisted Play Therapy®



This self-paced course has been created to provide the practitioner of Animal Assisted Play Therapy® or other Animal Assisted Interventions with a solid background in canine behavior and training. It is likely to be useful to others who wish to learn more about canine socialization, behavior, and training, and how these relate to our relationships with dogs as well as to the work we ask them to do.

Included lessons are as follows: (1) the therapeutic partnership; (2) the nature of dogs; debunking the myths; (3) socialization; (4) overview of dog training; (5) learning principles (theory); (6) positive training concepts; (7) dog training applications; (8) more training applications and resources; (9) the dog’s welfare. The course consists of a PowerPoint presentation, links to supporting documents, video presentations and examples, and detailed examples of how to train a number of key behaviors. Successful completion of this course is a prerequisite for the live 4-day Animal Assisted Play Therapy® Level 2 workshop offered regularly in the US, UK, and elsewhere.

CE Credits Available: 10

Required Text (sold separately): Dennison, P. (2015). You CAN Train Your Dog: Mastering the Art & Science of Modern Dog Training. Blairstown, NJ: Shadow Publishing.

Instructor: Risë VanFleet, PhD, RPT-S, CDBC, Licensed Psychologist (PA)

Learning Objectives: Participants in this course will be able to…

  1. Explain why the therapist-canine relationship is so important to Animal Assisted Play Therapy®.
  2. Identify key features of a therapy partnership with a dog.
  3. Define the basic principles of classical conditioning.
  4. Explain the four quadrants of operant conditioning.
  5. Describe what is meant by socialization and why it is so important for play therapy dogs.
  6. Define the following terms: luring, free shaping, capturing, marker training, play training, DRI.
  7. Give at least 3 reasons why it is critical to use nonaversive methods in training dogs for therapy work.
  8. Distinguish collars and harnesses that are appropriate and inappropriate for managing dogs’ behavior.
  9. Apply training principles and ideas to teach their dogs at least 3 useful behaviors for AAPT work.
  10. Monitor their dogs for stress during therapy sessions and respond appropriately when they see it.

You will automatically receive the course materials upon completion of payment. Please make sure that you add to your address book or email whitelist. The course materials will come from this email. If you do not get the materials within 1 hour of completing checkout, please check your spam or junk folder.

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