Selection of Dogs for Family Life & Therapy Work



This is a non-CE course, but it is very useful, nevertheless, in helping therapists find, socialize, and train dogs with whom they can work as partners in therapy.

Selecting a dog as a family companion as well as for therapy work is a complex process, and perhaps more complicated than many realize. Your decision will affect your family for years. If there are plans for the dog to be involved in therapy work, and especially psychotherapy or play therapy, then it is important that the dog is suitable for those purposes as well. Not all dogs are appropriate for all families or all types of work. Most people want a friendly, calm, stable dog who will fit in well with their lifestyle. Therapists need dogs who will be able to perform and enjoy the work that is asked of them.

This self-paced online course has been developed to provide practical and up-to-date information that will help you acquire a dog who is more likely to fit well with your family and work, helping you make a more informed choice. It is designed to help you determine the attributes that you want or need in the dog, and to help you look more fully for those characteristics in the puppies or dogs being considered. Information is provided about acquiring puppies from responsible breeders as well as how to adopt dogs from rescues or shelters.  The following sections are included:

  • Introduction
  • Lifestyle Considerations
  • Dog Breeds
  • Puppy Mills, Backyard Breeders, & Reputable Breeders
  • Rescue Dogs
  • When Should I Acquire a Dog?
  • Individual Characteristics of Dogs
  • Observations & “Tests” – How to Evaluate the Dog
  • Observations
  • Available Assessment Tools
  • Creating Your Own “Tests”
  • Selection for Animal Assisted Play Therapy & Other Therapy Work
  • Selection Help from Canine Professionals
  • Socialization & Training Considerations
  • Keeping in Touch: Well-being & Changes
  • Other Resources

This course consists of a PowerPoint presentation in PDF format. It has detailed information, photographs to illustrate, and links to articles, videos, and other resources that might be useful in selecting a new puppy or dog. This course is not designed as a continuing education offering, but the other courses in this catalog do offer continuing education for mental health and some for canine professionals.

This online course is offered as a stand-alone program. Registration fee includes all course materials.

Instructor: Risë VanFleet, PhD, RPT-S, CDBC
(Licensed Psychologist, Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor, Certified Dog
Behavior Consultant)
You will automatically receive access to the course materials upon completion of payment. Please make sure that you add to your address book or email whitelist. 

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