Join Alliance of Therapy Dogs2018-08-27T19:37:45+00:00

Join the Alliance of Therapy Dogs

How Do I Become a Therapy Dog Member?

Five Steps to Sharing Smiles & Joy

  • Check

    1

    Background Check

    STEP 1

    As a Volunteer organization, we care about our program and the quality of the individuals who help us. Effective January 1, 2018, a background check will be required for all prospective members prior to being tested. To begin your background check, click on the link below.

    1

    Background Check

  • Test

    2

    ATD's Test

    STEP 2

    Find a volunteer Tester/Observer in your area to test you and your dog (you can search from this page) for free as soon as the T/O can accommodate you. The test includes a handling portion which tests your dog's basic good manners and your handling skills. You'll need to bring your paperwork (download from this page) to the test.

    2

    ATD's Test

  • Pass

    3

    Graduate

    STEP 3

    After the handling portion of the test, you and your dog must interact with residents or strangers on three supervised visits. Your tester/observer will then sign off on your paperwork (download from this page) to show that you are ready to become a member of ATD.

    3

    Graduate

  • Send

    4

    Paperwork & Fee

    STEP 4

    After graduation, send us: (1) the original completed ATD Test, (2) the Member Application, (3) the Release of Claims Form, (4) your dog's proof of vet visit, negative fecal exam, and rabies vaccination, (5) the Rules Review, and (6) a one-time $10 new member fee and your annual fee of $30 that provides you with insurance coverage when you are volunteering with your dog.

    4

    Paperwork & Fee

  • Visit

    5

    Start Visits

    STEP 5

    After ATD accepts you as a member, you and your therapy dog are ready to share smiles & joy! To stay a member in good standing, you'll need to visit at least once every three months.  

    5

    Start Visits

What Makes a Good Therapy Dog?

Sweet, Friendly & Gentle Dogs

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

Any dog of any breed or mix of breeds can be a therapy dog.

A therapy dog doesn’t have to perform any tricks or know any special commands such as “fetch.” However, therapy dogs must listen to their handlers.

Therapy dogs need to have a calm 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 startled by things such as strange noises, smells, and medical equipment.

A therapy dog must be current on all vaccines required by the local laws, have a negative fecal test every 12 months, and be clean and well groomed for each visit.

No. ATD doesn’t restrict member’s choices regarding what they feed to their canine team partners.

No. Therapy dogs don’t have the legal access rights that service or assistance dogs have. NOTE: If a member misrepresents that their therapy dog is a service or assistance dog, they’ve violated ATD’s Rules and Regulations and they’ve put their membership and the integrity of ATD at risk.

Alliance of Therapy Dogs - Sharing Smiles & Joy

Watch Our Test

The Alliance of Therapy Dogs Test

Our video shows exactly how to handle your dog to interact with others. You’ll see a variety of dogs doing the various sections of the test. As you can see, dogs don’t have to be perfect, but they can’t be shy, they can’t jump on others, and they can’t pull on their leash.

LEARN MORE

Want to Become a Tester / Observer?

ALREADY A MEMBER? YOU CAN HELP NEW MEMBERS TOO!

Would you like to help others experience the satisfaction you feel when you take your dog on a pet therapy visit? If you do, then you have an opportunity to take the concept of “Sharing Smiles and Joy” to new heights by becoming Tester/Observer!

LEARN MORE
CONTACT US

Want to Become a Supporting Member?

DON'T HAVE A DOG? YOU CAN STILL SUPPORT ATD!

Don’t have a dog but still want to become involved with ATD? Become a supporting member! The $20.00 fee per year you pay in support of ATD will entitle you to receive our award-winning bi-annual newsmagazine, a member handbook, and all member communications. Contact us to learn more.

CONTACT US