Below is the outline and explanation of what needs to be done. In a few sentences:
Your pet needs to be old enough.
Your pet does not need any formal documented training but should have basic skills and be genuinely interested in interacting appropriately with people.
YOU need to take the Handler training through Pet Partners® either online or at a hands on training session.
ALL NEW HANDLERS MUST BE TRAINED THROUGH PET PARTNERS® REGARDLESS OF PREVIOUS EXPERIENCES.
How to Become a Nationally Registered Therapy Animal Team
There are just four steps:
Step 1: Train the 'Human-End' of the Leash ( You need to take the Handler Course)
Step 2: Have the Health of Your Animal Partner Screened by a Veterinarian
Step 3: Have Your Human-Animal team's Skills & Aptitude Evaluated
Step 4: Submit Your Registration Application
Step 1: Therapy Animal Team Training
Learn the skills needed to visit safely with your animal in hospitals, nursing homes, classrooms, and other facilities.
Successful completion of this course, in instructor-led or online format, is required for registration as a Pet Partners team.
● How to tell if both you and your animal are a good fit to be a therapy team.
● Preparing yourself and your animal for visits.
● Identifying and decreasing stress in your animal.
● Animal health and safety.
● Special needs of specific client groups.
● How to interact with different types of people.
● Facility health and safety codes.
● Patient confidentiality.
Complete the course in at least one of the formats offered:
- Attend a workshop taught by a Pet Partners® Licensed Instructor
- Successfully complete the online Handler Course
Attending the workshop is highly recommended. Potential handlers who complete an instructor-lead Pet Partner® Handler Training Course are more likely to pass the Pet Partner Evaluation on the first attempt. Another advantage of attending the workshop is the scheduling of the Pet Partner Team Evaluation follows a more coordinated path.
For handlers who cannot attend a workshop, an online version of the Pet Partners Team Training Course is available. The course includes a student guide with suggestions for activities that will help handlers learn the necessary skills and registration materials. To successfully complete the online Pet Partners Handler Course, course participants will need to pass an online assessment within one year after purchasing the course. Participants will receive up to three attempts to pass the assessment. If participants do not pass the assessment after three attempts, they will need to register to attend an in-person workshop and successfully complete it in order to proceed to next steps for registering with Pet Partners.
Please copy and paste the address below. Then follow directions given on this link for the online course:
Step 2: Health Screening for Your Pet
All animals who participate in the program must be healthy and free from parasites, disease, infections, and illnesses. The health screening is completed by your animal's regular veterinarian. To participate in the Pet Partners® Program, the animal must meet certain health requirements. Please visit the Pet Partners website for more on this.( www.petpartners.org)
Step 3: Team Evaluation
Overview of the Team Evaluation Process:
The Team Evaluation process evaluates the animal/handler team; how well the handler interprets and manages the animal's behavior and how well the animal responds to the handler. The main emphasis being that the animal is under control at all times. This process is the safest way to identify acceptable visiting teams.
Team evaluations are performed by Licensed Team Evaluators and consist of 2 parts: (Click on PPST and PPAT for a preview of the evaluation)
- Pet Partners Skills Test (PPST) – will show whether the animal can be controlled by the handler and follow basic commands. During the PPST, you will be assessed on how you interact with the evaluator, the evaluator's assistants, the animal, and the environment around you.
- Pet Partners Aptitude Test (PPAT) – is designed to simulate conditions you may encounter on a visit. This screening helps determine the most appropriate environment for you and your animal to visit. During the PPAT, you will be assessed on how well you interact with the evaluator and evaluator's assistants as you simulate being on a visit. They will be role-playing as though they are in a facility. Your interactions may be in the form of questions, responses to the evaluator and evaluator's comments, eye contact, smiling, head nodding, directing the animal to interact, or other verbal and nonverbal methods of comm unicating.
After you have passed the PPST and PPAT, the Team Evaluator will give you a signed and dated copy of your test forms for you to include when you submit your completed Registration Packet.
Step 4: Registration Packet Submission
The Registration Packet, which includes the following 7 forms, must signed by the Evaluator before you can send it in. Without it your packet will be returned. All forms must be completed in full for your packet to be accepted.
1. Photo ID Form
2. Application Fee Form
3. Volunteer Policies and Procedures Agreement Form
4. Volunteer Review
5. Handler's Questionnaire
6. Animal Health Screening Forms
7. Volunteer Contact Form
***When you submit your Registration Packet, you must also include a copy of the completed Team Evaluation Forms and the registration fee. Make and keep copies of everything for your own files.
For more detailed information about each of these steps, please visit www.petpartners.org and follow links under the Therapy Animal Teams heading