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Therapy Dog Certification Process

Therapy Dog Certification Process (3 hours)

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

6:00-9:00 PM

Dr. Betz King, PsyD, LP

Cost: $50 

The presence of an animal has been shown to improve physical and mental health, whether the animal is a family companion or a therapy animal (Gee 2010, 2012; Johnson, 2010; Levine, 2013; Marcus 2013). Mental and medical health providers are increasingly offering animal-assisted interventions to their clients, often a therapy dog is utilized.  While animal assisted therapy dates back to the early 1900’s, the legal and ethical considerations and recommendations are still developing. This session will provide the necessary terminology to distinguish between service, therapy, and emotional support animals and to understand the differences between animal assisted interventions, animal assisted education, animal assisted activities, and animal assisted therapy. Ethical considerations, animal welfare considerations, boundaries of competence and specialized training will be presented.  Participants will learn the necessary steps necessary to train and work with a therapy dog.

Approved by MCBAP for 3 contact hours related to substance abuse.

By the end of the training, participants will be able to:

  1. Define animal assisted interventions
  2. Distinguish between animal assisted therapy, education, and activities.
  3. Distinguish between service animals, emotional support animals, and therapy animals.
  4. Evidence a working knowledge of ethical considerations, boundaries of competence and animal welfare concerns when providing animal assisted interventions.
  5. Articulate the steps necessary to train and work with a therapy dog.

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Workshop Schedule of Events

5:45-6:00 PM Registration

6:00-7:30 PM Lecture and Discussion

7:30-7:45 PM Break 

7:45-9:00 PM Lecture and Discussion

9:00-9:15 PM Evaluations and Certificates 

Recommended for

This workshop is for health care professionals, particularly psychologists, counselors, social workers, and therapists who seek knowledge about animal-assisted interventions and the certification process for therapy dogs.


Photo of Dr. Betz King and her dog, a yellow lab named Paisley, wearing a red therapy dog vest.Dr. Betz King is the owner of King & Associates, a clinical practice in Farmington Hills. She served as a member of the MSP faculty from 2008-2018 and as MA Program Coordinator from 2011-2016. This course is based on the presenter’s 13+ years of experience providing animal-assisted therapy and education. Dr. King offered animal-assisted psychotherapy with her yellow Labrador, Paisley, from 2005-2015 and is currently chairing the Emotional Support Animal Position Steering Committee within APA Division 17, Section 13: Human Animal Interaction. She presented at the winter 2019 International Forum of Applied Animal Behaviorists and will present at both the APA National Convention and the International Society of Anthrozoology this summer. Dr. King is also a member of the Animal Assisted Therapy Competencies Committee within APA Division 17, Section 13: Human Animal Interaction.

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