Southwest Canine Corps of Volunteers (SCCV) offers a comprehensive three-part training program. We provide instruction and supervised practice in the essentials of pet therapy: protect your dog and yourself, protect the people you serve, and make the experience as joyful and beneficial as possible.

Part 1 – Evaluation

All incoming teams must pass an evaluation at which both handler and dog demonstrate good grooming, friendly temperament, and tolerance in close proximity to strangers and other dogs.

Basic obedience is required. The dog must be under the handler’s control at all times and respond immediately to the following commands: heel, sit, down, stay, and come.

Please note: Any display of aggression such as staring at another dog, persistent barking, lunging, or growling at other dogs or people, will result in immediate disqualification.

Click here to read more about the Evaluation & Training process.
Part 2 – Training Classes

After passing evaluation, you and your dog will attend two mandatory training classes, each approximately three hours long, which are held on consecutive Sunday afternoons at two medical facilities.

At these sessions you will have opportunities to visit patients under close supervision. Safety of patients, dogs and handlers is extremely important. You and your dog will be observed carefully during these sessions, and you will be given as much guidance and assistance as you need to assure your visits are safe and successful.

Part 3 – Training Visits

After successfully passing Parts 1 and 2, teams begin a program of five supervised training visits at a variety of local health care facilities. The trainers are there to introduce you to the facilities and help you develop the techniques that will make you a confident and safe pet therapy team.

Upon successful completion of these visits, you and your dog may become registered with SCCV as a pet therapy team. You will receive a Visiting Opportunities List (VOL) of the numerous facilities and opportunities available to SCCV members.

Graduation ceremonies cap off the training, and you and your dog are ready to go visiting on your own!

Questions about the training process can be sent to the Vice President of Training.

“I was nervous at first, but it was clear from the beginning that the training committee wanted me to succeed. The classes were tough, but probably the best training my dog and I have been through.”

– Ethan Rule, member