Ocean County College Offers Pet Therapy Certification Course

Feb 04, 2019

Ocean County College is going to the dogs! OCC’s Department of Continuing and Professional Education, in partnership with Caregiver Canines and Compassionate Canine Training LLC, is once again offering Pet Therapy Preparation and Certification, a hands-on training course for friendly dogs and their owners. Since 2017, 38 dogs have been trained through the program.

Two courses are open for registration this spring; both will be held on Saturdays, Feb. 23 to March 16, from either 9 to 10:30 a.m. or from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Evaluations are to be scheduled for the following week, Saturday, March 23.

“Pet therapy visits enrich lives, encourage personal connections and provide the dogs with an opportunity to use interactive skills that help keep them mentally and physically fit,” the college notes. “In addition to the connection between dog and the client, the handlers often form relationships with the people they visit.”

“Pet Therapy Preparation and Certification” consists of four training classes to prepare both owner and pet to be tested, and hopefully certified, as a therapy dog team on week five. The class helps touch up basic obedience cues and coaches partners to work as a team in the therapy visit environment. (Dogs do not need to be perfectly obedient, but should enjoy new people and have a basis in cues.)

“This certification,” OCC points out, “allows you and your dog to volunteer with Caregiver Canines and perform home visits in the local senior community, as well as independently visit any hospital, assisted living facility, school or business that allows pet therapy visitations.”

Caregiver Canines is a local nonprofit whose mission is to bring joy and companionship to the elderly and homebound by bringing therapy teams directly to them in the comfort of their own homes. Dog trainer Kelly M. Keeney of Compassionate Canine Trailing LCC is a certified professional dog trainer and a certified behavior adjustment training instructor.

To register, call 732-255-0409 or visit ocean.edu/programs-and-courses/register-pay-here. The course fee is $299. —J.K.-H.

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