Therapy and Service Dog Team Skills Certificate Click here to request more info

Program Contacts

Quick Facts

About the Therapy and Service Dog Team Skills Certificate

The Therapy and Service Dog Team Skills Certificate provides the student and canine with skills required for therapy dog team work and the canine behavior foundation skills for the student/canine team to continue on with advanced service dog training from third party providers.  The student/canine team will also gain the skills needed to take the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test and the therapy dog evaluation exam offered by evaluators from three national therapy dog organizations.


This certificate is not eligible for Federal Financial Aid. To explore other financial aid opportunities, please visit the YC Answer Center.

Program Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the Therapy and Service Dog Team Skills Certificate program, the learner will be able to:

  1. Apply positive canine training and handling skills. (AGS 190, AGS 192, AGS 195)
  2. Explain canine behavior and psychology and apply it to training and to reading a dog's body presentation. (AGS 190, AGS 192, AGS 195)
  3. Articulate and use canine training concepts and skills in working with service and therapy dogs. (AGS 195)
  4. Apply communication skills with the general public. (AGS 195)
  5. Use canine handling skills in diverse public environments and with distractions. (AGS 190, AGS 192, AGS 195)

Program-Specific Requirements

Course Course Title Hours
AGS190 Canine Behavior and Psych I

AGS 190. Canine Behavior and Psychology I (3). Introduction to canine behavior in human society. Includes positive reinforcement training techniques, methods of affecting positive outcomes and compatible lifestyles between humans and canines, and an introduction to puppy development, dog breeds and canine body and behavioral language. Three lecture.

1. Canine senses and behavior
2. Positive reinforcement training skills
3. Classifications and characteristics of dog breeds
4. Children and dog interactions
5. Canine management and equipment
6. Introduction to canine health care
7. Developmental stages in the life of the puppy and socialization
8. Canine body language

1. Explain the role of canine senses in behavior. (1)
2. Select and apply techniques for behavior modification. (2)
3. Identify major groups of dogs and explain characteristics of each. (3)
4. Identify safety issues between children and dogs. (4)
5. Recognize and determine proper equipment for management of canines. (2,5)
6. Recognize and apply techniques for general health and care of canines. (6)
7. Describe a puppy's learning curve and factors influencing optimum socialization. (7)
8. Identify and interpret significant body postures of dogs. (8)

AGS192 Canine Behavior and Psych II

AGS 192. Canine Behavior and Psychology II (3). Psychology and behavior of canines along with training and observation skills applying positive reinforcement based concepts. Includes types and causes of aggression, complex behavior problems and dealing with fearful or stressed dogs. Emphasis on in-depth observation of canine body postures, communication with humans and human to canine communication. Prerequisite: AGS 190. Three lecture.

1. Play and predatory behavior patterns
2. Types and causes of aggressive behavior
3. Complex behavior problems
4. Dealing with fear in canines
5. Stress in canines
6. Neurobiology of learning in canines
7. Communications between canine and human
8. Advanced handling and training skills

1. Compare play and predatory motor patterns in the context of behavior. (1)
2. Identify the causes of aggressive behavior. (2)
3. Categorize types of aggressive behavior. (2)
4. Analyze and propose solutions to complex behavior issues. (3,8)
5. Develop strategies for changing emotional reactions in fearful dogs. (4,8)
6. Assess stress producing situations and design appropriate modifications. (5,8)
7. Apply contemporary neurobiological research to canine training and behavior modification. (6,8)
8. Use techniques for enhanced communication between human and canine. (2-8)
:9. Develop communication strategies for coaching individuals or groups regarding canine behavior. (7,8)
10. Apply advanced handling skills. (8)

AGS195 Canine Public Skills

AGS 195. Canine Public Skills (2) (Spring). Rules, ethics, laws, and training for dogs and handlers to test for therapy or service dog teams. Student/dog team training in a variety of public environments such as health facilities and businesses. Prerequisite: AGS 192 (may be taken concurrently). One lecture. Two Lab.

1. Basic canine training skills
2. Canine handling skills
3. Canine behavior expectations in health facilities and other businesses
4. Canine-to-canine greetings
5. Canine-to-human greetings
6. Communication in public while handling a dog
7. Traveling, camping, hiking and dog sports
8. Therapy, service and assistance dogs
9. Laws and ethics regarding assistance, service and therapy dogs

1. Apply basic canine training behavior skills. (1)
2. Use dog handling skills in public environments. (2-5)
3. Apply proper dog handling skills in health facilities and other businesses. (2,3)
4. Recognize and train proper canine-to-canine greetings. (1,2,4)
5. Recognize and train dogs' polite approaches to humans. (1,2,5)
6. Communicate with people while handling a dog. (2,6)
7. Recognize and train proper canine manners and behaviors for traveling, camping, hiking and dog sport activities. (1,2,7)
8. Discuss the differences between assistance, service and therapy dogs. (8,9)
9. Discuss and evaluate the laws and ethics regarding assistance, service and therapy dogs. (9)


Note:  It is always best to discuss educational and career goals with an academic advisor prior to enrolling in any courses.  Learn more about Academic Advising.