Interested in Becoming a WOOF Therapy Dogs Team Member?
Dogs can complete training in a formal/class setting, or experienced handlers can conduct all necessary skills training on their own. Dogs must have mastered basic skills and manners, as well as have an appropriate temperament for therapy work. For example, a good therapy dog must be very responsive to the handler’s guidance, remain calm in a variety of situations, enjoy meeting new people and show an interest in interaction.
Handlers also need to have the appropriate skills and temperament. For example, a good handler must maintain control of their dog at all times, have a caring compassionate heart, and work well with people of all backgrounds and abilities. Visits may include everything from libraries or schools, to senior living or Alzheimer’s units, so handler’s, too, must be comfortable and kind in a variety of situations.
What constitutes a Member in Good Standing?
Members must acquire a Therapy Dog Certification from a nationally recognized organization. There are several routes to achieve this, but we recommend Alliance of Therapy Dogs. You will be required to provide to WOOF your proof of certification, as well as a yearly renewal. For more information, visit our Resources page.
Actively Attend Visits
Members are required to attend a minimum of 4 WOOF visits per calendar year. Please note, ATD requires a minimum of 1 visit every 3 months (4 annually), so this guideline also helps teams remain in compliance with ATD. Many of our events do take place during working hours, because this is when businesses are available. However, we do schedule occasional evening and weekend events.
Most information related to WOOF is communicated via email, and member interaction and responsiveness is crucial to our success. Events are scheduled through SignUp Genius, and an RSVP is required.
WOOF is a not-for-profit organization. We issue a small yearly fee of $20 per member. This nominal amount helps us pay for items such as parade entry fees, website and other administrative costs.
Still thinking about it?
Below is a brief outline of our process of welcoming new teams. WOOF provides this valued opportunity to determine if our style of visits is a good fit for you and your dog, and to check compatibility with our existing Teams. In addition, we provide detailed communications regarding the general operations of WOOF, as well as guidelines and expectations. Please note, we conduct all visits as a group, so your dog must not display reactivity or excessive excitement in a group setting.
New teams must have a national therapy dog certification. Most of our members are certified through Alliance of Therapy Dogs.
Handlers will attend 1 pre-approved, supervised WOOF event of our choosing – without their dog – to shadow a WOOF member and learn about our process and expectations.
After that, the team – handler and dog – will attend 1 pre-approved, supervised WOOF event of our choosing. The new team, and an existing WOOF member will meet about 30 minutes prior to the event so that we may get to know your dog and answer any additional questions.
Membership is granted upon approval.