Certify Your Own Dog Program

Everyone at Companion Paws is a dog lover. We take great care to only qualify dogs who enjoy interacting with complete strangers. For the partnership to be successful, it has to work for both the pet and owner. Through our Companion Paws program process, we assess and test 3 types of Animal Assisted Therapy Dogs: Personal, Assisted and Visiting.

Personal Therapy Dog: A personal therapy dog is a trained, evaluated and certified dog that brings positive mental health benefits to their owners. Therapy Dogs are especially beneficial to those that struggle with mental wellness. For personal therapy dog certification, one must have a letter from their current mental health professional.

Assisted Therapy Dog: Assisted Therapy Dogs work with their owner, typically: educators, teachers, psychologists, counsellors and doctors. A calm well behaved and loving dog at their workplace can bring great benefit to their students, clients, customers and patients.

Visiting Therapy Dog: Typically, Visiting Therapy Dogs visit hospitals, schools, hospices and nursing homes, to name just a few. Unlike service dogs, therapy dogs are encouraged to interact with a variety of people while they are on-duty. Visiting Therapy dogs may also visit schools, daycares, group homes and rehabilitation centers. Their roles vary from: dogs who give learning-disabled children the confidence to read out loud, to actively participating in physical rehabilitation therapy.

Please note Companion Paws Certified dogs are designated therapy dogs and are not certified as service dogs.
For more information on the difference between therapy dogs, service dogs, and guide dogs click here.


  • Calm and gentle temperament
  • Very well trained. Obedience, manners and socialization training.
  • Very friendly.
  • Great with people of all ages and not aggressive to people or other dogs.
  • Dogs are expected to be clean and healthy with up to date vaccinations.
  • Spayed/neutered
  • Minimum age of dog is 1.5 years old. There is no age limit on dogs.

To qualify as a therapy dog, the dog must have up to date medical health records letter from his or her veterinarian, current dog license and must have no aggression towards people or other dogs (including un-neutered male dogs).

Companion Paws Certification Process

To determine if you and your pet are suitable candidates to receive the Companion Paws certification there is a four-part process. Please see our FAQ for other important information.

  1. First Temperament Assessment
    This is the first requirement to assess the suitability of your dog as a therapy dog with Companion Paws Canada. Health records and vaccinations must be up to date prior to the First Temperament Assessment. The purpose of this 30-minute temperament assessment is to establish that the dog is not a safety risk and that both dog and handler are suitable for their respective designations. To register, please click on the following link First Temperament Assessment.
  2. CPC Therapy Dog Skills Training Online Course
    This includes, reading material, 23 Online skills training videos for evaluation preparation and a short quiz.
  3. A Second Temperament Assessment
    To again confirm suitability as a therapy dog for your requested designation(s) of Personal, Assisted or Visiting therapy.
  4. Final Evaluation
    The evaluation is divided into two stages and has 17 individual tests and additional exercises within each test.

Upon successfully completing TLC’s Companion Paws Final Evaluation, you will be emailed registration documents to be completed and returned with any required supporting documentation. The new certified team will then receive a Companion Paws Canada Therapy Dog Bandana, Identification Card and Certificate of Registration. Companion Paws supplies Letters of Certification upon request.

Owners are required to renew their Companion Paws Certification, complete a form and re-evaluate annually to continue to be certified by Companion Paws Canada. The annual renewal fee includes the required annual re-evaluation.

Please click here for a list of cities where testing is performed.

Please see our FAQs for other important information, including costs, program process, timelines and next steps.