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Therapy dogs and community assistance dogs

Welcome to our therapy dog and community assistance dog program. This is a truly unique program for allied health and educational professionals to train their own dog to work within their workplace with clients/learners. Unlike most programs, our dogs are trained in specialist canine assisted activities for engagement with clients rather than the dog being just stroked or read to. 

Our therapy & community assistance dog program has three parts:

1) The Bronze award

This is the pre-requisite to formally starting the therapy dog/ community assistance dog training and must be completed by all prospective therapy dogs or community assistance dogs. This covers:

  • Teaching basic obedience behaviours.
  • Stopping any mild undesirable behaviours currently present (such as jumping up at people).
  • Concept training to promote your dog developing into a well emotionally regulated, calm & confident pup who is developing impulse control. 
  • Bronze therapy dog theory program covering reading and responding to your dogs emotions, welfare and more which includes VLE resource and flexible assignments to complete.
At bronze award level your dog cannot go to the workplace. 

2) The silver award

The silver award focuses on guiding your dog from well behaved pet dog to a therapy dog. This award level covers:

  • Therapy dog handler preparation training - covering the main things you need to consider when introducing your dog as a therapy dog to the organisation such as risk assessing, consent & inform, preparing your environment and much more. This section includes a variety of assignments all of which will be practically needed anyway for your dog to be a therapy dog.
  • Therapy dog & handler practical CAA training - teaching you and your dog how to run specific canine assisted activities - to pass this level the therapy dog partnership must collectively demonstrate being able to run a minimum of six of our canine assisted activities.

Once the silver award has been passed the partnership will be a fully trained Pawsitive Squad therapy dog partnership.

3) The gold award

The gold award is for therapy dog partnerships that wish to progress onto community assistance dog status in which the dog will be trained to do tasks which help mitigate the impact clients disabilities have while accessing the organisation, including when accessing public environments & businesses (such as shops & cafe's where pet dogs are not permitted) with their consent. 

The gold award includes:

  • Group zoom classes & video training teaching assistive tasks which will support your clients.
  • Obedience and public access training.
  • Self guided virtual learning program with flexible assignments.

For the gold award, a face to face assessment in person in Nottingham is mandatory. Once the gold award has been passed the partnership will be a fully trained Pawsitive Squad community assistance dog partnership.


Dog criteria:

Your dog must NOT:

  • Bark at other dogs or people when on lead.
  • Still be having toiletting accidents within the home.
  • Show any aggression.
  • Have any severe anxiety/fear issues.
  • Display 'repetitive stereotypic behaviours such as spinning, compulsive licking etc. 
  • Be raw fed.
  • Be a bradychephalic breed (have a very short nose which could impact on dogs breathing & increase risk of heart conditions - this includes pedigree pugs, French bulldogs, Shar Pei, shih tzu's etc) We do allow crossbreeds where a longer nosed breed has been bred with the bradychephalic dog to increase nose length. 
  • Be used in association with any other organisation or role (except of course where the dog will be working as a Pawsitive Squad therapy or community assistance dog).

Your dog must:

  • Be fully vaccinated (except kennel cough if wanting to train for scent based tasks)
  • Be flea & wormed with a product recommended by your vet. 
  • Have insurance also covering public liability. Once you've passed the bronze award and are on the therapy & community assistance dog program this insurance must specifically cover your dog as a therapy dog (which pet dog insurance will not! Your business or professional insurance may be able to cover this).

Professional & organisation eligibility:

  • The handler or wider organisation cannot use applied behaviour analysis (ABA therapy) including in lesser forms like PBS. 
  • Must use neurodiversity affirming practices. 
  • This program is open to OT's, physio therapists and speech and language therapists or education professionals who work in person with young people with additional needs (this can include social deprivation, health and disability, social, emotional needs) and either as 1:1 or small groups up to 15 people at a time. 


This program fees are on a sliding scale depending on structure & size of organisation. 

Therapy dog program costs (dog trained to silver award level):

  • Small non-profit package (10 employees or less) costs £250 
  • Small, for profit (10 employees or less) OR medium non profits (11-50 employees) costs £400
  • Large organisations (11+ employees for profit or 51+ employees for non-profits) costs £750
  • Non-profit schools cost £875
  • Independent schools costs £1250

Community assistance dog program costs (dog trained to gold award level):

  • Small non-profit package (10 employees or less) costs: £450 
  • Small, for profit (10 employees or less) OR medium non profits (11-50 employees) costs £700
  • Large organisations (11+ employees for profit or 51+ employees for non-profits) costs £1200
  • Non profit schools: £1100
  • Independent school costs: £1750

Fees include the therapy & community assistance dog program including group zoom classes & self guided VLE training resources, assessments,  resource templates, 3 monthly 1:1 session, dogs uniform.

The fees do not include the cost of resources for canine assisted activities (though you're likely to already own many  or be able to purchase at a low cost) and optional hire of Pawsitive squad branded equipment such as settle mats, handler uniform etc.  

Important note on financial terms:

Part of the written agreement between ourselves and therapy dog/community assistance dog clients is that you will not charge an additional fee for the therapy dog engaging with any specific session (e.g you can't say an OT session is £45 per hour standard but £55 per hour if the therapy dog is present). You can however of course increase your fees overall to accommodate the additional costs of having a therapy dog.

Application Process

Step 2: Once you've completed & signed your proposal, please submit a copy of your proposal via drop box at:


Step 3: We will review your application & notify you of the outcome via email. If you haven't heard from us after 2 weeks please do email us at enquiries@pawsitivesquad.co.uk. 

©copyright 2018-2022 Pawsitive Squad CIC.

All rights Reserved.

Pawsitive Squad is a registered community interest company (non profit organisation) number 1145 1119 (England and Wales)


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