therapy dog prepPerhaps you’ve heard about dogs who bring comfort to people in hospitals and nursing homes, or dogs that visit schools where they listen nonjudgmentally to young students reading to them. These are “Therapy Dogs,” and they are in great demand! Not to be confused with “Service” or “Assistance” Dogs, who are trained to aid their owners navigate daily life’s obstacles, Therapy Dogs are trained to give aid to others, by making visits to them when they are in need.

So, do you think your dog would make a wonderful Therapy Dog? The process is not long and arduous, and the rewards are overwhelming! Although taking a special class is not required before you and your dog take the Therapy Dogs International test, many owners like the preparation our mini-class offers, and many dogs benefit from being in a familiar setting when they are being evaluated.

Click here  for a list of the individual test items covered in the TDI evaluation.

The Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test can be administered at the same time as the TDI test; the TDI evaluator just needs a separate fee and paperwork for this test.  You may choose to test for either one or both certifications, as long as you have pre-registered.  Information will always appear on the Home Page, under “Upcoming Events.”  Click here for more information on Canine Good Citizen. (Note: we will soon be offering the next level of the Canine Good Citizen designation, which evaluates the dog’s behavior out in the community.)  

Marian Manor’s resident Therapy Dog, Gilbert, sleeps comfortably with Mr. Joseph Smith, who has reached down to grasp his paw. This 108-year-old gentleman had recently become totally unresponsive to humans, and he passed away the following morning. But his family found great peace and comfort, knowing how he spent his last night.

There are several certified TDI evaluators in the Hampton Roads area, and Playful Pups Training has one of them—Jean Nohle, owner of Perfect Paws Pet Training—comes to the training center at 404 Investors Place, suite 103, Virginia Beach, every two months or so to test prospective therapy dog teams. We schedule our Therapy Dog Prep classes to culminate with the test, typically administered on a Sunday afternoon. And after you and your dog become certified by Therapy Dogs International, we can help you connect with the places best suited to your specific interests and abilities.


TDI and CGC Evaluations last  two hours and are generally held at 1:00 pm on a Sunday. When the date is set, it is posted on the top of the home page, with instructions to register to take either one or both of the tests with Jean Nohle, writing her at jnohle@verizon.net.

The next Therapy Dog/CGC test will be on Sunday, November 7, at 1:00 pm.  Contact Jean Nohle to register: jnohle@verizon.net


Therapy Dog Run-Through:    This class is a simulation of the TDI evaluation; it does not teach the skills needed. (See the Schedule of Upcoming Classes to see when the TDI/CGC Skills classes is being held, since that six-week class is designed to teach the skills needed to make therapy  dog visits.)

This “prep” class provides run-through practice for the test, helping dogs and owners to get used to the format of the test. You certainly may have your dog tested  without taking the class; however, we offer it to help dogs practice the skills  in the place it will be administered. Basic Obedience skills are a pre-requisite, since we will only be practicing skills, not teaching them.  Your dog will review these and other skills: sit on one command, lie down on one command, stay, come when called, refuse offered treats, and remain calm around hospital equipment, strangers, and other dogs.   (90 minutes; 3 weeks, $95)

Be sure to  PRE-REGISTER for the TDI and CGC tests: Pre-registration must be made with the TDI Evaluator, so write directly to Jean Nohle at  jnohle@verizon.net


Here’s a newspaper article about one of our TDI graduates, Frodo!