7-29-14 - Lake Highlands - Chili, a classic black lab, is a registered therapy dog and visits patients, along with her owner, Barbara Sanders, at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.

New for 2016 – Canine Body Language Course Available Online for your Convenience

If you’ve ever wanted to gain a deeper understanding of the signs and signals they display, the new Pet Partners Canine Body Language online course is a great way to get started.

Taking around an hour and a half to complete, this class is designed to promote safe therapy animal visits through increased awareness of dog body language. It also covers specific strategies handlers can employ to support their animal and reduce anxiety or fear.

Content is appropriate for teams pursuing therapy animal registration as well as experienced teams looking to hone their skills. Additionally, facility or program staff who interact with therapy animals regularly might also benefit from familiarizing themselves with canine body language.

The course was also designed to meet one of the requirements as published by The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America’s Animals in Healthcare Facilities: Recommendations to Minimize Potential Risks, published in 2015.

There are 6 interactive modules that explain how to understand your dogs’ level of comfort with practical examples and scenarios that you may experience on therapy visits. There is also an assessment at the end that will help you interpret the material in a practical way.

To access the course visit the volunteer center and create an account or login to an existing account. The course is available at a discounted rate of $20 for current Pet Partner volunteers and $45 for the general public.

Pet Partners is committed to providing ongoing continued education to benefit teams and the public where applicable.

“Learning to observe one’s therapy partner at all times is critical to prevent unwanted outcomes for the animals as well as for the people one is serving. In addition, it helps to gauge the level of fatigue or stress and to ensure that therapy partners are enjoying the experience.

Their welfare is paramount! This online course covers the basics of understanding body language in dogs in a very user-friendly manner, with much solid information and many good illustrations. The course also highlights how to handle various situations when dogs are becoming stressed, which is essential. The format is easy to use, and the course will be of great value for all Pet Partners teams!”

Risë VanFleet, PhD, CDBC

Author, the award-winning Play Therapy with Kids & Canines President, International Institute for Animal Assisted Play Therapy