Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) Training Program

When companion animals visit public facilities like hospitals and libraries, they bring with them unconditional love and proven psychological and medical benefits. OHS offers an extensive training program that prepares individuals and their animals to become registered AAT teams with the national organization Pet Partners.

Please note: this program is not service dog training.
Service dogs are trained to perform tasks for one person with a specific disability. For information about service dogs, visit Canine Companions for Independence or Assistance Dogs International.

Become a Pet Partners Team with your Pet

  1. Make sure the program is a good fit.
  2. Complete the Pet Partners Handler’s Course (in person or online). OHS offers the Pet Partners all-day, in person, handler course and additional dog training classes to help you prepare for the Pet Partners Team Evaluation. View upcoming training opportunities »
  3. Take your pet to the vet. Animals need to be healthy and up-to-date on vaccinations.
  4. Pass the Team Evaluation. The team evaluation is a mock therapy animal visit conducted by one of our Pet Partners evaluators.
  5. Register with Pet Partners and start visiting with your pet!

Start your Training at OHS

Join us to learn the skills you need to provide caring, safe and professional visits with your pet!

Directions to the OHS facility in NE Portland here »

Program Requirements

  • Your pet must be at least one year of age at the time of your evaluation.
  • You must have owned your pet for at least six months.
  • Pets should have no history of aggression towards people or other companion animals.
  • Dogs should know basic cues – like sit, down, stay, come, leave it – and be able to walk on a loose leash.
  • Review additional Pet Partners program requirements.

Upcoming Training and Evaluation Opportunities

Pet Partners Handler’s Course – $130

Sunday, April 5, 2020, 10 am – 5:30 pm Sign up now!

The Pet Partners Handler’s Course offers extensive instruction about the practice of animal-assisted therapy and how to successfully volunteer in a variety of settings. Your fee includes the Pet Partners Training Manual. This class is for people only, please leave your pets at home.

Therapy Dog Training Class (optional) – $115

Sundays, April 12 – May 3, 2020, 11 am – 12 pm Sign up now!

This optional class is for those who would like hands-on training with their dog prior to taking the Pet Partners Team Evaluation. You and your dog will work on the skills you need to be a successful therapy team. One class will involve a trip to the Portland International Airport for guided practice in the real world. Learn more. »

One-on-One Training Sessions (optional) – $40

Book an appointment »

Did you take the Pet Partner’s Handler’s Course but feel like you need extra coaching before evaluating? Schedule a one-on-one training session with us and we’ll help you prepare. This is also a great option for people who are renewing their registration. We cannot do a “mock” evaluation with you, so please pick two or three exercises to focus on during your session. Sessions are 30 minutes.

Pet Partners Team Evaluation – $35

Sunday, April 12, 2020 Sold out. Get on our waitlist!
Saturday, May 16, 2020 Sold out. Get on our waitlist!
Sunday, June 21, 2020 Registration will open late March.

You and your pet need to pass the Team Evaluation in order to complete your registration with Pet Partners. To be eligible to evaluate, you must have a certificate of completion from the Pet Partners Handler’s Course.

More Information

Interested in being notified when our next class or evaluation is scheduled? Let us know!

Proceeds from registration fees support the animals and programs at OHS. Thank you!