Therapy Dog Training

This class helps prepare dogs and their owners for therapy dog certification and visits. Dogs are introduced to visit skills and owners are taught how to handle potential problems. Dogs must be friendly towards people, have excellent obedience skills, and be under the owner’s control around people and other dogs. A brief obedience evaluation will be done at the first class meeting. No aggression is acceptable.

Instructors for this class will include:

  • Liz Palika, the founder of Love on a Leash, with decades of experience in therapy work. Liz was awarded the North County Woman of Merit for her founding of Love on a Leash. Liz has had 12 dogs certified with Love on a Leash as well as one cat, and is now training her 13th dog for therapy work. Liz is also the author of the award winning book, “Love on a Leash, a Guide to Pet Therapy.”
  • Petra Burke, an original member of Love on a Leash. With her dog Shasta, Petra was member number 1. Petra has given many talks about Love on a Leash and represented Love on a Leash for a San Diego Channel 8 news broadcast.
  • Kate Abbott, a former President of the national board of Love on a Leash, a former Love on a Leash Chapter President, and current member of Love on a Leash with over 12 years of experience.
  • Additional Kindred Spirits trainers who are either now or have been Love on a Leash members in the past.

The next class will be on Saturdays at 3:00 pm from September 22 – October 20

This course is five weeks in length, one hour per week, and is $100.


Class size is limited, so to reserve a spot, email

Registration will be done at the first class meeting, after an evaluation of basic obedience skills.

If you would like to be notified when the next class is upcoming, submit your information using the “Interested?” tab below.


Therapy training is a great thing you and your dog can do together, it's fun, happy, and brings joy to everyone. Professional trainers teaching affordable group classes.

If you would like to take the Love on a Leash Obedience/control evaluation without taking the therapy dog class, please go to the Love on a Leash website, study the evaluation, then email Kindred Spirits or call 760-630-4824 to schedule the test. Cost is $15.

Classes include training for dogs to become therapy pets, giving love to others, visiting facilities, and being well behaved and focused around distractions.

Therapy dog work is very rewarding. You and your dog can share with others the joy that only a dog can bring. Therapy dog teams visit hospitals, nursing homes, schools, libraries, rehabilitation facilities—really anyplace where you and your dog can bring a smile to someone’s face.

  • If you and your dog enjoy meeting people
  • If your dog has excellent basic obedience skills

Then this class will help prepare you and your dog for therapy dog visits and certification. Visit skills will be taught as well as how to handle potential problem situations. Dogs must be friendly towards people, have excellent obedience skills, and must be under the owner’s control around people and other dogs. No aggression is acceptable.

Topics covered in therapy class include:

Basic obedience review of sit, down, stay, heel, come

Introduction to medical equipment

Say hi

Leave it


Paws up

Hide your head

Back up

Dealing with leash and body grabbers

Distractions and fear

Practical use of down and stay

Wheelchair and hospital bed etiquette

Suggested visit bag items

Visit manners

At the end of this class, we do evaluations using the Love on a Leash control evaluation. The skills in this class are applicable to all therapy dog visiting, not specific to any group.

  • Is the dog able to do a sit, lie down, heel with people close by, and come when called while on a leash?
  • Is the dog able to do a two minute down or sit/stay with the handler holding the leash?
  • Is the handler able to greet a friendly stranger who has a dog? Is the handler able to maintain control without the dog being aggressive or over stimulated?
  • Does the dog allow petting including having its head, ears, feet and tail touched?
  • Is the dog clean and well groomed?
  • Is the dog under control with people around and able walk on a loose leash without pulling?
  • Is the dog able to maintain composure when a stranger approaches in an erratic manner?
  • Is mouthing, biting, dodging or aggression apparent?
  • Does the dog show signs of fear, sound sensitivity or shyness?
  • Does the dog or handler appear to have any training difficulties or behavior problems that might interfere with its ability to work as a therapy team?

This class will be scheduled in response to student interest. We will contact you when we have enough students on the sign up list to comprise a class.

Your Name

Your Email

Your Dog's Name

Which Class are you interested in?

Are you interested in attending with a dog that's been through one of our basic classes?

When would be best for you? Mark any days and times you'd be willing to attend. We'll schedule classes as best we can for everyone.
Weekday eveningsSaturdays at 8amSaturdays late afternoon