Classes & Events

Service Dog &
Therapy Dog Training

WOOF! Wellness Center has developed a program to guide service dog and therapy dog candidates to success. Although service dogs and therapy dogs are quite different in their ultimate goals, the initial training is very similar. In the beginning of the program, they will be working together. As they become proficient in their skills, service dogs and therapy dogs will specialize in training aimed more directly at their individual needs.

Where Is The Class Located?

The program consists of a series of classes, designed to develop a competent team (dog and handler). The initial classes will be held at WOOF! Wellness Center in Santa Clara. As the team progresses, classes will be held in different environments suitable to meet the team’s training needs. 

Where To Start? 

Classes will be taken in order. If a dog has prior training, the handler can ask to be evaluated to start at the Foundation Skills Class level. Some teams may progress from Intermediate 1 to the Advanced Class, while some teams may take intermediate 1 and Intermediate 2 before moving to Advanced.  The professional trainer and handler will make this decision together.

What's Expected?
The Service Dog & Therapy Dog training program is a significant time commitment. There will be some reading and video material provided, (not a lot, but important), that participants are expected to read or watch. Handlers are expected to consistently work with their dogs at home. Short training sessions are best for most dogs/people. No need to do long training sessions at home; several 5 minutes sessions a day are great. At the end of each class, the dog must show progress to move on to the next class. Some dogs may also have occasional private sessions for very specialized tasks (such as diabetic alert dogs or seizure alert dogs).


Program Schedule

*Service/Therapy Dog Level 1 - Basics Manners  

$150 - Jess Sides - Trainer

(see class schedule for times and dates)

The first 6-week class will be an introduction to training methods, basic manners (sit, down, stay, polite greetings, leash manners, leave it).  Puppies are welcome, no prior training required.  

*Service/Therapy Level 2 - Beyond Basics CGC Prep Class

$150 - Jess Sides - Trainer

This class is designed to strengthen what was learned in Basics and help the dog to work reliably with other dogs present. The trainer will start adding distractions, distance and duration to what the dog already knows, as well as adding some new behaviors.

The following classes are tailored to each dog depending on the tasks and skills they need perform for their handler. Pricing will be on an individual basis starting at $500.00 for service dogs.  Identification and harness will be provided.


*Service Level 3 & 4 Intermediate

In this class we will be working on specific behaviors your dog will need in their career. Therapy dog candidates will learn things like positioning themselves on cue for different individuals (for example, next to a wheelchair). Service dog candidates will learn things like positioning themselves to block people from coming too close to handler. These are just examples—what you work on will depend on the needs of the individual teams in the group. There is a possibility that this class will be meeting in other places than Woof.

*Service Advanced

This class will meet in different locations, sometimes in small groups or individually. The purpose is to get the dogs and handlers comfortable in a variety of settings. Therapy dogs need to be confident walking into many different situations—a busy hospital, perhaps the aftermath of a disaster, etc. Service dogs need to be confident going anywhere their human may need them. By now, the team will have specific tasks they have been working on. The goal of the Advanced Class is polishing the team’s ability to perform their tasks reliably in different environments. 

Training a dog, and especially a Service or Therapy Dog, continues throughout the dog’s life. Dogs need to practice what they have learned, and benefit from the mental stimulation of continued training. Our graduates will have the training skills to continue ongoing training for their dogs, and the skill to add new behaviors as they wish. We hope to develop independent training ability in each student, although we will always be available to assist as needed.

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