Therapy Dog Prep School has returned to our Training Center!

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CLICK for the list of open Prep School sessions.
PLEASE NOTE: This is a PREP CLASS ONLY—Pawsitive Teams does NOT include certification as part of the class.

We run our very popular, fun Therapy Dog Prep School four times a year. Each of the four sessions is made up of a series of six classes that includes activities to prepare both you and your dog for involvement as a therapy dog team. You also have the option of registering without a dog if you’d like to audit. Our Prep School is not designed to certify teams but rather to give both handler and dog the tools to become an effective therapy team and to be better prepared for tests conducted by the various programs. We spend time in each class to help you identify the best therapy program for your needs and interests, then we guide you through the process.

All dogs attending Prep School must receive the vaccines listed below. Proof of vaccination must be submitted no more than thirty days prior to the first class.

DHPP (Distemper/Hepatitis/Parainfluenza/Parvo)
Influenza Combo & Leptospirosis (strongly encouraged]

  • Instruction and practice with successful therapy dog commands and behaviors
  • Discussion and practice of techniques for effective interaction between therapy dog and clients
  • Discussion and practice in developing better observation skills to identify signs of stress in dogs
  • Assistance in helping students identify the most appropriate therapy dog programs
  • Role-playing opportunities with a variety of typical therapy dog settings
  • A field trip to an Assisted Living Facility during the 5th class to practice tools taught in the course
  • Two classes are video taped and students are given an opportunity to study videos at home for discussion in class
  • Various teaching videos are provided to students to supplement class exercises

COVID Update

Due to COVID requirements, our instructors have overhauled the Prep School curriculum. PLEASE NOTE:

  1. Beginning in July 2021, we plan to move back to a full class, limited to twelve registered students. Our classes fill quickly so if you’re available for an earlier session than the one you register for, be sure to check the Wait List box.
  2. Depending on federal, state and local COVID guidance and upon the final number of students enrolled, we may need to split a session into two nights but we’ll coordinate with you well in advance.
  3. Prior to the first class, we require that all students take an online course called “Staying Safe at the Training Center.”
  4. IF YOU TRAVEL OUTSIDE OF CALIFORNIA for business or pleasure, we currently require that you not enter the Training Center for 14 days after you return to San Diego—please check your travel plans before registering for a Prep School session to be sure there aren’t any conflicts.
  5. Ordinarily, our fifth class meeting is to an off-site facility for some real dog therapy experience, and we hope to begin that again in our April 2021 session. However, students should note that many facilities have suspended their visiting programs until further notice. If we can’t arrange this off-site visit during your session, you’ll be on our list to contact for a visit once restrictions are lifted.
  6. We assign required homework each week which usually involves watching dog therapy videos we created. These videos are posted on a private YouTube channel and will help you in your training journey.


Tuesday nights from 7:00-8:30 p.m. for six consecutive weekly meetings. Classes are held at our Training Center in the Miramar area except for the 5th class which will be an offsite outing. For the outing class, students will be given the choice of participating on either the Tuesday or the Saturday of that week.

Our Training Center in the Miramar area between I-805 and I-15, one mile north of Miramar Road.

Class size is limited so early registration is recommended. All registrations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Payment is required in full at registration. $180 for a six-week session with a dog. $80 for a six-week session without a dog (auditing the class).

Dogs must be at least 18 months of age at start of class. We have found in the past that the less mature dogs aren’t able to settle well during lectures.

All dogs are required to have had a minimum of one previous dog training class such as Basic Obedience or Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Training. A certificate showing the dog has passed the CGC test is also acceptable. Puppy socialization classes do not count towards this basic obedience requirement.

Students will be required to submit the following dog vaccine records during the registration process:

DHPP (Distemper/Hepatitis/Parainfluenza/Parvo)

Influenza Combo

All fees will be used to subsidize the mission of Pawsitive Teams. Instructors are experienced therapy dog handlers and volunteer their time with Pawsitive Teams to teach this class.

Some students prefer to attend the class without a dog as there are a lot of benefits to observing other students without having to handle a dog.

Full Fee (one dog per handler) $180
Audit Course (without a dog) $80


During the online registration process, you’ll be able to indicate if you would like to be placed on the wait list for an earlier class. Space in each Prep School session is reserved on first-come-first-served basis, based on registration completion.

Completion of this class will not include certification as a therapy dog. This is a Prep Class designed to get you ready for certification and to give you additional information about the various programs in the San Diego area that do certify for therapy dog volunteering.