Training and Certification

Training Classes

Training is offered by invitation only.  We will contact you directly once we have received your completed application, you have paid the required fees, and all of your paperwork has been checked.  You will then be put on our waitlist for a place in a training class.  We will notify you when a spot has opened up for you to start training.  Applicants who already have their Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Title are required to attend and pay for all training classes.  They will not be required to re-take the CGC test at the end of the class, provided they have submitted proof of CGC Title from the American Kennel Club (AKC).  If you would like to look into getting your CGC while you are waiting for a training class, please go to the AKC Canine Good Citizen website for more information.

Part of training will be evaluating if the team (human and pet) is suited for pet therapy work and preparing them to do this work with additional instruction.  In addition, CGC skills will be taught or refreshed, as each individual team requires.  At the end of the class, those teams who do not have their CGC already will have the opportunity to test with our evaluator and if successful, earn their AKC CGC Title.  Paperwork must be sent to the AKC for certification.  Payment for CGC testing is made directly to the evaluator at the time of testing and details will be given on how to complete the process and payment to the AKC.

If a primary and secondary handler have signed up, they must BOTH show up to all training classes and testing.  Youth (under 18 years of age) handlers are limited in the facilities they are allowed to visit and must always be accompanied at all times by a parent, both in class and on visits.

Animals must never show aggression to humans or to other animals.  All animals are screened during training.  The handler and pet will be evaluated together.  Some pets will not have the temperament appropriate for pet therapy.  Human team members must understand and comply with Faithful Paws procedures and policies when representing Faithful Paws on visits.

We do not use reptiles or exotic animals.  Dogs must pass the CGC test and/or Temperament test. These tests are authorized and administered through the AKC.  Cats and rabbits must pass Temperament testing.  Pets must stay current on all vaccinations.  Some of our members have more than one certified pet.  Only a few facilities will allow us to bring more than one certified pet per handler.  The limit is two pets per handler at these few facilities.


  • Dogs must pass the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Test and/or a Temperament test to be certified.
  • Cats and rabbits  must pass a Temperament test to be certified.

The following 10 basic items make up the CGC test and will be practiced during our classes:

  1. Greets a friendly stranger
  2. Sits politely for petting
  3. Welcomes being groomed, brushed; allows paws, tail and ears to be handled
  4. Walks as directed on a loose leash
  5. Moves politely through a crowd
  6. Sits, lies down, and stays in place on command
  7. Comes when called
  8. Behaves politely around other dogs
  9. Reacts with confidence to distractions
  10. Can be left with a trusted person (3 minutes)

Usual obedience commands that dogs will be expected to obey:

  • “Heel” “Sit” “Down” “Stay” “Come”
  • Two additional commands we teach and use: “Watch Me” “Leave It”

When members are cleared to start volunteering:
Once you have received your membership approval certification, you are cleared to start visiting and will receive an email with all pertinent information.