FAQ's About Therapy Dogs

Does my dog have to be a certain age?
Yes, your dog must be between 1 & 10 years of age to begin class.

Are any breeds preferred? Large or small?
No, we have large breeds and small breeds and dogs of mixed heritage, males & females in our Therapy Dog Program.

Does my dog need to have a certain level of training to be evaluated?
Yes, your dog needs to have basic obedience skills. In addition to basic obedience skills, each dog will complete a temperament evaluation before starting class.

Will my dog need special care to go into the hospitals or schools?
Yes, you will need to show proof of a yearly well-dog exam and the required vaccinations.

What grooming is required?
Each dog is bathed 24-48hrs. before a visit. An appropriate shampoo is used based on the facility. Nails are filed short & smooth. Ears are cleaned. The coat is brushed, removing as much excess hair as possible.

When are the classes?
We have two sessions, each 16 weeks in length. Our winter class is in the evenings, starts in January and runs into May. Our Fall class is during the day, starts in August and ends in December. Depending on interest, we *MAY* hold an additional daytime class starting in January.

How many weeks of training & training for what?
The C.H.A.M.P.ion Therapy Class is 16 wks. in length, 40hrs. of class work. Teams, a handler & animal, learn to work together in a variety of situations using medical & adaptive equipment. On successful completion of the therapy course, teams are certified to make visits to rehabilitation hospitals, general medical centers, elder care, childrens’ facilities, schools, and to assist in training our applicants who are waiting for their service dogs.

How do the dogs help once they are visiting?
CHAMP Therapy Dogs have been providing AAT (Animal Assisted Therapy) for 10 years to childrens’ hospitals & facilities and to rehabilitation centers. Using our dogs, we work 1 on 1 with Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapists to reach their goals for individual patients.
The teams also provide AAA (Animal Assisted Activities) services to elder care, hospitals, and childrens’ hospitals. These visits boost morale, stimulate conversation, & generally brighten the day of patients and staff alike.

How large are the classes & where are the dogs trained?
Our classes are held in Florissant, MO. We try to keep the class size small, between 8 - 10 dogs and 3 instructors, to give individual attention.

Does my dog need special skills to work with children? adults?
CHAMP, Inc. does not rank dogs differently. Each handler observes teams at work at rehab centers, hospitals, elder care, at schools, and during visits w/our applicants, students, or graduates. The handler then has a clearer understanding of what the various visits require from a team and can make an educated decision about the best fit for themselves and their dog.

Where will I visit with my dog?
Currently, the C.H.A.M.P.ion Therapy Program visits 35 sites in the St. Louis metro area, serving children & adults, providing Animal Assisted Activities and Animal Assisted Therapy to approximately 850 monthly.

What is the cost?
$150, which includes 16 weeks (40 hours) of classroom instruction, handbook, and a CHAMP logo T-shirt. At the successful completion of therapy class, you will need to purchase a CHAMP therapy dog vest that will identify your dog during visits. The vests run approximately $25.

How do I apply?
Contact Us or call the CHAMP, Inc. office at (314) 653-9466 to set up an appointment to have your dog evaluated.