The Good Dog Difference

Good Dog recognizes the importance of certifying therapy dog teams, rather than simply registering them. Good Dog teams are certified and there is an important difference between registration and certification, despite the terms sometimes being used interchangeably. Certification implies that the organization has participated in the handler's and the animal's training. Whereas registration requires a one-time screening, a registration organization does not certify that the team is trained to a certain level. Instead, the team is registered as having met minimum requirements.

Good Dog is the only organization in New York City that offers true therapy team certifications. Good Dog fully participates in its teams’ therapy training and certifies that each of its teams is professionally trained to a specific high standard. Our therapy dog-handler teams undergo up to eleven weeks (with a minimum of five weeks) of our one-of-a-kind and copyrighted training program so that our highly-skilled, professional trainers may evaluate teams in a variety of settings throughout the training program. A one-time evaluation, which cannot grant a true certification status, is not in the best interest of the patients and clients served by therapy dogs. It is Good Dog’s philosophy that it trains and serves teams, not just dogs, and that a true relationship with a therapy team must be established and continually evaluated.

Once teams become certified Good Dog teams, they have the full support of Good Dog trainers and staff who coordinate therapy dog visits and maintain constant communication with its teams. To ensure that only teams who continue to meet Good Dog’s high standards are able to continue visiting people in need on official Good Dog visits, all teams are required to go through a full re-certification process every year.  Because Good Dog can stand behind its teams with full certification backing, it offers not only general liability insurance for the organization, but also volunteers are covered under a separate volunteer liability insurance policy while on official, pre-approved Good Dog visits. Good Dog never requires animal-assisted therapy exclusivity from any of its facilities as it believes that there is no shortage of people in need of the love and healing of therapy dogs.


The Good Dog Foundation:

  • Invests in its handlers and therapy animals by fully certifying its teams after they receive extensive copyrighted therapy training from Good Dog trainers;
  • Commits to the growth and development of therapy teams by providing ongoing feedback from trainers and re-certifying teams annually;
  • Provides access and coordinates visits to nearly 320 partner facilities, while under Good Dog supervision;
  • Never requires therapy dog exclusivity from partner facilities as there are always people that need the love of a therapy dog;
  • Places handler and therapy dog teams in facilities that cater to teams’ strengths and abilities;
  • Offers specialty programs in disability assistance, disaster relief and anti-bullying;
  • Advances research and promotes awareness about the benefits of the human-animal bond;
  • Hosts support groups and networking events for teams to share their knowledge and experiences;
  • Employs staff devoted to volunteer support; and
  • Boasts the resources of the largest certifying animal-assisted therapy organization on the East coast of the United States.