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AKC Therapy Dog Training and Certification 

Evening Class Call Linda 814-942-8546

Practice and Visitations

Day Class Call Darlene 814-935-3347

AKC Therapy Dog Training and Certification Program

AKC Therapy dogs are purebred and mixed breed dogs who go with their owners to volunteer in settings such as schools, hospitals, and nursing homes. From working with a child who is learning to read to visiting a senior in assisted living, therapy dogs and their owners work together as a team to improve the lives of other people.


The purpose of this program is to recognize AKC dogs and their owners who have given their time and helped people by volunteering as a therapy dog and owner team.

  • The AKC Therapy Dog™ program awards official AKC titles to dogs who have worked to improve the lives of the people they have visited.

  • AKC Therapy Dog titles can be earned by dogs who have been certified by AKC recognized therapy dog organizations and have performed the required number of visits.

  • AKC does not certify therapy dogs; the certification and training are done by qualified therapy dog organizations. The certification organizations are the experts in this area and their efforts should be acknowledged and appreciated.


Therapy dogs are not service dogs. Service dogs are dogs who are specially trained to perform specific tasks to help a person who has a disability.  An example of a service dog is a dog who guides an owner who is blind, or a dog who assists someone who has a physical disability. Service dogs stay with their person and have special access privileges in public places such as on planes, restaurants, etc. Therapy dogs, the dogs who will be earning the AKC Therapy Dog™ title, do not have the same special access as service dogs.

It is unethical to attempt to pass off a therapy dog as a service dog for purposes such as flying on a plane or being admitted to a restaurant.


How to Earn the Title: Qualifications
Types of Therapy and Service Dogs

There are several different kinds of service dogs, including guide dogs, hearing dogs, mobility dogs, seizure alert/response dogs, psychiatric service dogs, and autism dogs. There are also other types of dogs with jobs that help people, including therapy dogs and emotional support animals.  Please see the links below for additional information.


Instructor: Darlene Puhatch of KenDar Alaskan Malamutes

Dalene Puhatch of KenDar Alaskan Malamutes has been competing in AKC and UKC Conformation, Obedience, Rally Obedience,  Drill Team, Therapy Dog training and visitation for over 30 years.  She is a skilled understanding instructor who will help you and your dog achieve your goals. 


Darlene works with dogs of all breeds and takes into account the variation in temperaments and energy levels. She will help you and your dog work through learning issues and always uses a positive approach with a liberal dose of fun and humor.  She is sensitive to your needs and the needs of your dog and will set you and your dog up for success.  She helps you and your dog build a good foundation and will coach you to move forward when you and the dog are ready.  Call Darlene at  814-935-3347


Instructor: Linda Burley of Shadyrock German Shepherd Dogs

Linda Burley has well over 30 years of dog training experience.  She has trained thousands of dogs for good home behavior and many advanced competition participants.  A capable show handler, she teaches the conformation show classes.  She also offers private lessons for those owners and dogs who need individual attention. Linda is an accomplished groomer and offers grooming, nail clipping and teeth cleaning for all breeds by appointment.  Linda will help you and your dog achieve your goals. Call Linda at 814-942-8546.

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