Training "Both Ends of the Leash"


"There are no shortcuts to any place worth going."




Would you like to learn how to share the love of your furry friend or other animal with people in need?

If you feel that you and your furry friend may be interested in becoming a volunteer visiting team with Mid South Therapy Dogs & Friends, the first step is to read about the requirements for this unique kind of volunteering.

Do you and your animal have - THE RIGHT STUFF - to become a therapy team ... this seminar identifies the desirable characteristics that make an animal/handler successful as a therapy team. If you are interested in giving back to your community and taking the beautiful bond you have with your animal to an entirely different level, you should come to the Introductory Seminar.
Contact Us if you are interested in becoming a therapy team.

What makes a team suitable to be a MSTD volunteer

Introductory Seminar --- this is a human only event, please leave your furry friends at home

See firsthand why we believe that ... "NOT ALL MEDICINE COMES IN A BOTTLE"

Please note: Due to COVID 19 we are conducting all of our classes online. Please contact us to set up a session. Registration is still required. Thank you and we look forward to helping you start your journey.

Fee: $30.00 / PayPal $33.00
Pre-Registration Required

Introductory Seminar Registration Form

Pre-register to reserve a seat in ZOOM!
Contact us to receive the ZOOM Registration form. We do not have online payment.
Seminar is required for membership in Mid South Therapy Dogs & Friends and for attending the Therapy Team Training Workshop.


THERAPY TEAM TRAINING WORKSHOPS Our therapy animals deserve a trained, skilled and devoted handler

If you feel that you and your animal may be interested in becoming an associate visiting team with Mid South Therapy Dogs & Friends, the first step is for you to read thoroughly this entire document about the requirements and process to qualify for this very unique kind of volunteering. Once you have read and considered this information, make a list of your questions and then call us to set a prescreening interview. We would like to meet you and your animal to discuss the training and time commitments, answer all your questions about the process, and help you determine whether this is a kind of volunteering that you and your animal will enjoy before you invest in becoming trained, registered and insured. Please recognize that if your animal doesn’t love this idea as much as you do, you will never find it to be rewarding—you are choosing it, but your animal is being drafted!

The screening is highly recommended before you register for the seminar.  However, it is required before you may register for the therapy team training workshop. The screenings take about 30 minutes and are by appointment only. The seminars, screenings and workshops are scheduled only a limited number of times each year, and they fill up fast, so please contact MSTD to find out about the current schedule and make your appointment. Contact Us

NEWSFLASH Not all dogs want to be petted. Does your Dog Really Want to be Petted?

Watch This Video


Therapy Team Training Workshops ONE and TWO

-- this is a handler only event, please leave your partner at home

Participating in animal-assisted interactions with your companion animal is a volunteer service with great potential satisfaction and reward, but it is not a casual undertaking and not suitable for everyone. It is a serious responsibility that involves health, safety, and extremes of emotion and behavior. Volunteers need to be able to deal appropriately with patient/clients during the most difficult and challenging times in their lives.
As such, it requires an initial investment and then ongoing education, training, and commitment.

The Team Training Workshops are designed for those teams that have been approved to move to the advance training which combines lecture, discussion and role playing. It covers the fundamental information needed to succeed as a Therapy Team.  Through this lecture, group discussion and role playing, you will discover how to interact effectively with clients and keep your animal safe in various environments.

TEAM TRAINING WORKSHOP ONE - The first course is without your animal
Walk-through of the Competency-Based Team Evaluation – The test!

Important Information:

>>> How you and your animal companion can test and register as a volunteer team
>>> The difference between animal-assisted therapy (AAT) and animal-assisted activities (AAA)
>>> How to recognize signs of stress in your animal companion  
>>>  How to conduct an AAA/AAT visit and what to bring with you
>>> How to prepare your animal for an AAA/AAT visit
>>> The appropriate terminology and conversational approaches for various clients
>>> How to identify situations where animal companion visits are not appropriate
>>> How to explain the difference between service/assistance animals, emotional support animals and therapy animals
>>> Identify the common concerns of health-care and human services professionals about AAA and AAT and how to address them
>>> How to get started in various kinds of facilities (hospitals, care centers, rehab centers and more)

Team Training Workshop ONE
Details will be sent after the deadline
Pre-Registration Required

Therapy Team Training Workshop ONE Registration Form

Please note: Workshop ONE is held at a local hospital in their community classroom. We are required to register everyone who attends with hospital security. Therefore, we need the registration forms and fees on or before the deadline. Thank you.

Print out the form and send it along with your fee to register for Workshop ONE.
Workshop is required for membership in Mid South Therapy Dogs & Friends and for attending the Therapy Team Training Workshop. Pre-register to reserve a seat!

TEAM TRAINING WORKSHOP TWO includes the training manual, two training sessions at a facility which include training proper elevator etiquette. The cost of the Competency-Based Team Evaluation (the test!) is included in this Workshop along with your shadow visits. To be eligible for Workshop 2 & 3 your animal must be reliable, predictable and controllable and demonstrate those skills that were discussed at your prescreening. If you have questions about your eligibility please Contact Us

WORKSHOP TWO consists of three separate sessions - Sessions 2 and 3 with your animal
Session 4 is a complete paperwork review - no animal attends this session. Administrators will review your ITA and MSTD registration packet (written test, animal health screening from your vet and other critical sections). This assures that when you are successful at passing the CBTE all your paperwork is complete and correct. MSTD sends your final packet and fees to ITA for the final registration process.

Evaluations of handler-animal companion teams are done by licensed ITA/MSTD Team Evaluators. Individual appointments for the CBTE will be scheduled for you and your animal companion as a team. The purpose of the CBTE is to determine the handler-animal companion's readiness to do therapy work within the visiting context.
Competency-Based Team Evaluation

TEAM TRAINING WORKSHOP TW0 Training dates To Be Determined

Workshop 2 -TBD -
With Dogs - Facility training
Workshop 3 -TBD
- With dogs - Facility training
Workshop 4 -TBD - No Dogs Attend - Registration Packet review
Pre-Registration Required

Therapy Team Training Workshop TWO Registration Form



Joining Mid South Therapy Dogs & Friends – $25/ Two Years. Those who complete the workshop training and successfully pass the evaluation - CBTE - may then join ITA/MSTD. Mid South Therapy Dogs & Friends membership includes liability insurance, ID tags, animal ID badge, scarf, car decal, orientation and mentoring, member bulletins, continuing education, and the opportunity to participate in AAA/AAT programs at facilities served by MSTD.


There are several ways you can volunteer with Mid South Therapy Dogs & Friends if you do not have a companion animal with whom to team up for therapy visiting. You can become an escort for our visiting teams at numerous facilities.

The most frequent opportunity is volunteering to be a team testing assistant. We test potential teams about 8 times each year, on Sundays, at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Collierville, and we need a sizeable “cast of characters” to help us conduct these competency- based team evaluations. This is also a great way to get to know others and to learn about the test and what is required if you and your animal are considering becoming a team yourselves.

Contact Us to inquire further about this and other opportunities to volunteer without an animal.

Therapy Team Refresher/Renewal Class

Handlers who are due for renewal testing often feel anxious about going through the CBTE. Even teams who visit regularly can benefit from reminders of key handling skills. The handlers will also be updated on the latest policies and procedures and will receive their renewal packet.

In this course renewing teams will review how to build upon the skills they already have with their therapy animal and feel confident going into the Competency Based Team Evaluation. Walk through of the CBTE will be held at the end of the class. This is an optional class.

Location: Baptist Memorial Hospital Collierville
Class Date: TBD Time: 1:00 - 3:00 pm
Members/Handlers Only NO DOGS
FEE: No Charge

If you plan on attending the class you will need to reserve a seat.
Contact Us

Obedience Class
In order to be eligible for Team Training Workshop, a dog should be mature and have a stable, friendly temperament; dogs that show any type of aggression will not be allowed into the class.

If you think your dog has the right stuff, but needs a little work first, contact a dog trainer. We recommend Donna Eddins. Be cautious about taking classes from someone who has never worked with therapy animals, and is not extremely familiar with therapy training and the specifics of what is required of not only your animal companion but of YOU - as the handler. Be sure to ask about their experience in animal-assisted work. Remember, this is not just about your dog. You are a Therapy Team!

Dog Woods Training Center
3041 N. Germantown Road
Bartlett, TN 38133
386- 9900

Competency-Based Team Evaluation