top of page

Deer Creek's Gifted Therapy Program

Course Description:

At Deer Creek we recognize that our dogs have the capability of changing the lives of people on a therapeutic level. Our program has been designed to select puppies that have the appropriate temperament needed to become exceptional therapy and/or emotional support dogs and guiding them in the right direction to reach their full potential. Many of our Doodles have become therapy dogs at funeral homes, schools, children's advocacy centers and nursing homes, and others have found homes as emotional support dogs. Each puppy has his or her own unique personality and natural abilities making them excel  in either a group therapy situation or 

for focusing on the emotional needs of an individual. At completion, our therapy and emotional support dogs are already accustomed to participating in our insured Therapy dog team visits to nursing homes, schools and hospitals.  Puppies completing our Therapy program start at $15,000 and are specially selected for the particular home that will compliment their unique abilities and will learn 2 commands to help fulfill their duties. We can also tailor the program to add a certain task or command that may be needed for the puppy to  better do his/her job. Optional skills for our therapy dogs include:

  • "Say Hi!"- formal greeting telling the dog to approach and remain with a designated person in desired position until release

  • "Cuddle/Hug"- Deep pressure for therapy purposes

  • Laying in a designated position for a Reading Buddy until released

  • "Up" for getting onto beds, couches, etc.

  • Rolling for a belly rub

  • Giving paw or "fist bump"

  • "Stop, drop, and roll" demonstration for children

  • We are happy to accommodate other requested tasks as well!

It is very important to note that while the puppy is trusting and bonded to several of our trainers and works regularly  and is happy to do so, the puppy will have to take some time to develop that trust with their new owner. Immediately going to work in a stressful situation with a brand new person only having known them a day or two can be detrimental to their trust building in their new home. The puppy has to know their handler has their best interest in mind and will take care of them in any situation and will take work from the new handler to become the perfect therapy team with their new dog.  


  • A star pupil temperament tested and chosen by Deer Creek during the Puppy Preschool phase of training 

  • Living in the home of at least two of our trainers and reliably demonstrating the intelligence and behavior needed for working in both environments. 

  • Excellent behavior observed in public as well as in vehicles

  • Kindergarten Puppy Class completion

  • Puppy Canine Good Citizen Graduate Title completion

Course Objectives: At the completion of this class, puppies will be able to:

  • Be reliably house trained and crate trained in our home

  • Be further socialized in public with a variety of people and other dogs in a variety of locations and will be expected to maintain appropriate behavior during outings

  • Exhibit appropriate car riding etiquette (If big enough will enter and exit car on command)

  • Follow the verbal commands "sit, look, down, implied stay (20 feet), heel, in your bed, no, come, up (car), Break!, "Leave it", and go potty" (some commands have associated hand signals as well)

  • Know 2 role specific commands such as "Fist bump" or "Say hi!" for therapy work or "kiss/hug/cuddle/love me" for emotional support type work as examples.

  • Present their learned commands with normal distractions such as other dogs, people, and background noise

  • Present appropriate reactions to wheelchairs, walkers, and other hospital equipment as well as normal facility noises and smells.  

  • Exhibit appropriate behavior to their trainers and strangers including not jumping up or play biting

  • Stand for grooming and be comfortable with all methods of handling and care

  • Use stairs and enter doors appropriately

  • Go to nursing homes, hospitals, and even approving restaurants and be knowledgeable of proper behavior

  • Wearing a vest while working for distinction between work and free time.


Final Exam:  

Once a puppy exhibits reliable knowledge and appropriate behavior (around 7+ months old) on multiple trips to various locations consistently with their primary trainer, we will then test the puppy in a therapy trip setting as a final exam with a second trainer unknown to the dog to ensure their reliability regardless of handler in following all commands and exhibiting appropriate behavior. 

Graduation Package - Puppy will receive the following package for going home with their

new family:

  • A valuable training session with one of our trainers and follow up session

  • A full set of shots and rabies completed for the year as well as kept current on worming/flea/tick/heartworm preventative

  • Spayed/ Neutered at the appropriate age

  • Leash, collar, ball, bully stick and food sample

  • Doggy door bells

  • Canine Good Citizen Certificate and ribbon

  • Vest with associated patches for therapy or emotional support

*Please note: in order to successfully integrate a trained therapy dog into a family we require that there only be  one (1) other dog present in the home. 

bottom of page