A brand new venture for IABTC – be one of the first to benefit and help others benefit from your talented Therapy Support Dog.


Many dogs can be trained to provide support to both their owners and others.

Providing comfort, confidence and support for those who need and may benefit from it.

It is well documented that some people diagnosed with a range of mental health,

emotional health and physical problems benefit from interaction or

even just the presence of a well-trained dog. Sometimes the patient gains even more

from interaction in specific ways – for example playing constructive games with the dog,

Suitable Dogs and Handlers

Training for any role should start as soon as possible.

Dogs will normally be a minimum of 18 months of age (or full maturity)

before they will be ready for assessment, however, there is no strict rule on this.

There is no specific stipulation with regards to the type of dog,

it is much more about the handler and dog team and what they can offer

in the way of supporting people and therapy programmes. Dogs will need to exhibit a good temperament, be under excellent handler control, and be presented well-groomed and always looking and smelling clean.

Some dogs may have multiple roles – if already registered as an assistance dog, the relevant charity should be informed and approval sought. All roles are valid and of equal importance.


Dogs not suitable for TSD - Dogs listed on or prosecuted under the Dangerous Dogs Act. Dogs who have aggressive tendencies. Dogs with overactive, uncontrolled predatory/chase drive. Dogs trained to attack. Dogs suffering from zoonotic diseases.

Dog Training Classes / Workshops

As mentioned above, training should start as soon as possible. If handlers are attending normal pet dog training classes, they should mention your aim to the chief instructor so they can keep it in mind. Ideally, handlers will go to specialist classes to follow the TSD programme.

2022 Dog Training Classes / Workshops

Training should start as soon as possible. IABTC is running monthly sessions and once we have the interest, weekly sessions plus longer workshops e.g., weekends and summer schools. IABTC Approved Instructors may wish to offer classes following a TSD Instructors workshop.

Monthly full-day sessions

Mondays - January 17th, February 14th, March 7th, April 4th, May 16th,

June 13th, July 4th, August 15th, September 12th, October 10th,

November 14th, December 19th.


The sessions are £35.00. Workbook included with the first session.

Book and pay in advance to reserve your space

Weekly evening sessions and longer block sessions coming soon.



Dogs will learn a high level of general training, socialising and habituation – helping them to easily deal with general day to day life and be relaxed about visiting new places and meeting new people. They will be working towards visiting the elderly or infirm, greeting people on invitation, laying quietly during reading sessions or discussions and being a calm, soothing influence on patients, residents and staff alike.


These dogs will need the skills as above, plus specific tasks to meet the needs of those they are working with. Most commonly but not exclusively those with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Bipolar, Pathological Demand Avoidance or Sensory Processing Disorder.

They can learn: to walk slightly ahead to show confidence, lean on to create body pressure, move across to create a barrier, and give emotional support, confidence with a passive presence.


Helping patients in occupational therapy or stroke units, for example, these dogs need all the skills of the passive befriender dog, plus specific tasks to aid those needing to improve their mobility or speech in some way. Considerations should be made regarding the size, age and strength of the dog. They will typically learn generalised and controlled: On cue - holding, retrieving, pulling, pushing, placing, paws on/off, to take cues from others, etc.

Theoretical Competency

Once enrolled as a member – candidates can have access to the practical competency workbook. This will comprise of a variety of relevant information, some additional sources of information as well as assessment sheets to be completed in their own time. Marking will be undertaken by an IABTC TSD Assessor. Candidates will be given written feedback and an opportunity to discuss the outcome with the assessor. Further theoretical competency will be included in the discussion during the practical assessment.


The TSD Board

The board have been selected because of their interest and expertise in specific areas of relevance.

The TSD board role is to inform, direct and assist the development and progression of the organisation. Providing strategic direction and developing strategies to aid the organisation.

The board will oversee the design, implementation and review of appropriate and effective policies, processes and codes for the organisation, including ethics, values, conduct, employment, remuneration, diversity and otherwise.

TSD is adhereing to the SCAS Code of Practice