Becoming A HABIC Team
Prerequisite: We strongly recommend that dogs and handlers have participated in at least one group training class prior to refining their skills at HABIC training. Contact us for a list of recommended training facilities in the community.
- Attend a HABIC information session to learn more about HABIC, what our teams do, where our teams volunteer, and get your questions answered. You will receive a packet of HABIC information and paperwork to be completed. The information session is a two-hour evening session; they are scheduled throughout the year.
- * Attend a pre-evaluation session with your pet to determine how well you and your animal work together, and if your animal’s disposition is well-suited to being a therapy dog. This brief, informal evaluation will be conducted by the HABIC trainer who will determine if you should proceed and which level of training you will attend.
- Prior to the beginning of training, submit a membership application, annual membership donation ($50), and complete a questionnaire about your pet.
- * Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for the medical screening and have your veterinarian complete the dog medical form or cat medical form which must be submitted prior to the start of training. This form will serve as documentation that all vaccinations are up-to-date and your animal is healthy and in good condition to work as a therapy animal.
- * Attend HABIC obedience training classes which are one hour per week for six weeks. There is a fee for the training that is paid directly to the trainer.
- * Successfully complete a final evaluation at the end of classes. Everything that you will be evaluated on will be practiced during classes.
- * Have your animal seen by a HABIC identified veterinarian or designated evaluator who will complete a final behavioral screening. This is done at no additional cost to you.
Determine with HABIC staff where you and your animal would like to volunteer. An appointment will be arranged for you to meet the facility contact person, to tour the facility and find out how HABIC teams interact with that facility’s population. You will also have the opportunity to observe an experienced HABIC team during a scheduled visit in your designated facility.
- * Do one or more “walk-throughs” at your designated facility with your pet, the facility contact person, HABIC staff or an experienced HABIC volunteer. Prior to the walk-through you will receive a HABIC bandana, leash and name badge that should be used anytime you are working as a HABIC team.
- Attend additional training as needed including specialized Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) training if assigned to an AAT population.
- * Be observed by a HABIC representative with your animal during a work session.
* Indicates step which animal should accompany you. All other steps should be completed without the animal present.
Please realize that you and your animal(s) will be accepted as a HABIC Human-Animal Team only after all steps are taken and positively evaluated.