OPEN, Independent Contractor, AAT Dog Handler

Employment Application

A man and his dog playing frisbee in the park. Dog Handler. Golden Retriever.

AAT Dog Handler Job Description

An animal-assisted therapist has several responsibilities. Primarily, they conduct therapy sessions between patients and animals. During this type of session, they utilize the therapy animal to help the patient realize specific therapy goals, such as improving their social skills or their ability to trust.

Adhere to Canine Concierge policies and procedures.

AAT Policies & Procedures

Read our dog’s body language, recognizing approaching and avoidant behaviors.

Interact with our dogs positively, supporting them as needed.

Anticipate our dogs response in different situations and set them up for success at all times.

Cue or redirect our dogs gently and effectively, without force, or coercion.

Interact with those you visit, while simultaneously tending to our dog.

Guide interactions during each visit in a patient, polite, and professional manner.

Advocate for the safety and well-being of our dogs at all times.

Pass a criminal background check (for US volunteers 18+).

Register for Anmal-Assisted Therapy and certification using a unique email address.

Dog Handler Responsibilities:

  • Conducting research on animal behavior and training techniques to improve outcomes for patients
  • Communicating with clients to determine their needs, interests, and concerns regarding animals
  • Conducting interviews to assess clients’ suitability for participation in an animal assisted therapy program
  • Developing treatment plans that include activities with animals to improve interpersonal skills, reduce stress, and improve physical health
  • Observing client interactions with animals to identify any signs of animal distress or inappropriate behavior by the animal
  • Participating in group and individual therapy sessions with patients, acting as a facilitator and educator
  • Providing education to clients about animal care and welfare issues
  • Observing clients’ reactions to animals to determine if they are suitable candidates for animal assisted therapy
  • Providing post-session feedback to clients regarding their progress in therapy

Dog Handler Requirements:

  • Communication skills: Animal assisted therapy involves working with a variety of clients, including children, adults and seniors. You may need to communicate with clients and their families about the therapy process, explain the role of the animal in the therapy session and answer questions about the animal’s behavior. You may also need to communicate with other professionals, such as doctors, to ensure the safety of the animal and the client.
  • Physical stamina: Animal assisted therapy can be physically demanding. You may need to walk or run with animals, lift them or hold them for extended periods of time. You may also need to lift or move equipment or supplies for the animals. Physical stamina can help you maintain your energy throughout the day.
  • Empathy: Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. Therapists use empathy to help their clients understand their emotions and find solutions to their problems. Animal assisted therapists use empathy to understand their animal’s emotions and needs. This allows them to create a treatment plan that includes an animal.
  • Adaptability: Therapists should be able to adapt to the needs of their clients. Animals can be unpredictable, so animal assisted therapists should be able to adapt to any situation that may arise. This can help them keep their clients safe and comfortable.
  • Observation: Animal assisted therapy involves working with animals, so animal assisted therapists must be able to observe their animal companions and their reactions to certain situations. For example, an animal assisted therapist might notice that a dog is uncomfortable with a certain person and choose to avoid that person during a therapy session. This observation can help the animal assisted therapist make the session more comfortable for everyone involved.