A student trains a dog to push a button

Assistance Dog Training Minor

The School of Health and Applied Human Sciences offers an interdisciplinary minor in assistance dog training. The minor is designed to prepare students to be assistance dog trainers and to use animal assisted interventions in a variety of settings, such as schools, hospitals, and long-term facilities. Course work requires field experience working with assistance dogs in-training and individuals with disabilities. Students are accepted into the minor after successfully completing RTH 378 Advanced Assistance Dog Training I. Students should contact the program coordinator for more information.

Students completing the Assistance Dog Training Minor are expected to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the various roles, responsibilities, and laws related to assistance dogs and animal assisted-interventions, including animal-assisted activities, animal-assisted education, and animal-assisted therapy;
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply animal behavior theories to training assistance dogs;
  • Demonstrate the ability to train an assistance dog to perform public access skills;
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply the concepts used in the classroom to train an assistance dog, appropriately place an assistance dog with a client, and train an assistance dog recipient to handle his or her assistance dog.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of and ability to use a facility dog (or other animal) to work with individuals or groups in a healthcare facility or school to accomplish client/student-centered goals.

  • Course Requirements

    Course Requirements

    Core (15 credit hours)

    • RTH 286 - Assistance Dog Training I
    • RTH 287 - Assistance Dog Training II
    • RTH 378 - Advanced Assistance Dog Training I
    • RTH 379 - Advanced Assistance Dog Training II
    • RTH 290 - Facility Dog Training


    Students must choose one of the following courses to complete the minor.

    • COM 220 - Interpersonal Communication
    • COM 246 - Communication with Deaf and Hearing-Impaired Persons
    • EDN 204 - Introduction to Early Childhood Education
    • PSY 217 - Learning and Behavior Change
    • PSY 223 - Life Span Human Development
    • PSY 247 - Abnormal Psychology
    • PSY 317 - Applied Behavioral Analysis
    • PSY 318 - Developmental Disabilities and Behavior Analysis
    • PSY 324 - Psychology of Aging
    • PSY 416 - Adult Development and Life Transitions
    • RTH 303 - Inclusive Recreation Services
    • RTH 370 - Recreation Therapy in Physical Rehabilitation
    • RTH 372 - Recreation Therapy in Behavioral Health
    • RTH 384 - Recreation Therapy and Child Life with Hospitalized Children
    • SED 250 - Introduction to Special Education
    • SED 351 - Learning and Behavioral Disorders in a Diverse Society
    • SED 356 - Severe Disabilities
    • SOC 336 - Sociology of Aging
    • SOC 365 - Social Psychology
    • SOC 433 - Sociology of Mental Illness

    Total: 18 hours