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Animal Assisted Social Work Conference 21.0 CEs
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The benefits of dogs in the therapeutic setting are well-acknowledged and respected, but little is known about how to incorporate and train your dog to be the perfect co-therapist that will positively benefit your clients. The risks and unknowns associated with canine-assisted therapy often cause agencies and clinicians to shy away from this practice and finding comprehensive information about how to incorporate these programs can be difficult.

 Export to Your Calendar 4/24/2020 to 4/27/2020
When: April 24-27, 2020
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM [12:00 PM on last day]
Where: Map this event »
NASW - Michigan Chapter Conference Room
741 N. Cedar St., Ste. 100
Lansing, Michigan  48906
United States
Contact: Tricia McCarthy
517.487.1548 x16

Online registration is available until: 4/22/2020
« Go to Upcoming Event List  


The benefits of dogs in the therapeutic setting are well-acknowledged and respected, but little is known about how to incorporate and train your dog to be the perfect co-therapist that will positively benefit your clients. The risks and unknowns associated with canine-assisted therapy often cause agencies and clinicians to shy away from this practice, and finding comprehensive information about how to incorporate these programs can be difficult. Attending this conference will provide the skills and information necessary to prepare yourself, your practice, and your dog to practice safely, ethically, and with a thorough understanding of intervention techniques to utilize with a variety of population types.



This training is designed for experienced clinicians with an identified treatment orientation. It is recommended that attendees are fully licensed and actively practicing. It is NOT required that attendees currently have a canine-co therapist.



9:00 AM: 
Development and Implementation of Animal Assisted Practice (90 min)

Humane Education & Theoretical Background (90 min)

Treatment Planning in Animal-Assisted Therapy Practice (90 min)

Ethical Considerations in Animal-Assisted Social Work (90 min)


9:00 AM: 
Animal Assisted Therapy with children and adolescents (90 min)

An Example of Animal-Assisted Therapy Group Practice with Adults (90 min)

Canine Assisted Interventions with Substance Using Populations (60 min)

Animal Assisted Therapy with offenders and incarcerated populations (120 min)

Part 1: Jail/Prison based programming

Part 2: Abusers/Link/Etc


9:00 AM: 
Informed Treatment of Trauma: Pairing EBP with AAT (90 min)

Pairing AAT with your preferred EBP Modality (90 min)

AAT with Couples (60 min)

Partnering with Animals in Family Systems Practice (60 min)

Home Based Animal Assisted Work (60 min)


9:00 AM:
Animal Behavior and its Application to Clinical Practice (180 Min)



This conference is led by three, actively practicing experts in the field: 

Amanda Nowak, LMSW, CAADC, AASW 
Mary Skene, LMSW, AASW 
Kelsey Di Pirro, LMSW, LCSW, CAADC, AASW

Joining them will be their canine co-therapists: Lucy, Stryder, Finn, and Marley

More presenters will be announced with registration!

Any and all training materials will be provided; parking is available onsite and is plentiful and free; morning coffee and afternoon beverages and a light snack will be provided, however, lunch is on your own. You are welcome to "brown bag" it or try one of the many dining options available within 10 minutes of the office. 


NASW Members: $550
Future Members: $650

OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION - PLEASE READ [bring documentation; form available at conference]:

This conference provides for certification for both clinician and canine partner. Please note that dogs will not be allowed on site outside of testing which occurs on Monday, April 27th  from 1:30 pm until conference close. Having a dog to certify is not a requirement to attend this conference. Clinicians who plan to bring dogs to this conference should be prepared to provide the following veterinary records on the first day of the conference. If the appropriate records are not provided before conference close on April 24, the dog will not be allowed to attend the event.

1. Do you agree to provide the following records on April 24, 2020?

Pet Name:__________________                   Veterinary Hospital:_______________



___  DHPP (Distemper-Hepatitis-Parvovirus-Parainfluenza)

___  Leptospirosis

___  Bordetella (kennel cough)

___  Canine Influenza ( H3N2 and H3N8)

___  Rabies (16 weeks of age)

Vaccinations must be administered by a veterinarian at least 2 weeks before your pet is provided with our services.


___ Negative Fecal with Giardia Testing
___ Negative Heartworm Test


___ Heartworm

___ Flea and Tick

Please provide a receipt showing proof of purchase naming the product..


___  Must be 12 weeks or older

___  Spay or neuter by 6 months of age




-Not bringing a dog

2. In order to become certified, your dog will need to pass the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) and Community Canine (CGCA) test. Following a completed test, the Evaluator will provide you with a completed form indicating PASS or FAIL. To obtain CGC/CGCA recognition, the clinician will be responsible for sending in these forms with appropriate payment to the AKC. Conference registration does not include AKC payment.   For more information on this, please visit:

The following is a summary of items that are listed on both tests.

Test 1: Accepting a friendly stranger

This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to approach it and speak to the handler in a natural, everyday situation.

Test 2: Sitting politely for petting

This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to touch it while it is out with its handler.

Test 3: Appearance and grooming

This practical test demonstrates that the dog will welcome being groomed and examined and will permit someone, such as a veterinarian, groomer or friend of the owner, to do so.

Test 4: Out for a walk (walking on a loose lead)

This test demonstrates that the handler is in control of the dog. The dog may be on either side of the handler.

Test 5: Walking through a crowd

This test demonstrates that the dog can move about politely in pedestrian traffic and is under control in public places. The dog and handler walk around and pass close to several people (at least three).

Test 6: Sit and down on command and Staying in place

This test demonstrates that the dog has training, will respond to the handler’s commands to sit and down and will remain in the place commanded by the handler (sit or down position, whichever the handler prefers). The dog must do sit AND down on command, then the owner chooses the position for leaving the dog in the stay.

Test 7: Coming when called

This test demonstrates that the dog will come when called by the handler. The handler will walk 10 feet from the dog, turn to face the dog, and call the dog.

Test 8: Reaction to another dog

This test demonstrates that the dog can behave politely around other dogs. Two handlers and their dogs approach each other from a distance of about 20 feet, stop, shake hands and exchange pleasantries, and continue on for about 10 feet. The dogs should show no more than casual interest in each other. Neither dog should go to the other dog or its handler.

Test 9: Reaction to distraction

This test demonstrates that the dog is confident at all times when faced with common distracting situations. The evaluator will select and present two distractions.

Test 10: Supervised separation

This test demonstrates that a dog can be left with a trusted person, if necessary, and will maintain training and good manners.


Dog stands, sits or lies down and waits under control while the owner:

●       sits at the registration table and fills out paperwork, or,

●       if the test is done in the community, dog waits while the owner sits and has a snack or visits with another person (e.g., at a park)

Walks on a loose leash in a natural situation (not in a ring) — does not pull.

●       left turn

●       right turn

●       stop

●       fast and slow pace

Walks on loose leash through a crowd:

●       at a show or in class, this item is tested in a real crowd, not in a ring

●       in the community, dog walks on sidewalk, through a crowd at a community fair, park, on a trail, through a busy hallway, etc.

●       Dog walks past distraction dogs present; does not pull.

●       This item may be tested along with #3 if there are dogs in the crowd, etc.

●       at a show or class, dog walks by dogs waiting in the crowd–dogs 2 ft. apart

●       in the community, dog walks by other dogs on a trail, sidewalk, in a hallway, etc.

Sit — stay in small group (3 other people with dogs).

●       Owners and dogs are in an informal circle/square while owners have a conversation.

●       Dogs are all on the owner’s left side, on leash; 3 ft. apart. (At least 30 seconds)

Dog allows person who is carrying something (backpack, computer bag, etc.) to approach and pet it.

●       “May I pet your dog?” (Item is placed on floor/ground before the person pets the dog)

“Leave it.” Dog walks by food and follows owner instructions, “Leave it.”

●       This can be food placed by the evaluator on the floor or ground in a food dish with a wire cover as in Rally.

Down or sit stay — distance (owner’s choice).

●       Dog is on 20–ft line, owner walks away with back to dog, picks up an item (e.g., backpack, training bag, clipboard, folder etc.) placed on the floor/chair/ground by the evaluator and returns to the dog.

Recall with distractions present (coming when called). Handler goes out 20–ft. **(off center) and calls dog.

●       Dog is on the 20–ft. line from #8 above.

Dog will sit or stand stay (owner’s choice) while owner enters/exits a doorway or narrow passageway. Owner calls dog through door when ready.

Owner may also choose to:

●       send the dog through first and have the dog wait for the owner, or

●       the owner may choose to have the dog go through the doorway at the owner’s side.

●       Whichever method is used, the dog must not pull the owner and must be under good control. Think of the handler having the leash in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other.

●       Doorway or gate can be real or simulated with ring gates, two chairs, or a natural passageway (e.g., entrance to trail) in the community.

3. At any time during this conference, identified trainers or NASW staff reserves the right to dismiss the dog from the conference if behavioral issues or risk of harm is evident or likely. Dismissal from this conference due to the above listed concerns will not result in a refund. Further, attendees of this conference release from liability, NASW - Michigan and conference trainers.

-          I agree

-          I do not agree

-          I do not plan to bring a dog

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