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Delta Animal Assisted Therapy Program

By partnering Therapy Dog Teams with health professionals, Delta Therapy Dogs offers a scalable and sustainable model of Animal Assisted Therapy 


While our Delta Therapy Dogs program focuses on general wellbeing and quality of life outcomes for our program beneficiaries, our Collaborative Animal Assisted Therapy (C-AAT) program offers a more intensive and goal-directed program offering for organisations who want to integrate therapeutic animals in to their service offering. 


With the support of subject matter experts in both the US and in Australia, and based on international best practice, Delta Therapy Dogs has launched a sustainable and scalable model of AAT whereby health professionals work in collaboration with a Therapy Dog Team (handler and their therapy dog) to deliver interventions. 


Both clinicians and volunteer therapy dog handlers undertake Delta's C-AAT training which boasts a blended learning approach - with e-Learning modules, in-person training, webinars and learner discussion forums. Ongoing application of this learning is supported by a dedicated AAT Program Coordinator and communities of practice.

A robust model of referral, matching and intervention design is supported by protocols and resources developed to shape and guide the delivery of C-AAT by the partnered clinician and handler. Policies and procedures developed through Delta's 25 years of experience and expertise in delivering Animal Assisted Services ensures that the safety and welfare of the animals and vulnerable people involved in the program are always our first priority. 

At this time Delta Therapy Dogs is not offering the program or training to individual clinicians, but has partnered with a small number of Local Health Districts and hospitals to implement canine assisted psychotherapy and canine assisted rehabilitation therapy.  We are however welcoming expressions of interest from other facilities and services who may wish to work with us in the future. 

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Looking to volunteer with an innovative program, partnering with mental health professionals to deliver psychotherapy, psychosocial care initiatives and occupational therapy?

We are currently in need of new volunteers and their dogs to join our Newcastle and Central Coast teams to deliver C-AAT as part of our partnerships with the Local Health Districts in those regions. 

This is an intensive program, and so you and your dog are required to have a higher level of skill than that of our volunteers within our other programs. As such, in addition to our entry-level canine and handler assessment, we require teams to undertake an additional assessment specific to C-AAT. 

Many well rounded dogs can achieve this level of assessment when they have a handler who is able to support and guide them. However in some cases teams may need to build up their experience and expertise in our visitation programs first.

Any teams who are ready to advance to C-AAT are required to undertake an additional 10hrs of training (9hrs online self-paced and 1hr in-person) and to participate in ongoing learning (approximately 1.5hrs each month). 

Teams are then matched to a clinician and their consumer for up to eight sessions (ideally weekly, but at least fortnightly), with each session lasting approximately 60-90min (including session briefing and debriefing). Volunteers are required, as part of this matching, to also participate in intervention planning and de-briefing sessions. 

Once each intervention ends, teams will be re-matched with a new clinician and consumer. 

To find out more and to express your interest in volunteering as part of Delta's C-AAT program please contact Debbie Sykes, AAT Program Coordinator using the link below. 

  • Can Delta Therapy Dogs accredit my dog as a companion dog?
    Delta cannot assess or accredit dogs for work outside of our programs. Volunteer Delta Therapy Dog Teams visit facilities that have signed an agreement with us. We are unable to provide companion animal certification.
  • Can a Delta therapy dog visit my home?
    Delta Volunteer Delta Therapy Dog Teams can only visit facilities that we have signed agreement with us. At the moment, we do not visit people's own homes.
  • Can I get a dog for a disabled family member or friend?
    Dogs who are trained to personally support one person with a special need or disability are called Assistance Dogs. Please contact Assistance Dogs Australia who provide accredited dogs to assist people with special needs and disabilities.
  • Can Delta provide my dog with public access certifcation?
    No, we are not authorised to provide this certification. You should contact your local Government department that looks after this area to see what is required. Legislation can vary by state governments and councils.
  • Can Delta assess my cat,horse, etc. to be a therapy animal?"
    At this stage, our programs only involve dogs.
AAT Frequntly Asked Qustions
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