Pet Therapy (Animal-assisted) Course Online

From: $50.00 Inc GST / week for 16 weeks



Tutor Support



Pet therapy is an effective tool based on the long history of animals and humans co-existing as comforting and caring companions. Everyone needs a little help sometimes, whether it is for physical, emotional, or mental ailments. Therapy pets provide extensive benefits for physical and mental wellbeing to their owners, supporting and encouraging positive interactions and activities leading to significant improvement in overall health.

You will learn:

    • Explain the nature of pet therapy and determine where it may be used as a therapeutic tool.
    • Explain how pets can contribute to a person’s wellbeing as a companion or working animal.
    • Determine how to work with animals effectively and appropriately in a therapeutic situation.
    • Discuss ways in which this can be used for people with psychological conditions.
    • Discuss ways in which this can be used for people with physical disabilities.
    • Discuss ways in which this can be used for children of different ages and circumstances.
    • Discuss ways in which this can be used for older people in different circumstances.
    • Plan the establishment and operation of a pet therapy service.

Detailed Course Outline

This course is made up a number of lessons or units. Each of these has self assessment questions, a set task (practical homework) and an assignment which you can upload online.

There are 8 lessons in this course:

1. Scope and Nature of Pet Therapy

    • Introduction to Pet Therapy
    • Animal and Human Relationships
    • Animal Assisted Therapy
    • Animal Assisted Activities
    • Animals Used in Pet Therapy
    • Scientific Research Supporting Pet Therapy
    • Tension and Stress
    • Depression and Anxiety
    • Touch, Affection and Companionship
    • Immune System Response and Pain Control
    • Cancer Patients, Palliative Care and Heart Disease
    • Healthier Lifestyles, Structure and Routine
    • Benefits for Older People
    • Pet Therapy and Children
    • Negative Effects of Pet Therapy on People
    • Negative Impacts on Pets and Animals
    • Cultural Differences

2. Mental Health and Physical Assistance

    • Pet Therapy Research and Mental Health Conditions Introduction
    • Agitation and Cognitive Impairments
    • Depression
    • Schizophrenia
    • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
    • Stress
    • Human-Animal Interactions
    • Bonding
    • Warning and Protection
    • Transport and Carriage
    • Working Animals

3. Working with animals

    • Introduction to working animals.
    • Factors for Consideration
    • Human Safety
    • Client Possessive Behaviour and Bonding
    • Animal Health and Welfare
    • Animal Behaviour
    • Resources and Legalities
    • Animal Species
    • Large, Medium and Small Animals
    • Suitability to the Client
    • Therapy Settings
    • Preparing Clients and Animals for a Session

4. Applications for people with mental health conditions

    • Mental Health Conditions
    • Mood Disoders
    • Anxiety
    • Social Phobias
    • Depression
    • Developmental Disorders
    • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
    • Austism Spectrum Disorder
    • Austism Assistance Dogs
    • The Stress Response
    • Panic Attacks
    • Other Animal Contributions to Mental Wellbeing (Pleasure, Motivation and Exercise)

5. Applications for people with disabilities

    • Benefits of an Animal-assisted Therapy Program for People with Disabilities
    • Service Assistance Animals
    • Guide Dogs
    • Hearing Dogs
    • Seizure Alert Dogs
    • Diabetic Alert Dogs
    • Allergy Detection Dogs
    • Mobility Assistance Dogs
    • Physiotherapy Assistance Dogs
    • Summary

6. Applications for Children

    • Therapy and Children Introduction
    • Difficulties of Therapy with Children
    • Developing Empathy
    • The Benefits of Therapy for Children
    • Children with ADHD
    • Children with Autism

7. Applications for Older People

    • Specific Applications of Therapy for Elderly
    • Grief and Loss
    • Physical Activity
    • Stress, Blood Pressure and Anxiety
    • Cardiovascular Disease
    • When The Owner Can No Longer Care for the Animal

8. Establishing a Pet Therapy Service

    • As a Business
    • Planning Your Service
    • Which Animal is Most Suitable
    • Client Group
    • Timeline
    • Marketing Your Services
    • Data Protection and Privacy
    • Veterinarians
    • Other Services
    • Free or Paid For Services
    • Insurance
    • Business Plan
    • Buying an Existing Business
    • Animal Welfare Considerations
    • Remaining Competitive

When you have completed the lessons of your Certificate course, you will be given the option of taking the optional exam. It’s okay if you don’t want the exam, we still issue your Careerline Certificate. For Advanced Certificates however, the exam is compulsory (per module) and are included in the course fee.



Your Tutor

Karen Gail Ibanez, M.A. Clinical Psychology, B.Sc. Psychology
Karen Ibanez

In 2007, Karen Gail worked as a psychometrician where she administered and interpreted psychological tests in a private neuro-psychiatric clinic and was promoted to junior psychologist after two years where her role changed to psychological assessment and evaluation. By 2009, she started giving training and seminars to affiliate companies of the clinic that she worked for. By 2011, she was promoted again as an assistant psychologist and started with the counseling practice which is one of the clinic’s services. Most of clients she had was for anger management, career counseling as well as family counseling. She resigned from the clinic after eight years but was asked to serve as the clinic’s consultant.

In 2010, worked as an assistant professor in a university where she taught courses in psychology as well as philosophy but mainly focusing on Psychological Testing and Development.