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CAP Training And Testing

Maureen Dwyer, Head Trainer, Upper Cape
Matt McNamara, Asst. Trainer, Upper Cape
Heather Garre Day, Head Trainer, Mid/Lower Cape
Janis Bodamer, Asst. Trainer, Mid/Lower Cape









The CAP training program is a seven-week course, consisting of six classes and a Therapy Dog Evaluation. We teach using positive methods only.  No prong or pinch collars are allowed.  Head halters and no-pull harnesses can be used.  We realize that handlers with issues such as: arthritis, knee, back pain, or other health challenges may find these aids helpful.  This class is required for any handler and his or her dog who wants to become a visiting CAP Therapy Team.  The goal of the class is to prepare each dog and handler to pass the CAP Evaluation and become a confident, competent, and cheerful visiting team.  

  • CAP is conducting classes at two locations:

    Upper Cape –Waquoit Congregational Church, 15 Parson’s Lane, East Falmouth, MA
    (Weekly sessions will begin on Thursday, August 8, 2024, at 9:00 am)

    Upper Cape –Waquoit Congregational Church, 15 Parson’s Lane, East Falmouth, MA
    (Weekly sessions will begin on Thursday, April 25, 2024, at 9:00 am)


    Mid/Lower Cape –Tail Waggin’ Dog Training Center, 79 Theophilus F. Smith Rd., South Dennis, MA
    (Weekly sessions will begin on Wednesday, July 10, 2024, at 7:30 pm)

In the class, we teach partnership, attention, loose leash walking, and how to meet another dog in a neutral manner.  We review CAP policies and procedures.  Your dog’s tolerance for having his or her body examined, crowded or clumsy petting and working around medical equipment will also be taught. Behaviors useful for therapy dogs during visits, such as learning to, “Go, say hello,” and placing his or her head in a lap will be part of the curriculum.

Once a handler and his or her dog has been certified as a CAP Therapy Team, they can visit CAP sanctioned facilities that need visiting teams including: adult care and assisted living residences, hospitals, libraries, schools, and other community programs of the handler’s choice.  CAP Teams visit in groups led by an experienced member who serves as a Captain.

As a prerequisite for the CAP Therapy Class, we also require that dogs possess basic obedience skills and have received the AKC CGC (Canine Good Citizen) certificate prior to attending the CAP Therapy Training Course.  Many dog training locations on the Cape offer the AKC six-week CGC Course/Test (there is no age limitation for your pet), and it is a wonderful way to bond with your dog, teach good obedience skills and test for the AKC certification.  Dogs must be at least one-year old to take the CAP training class.  

Participation in the class does not guarantee that the team will pass the evaluation. Homework will be given and practice at home between classes will be helpful in attaining a successful evaluation result. Upon completion of the class and passing the CAP Therapy Team Evaluation, qualified teams will be oriented at a CAP visitation site.  

What does the CAP Therapy Team Evaluation involve?  Click here for a detailed description.  

For more information, please email Mary Wills at: or (508) 308-9377.

For anyone thinking of becoming a CAP Therapy Team, we would recommend that you read the book: Teaming with Your Therapy Dog by Ann R. Howie, LICSW, ACSW.  It is available on