Elite

Therapy Dog Training


Top Therapy Dog Trainers in Grand Rapids, MI

Call to Schedule FREE In-Home Assessment

616-600-1393


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Contact Dog Training Elite West Michigan

Or Call to Schedule FREE In-Home Assessment

616-600-1393


Se habla español!

What is a Therapy Dog?

A therapy dog is a dog that performs a service for other people. Typical therapy dog tasks are going to nursing homes or hospitals to cheer people up. For your dog to qualify, he/she must be friendly with strangers, and with training, be able to work around a high level of distraction and to understand personal boundaries, such as not jumping up, licking, mouthing, etc.

Research shows that therapy dogs can have a positive effect on a patient’s mood, stress, and pain levels during facility stays. Children, in particular, respond positively to therapy dogs. They are more motivated to participate in treatments, feel optimistic about the future, and experience an overall sense of calm when a certified therapy dog is present.

Therapy dogs can promote social interaction between individuals within communities that may not otherwise experience socialization typically. Therapy dogs offer unconditional love, non-judgmental interaction, reduce stress, anxiety, and loneliness and provide an overall positive distraction to ailments.

Goals for Your Therapy Companion


  • Socialization
  • Lower Pain Levels
  • Motivation
  • Provide Comfort
  • Decrease in Stress, Anxiety, and Depression
  • Promote Healing
  • Increase Overall Optimism
  • Ease Loneliness


Not all training packages may be available at our Dog Training Elite West Michigan location, please reference our pricing page for complete information on services offered.


Therapy Dog

Therapy dog training is based on your dog's abilities.

$3,395

A therapy dog volunteers alongside you, where permitted, and provides comfort to others. Examples include cheering people up at nursing homes or hospitals.

A good therapy dog is naturally friendly with strangers, able to work around a high level of distraction (with training), and able to understand personal boundaries, such as not jumping up, licking, mouthing, etc (with training).

  • Puppy Selection advice
  • Private, one-on-one training sessions in your home and the community 8 Sessions
  • Group Training Classes 16 sessions
  • AKC Training
  • Therapy bandana, ID Card, and Certificate of Training
  • An exclusive directory of therapy events and locations for you to donate your time
  • Come
  • Sit, Down
  • Place
  • Heel
  • Quiet
  • Off, Wait
  • Leash Manners
  • People Manners
  • Load up in the car / kennel
  • Make a friend
  • Choose one personalized greeting (high five, shake, hug, etc.)
  • Top-notch off leash obedience
  • Distraction Training

Our Balanced Theory

We base our training around the "Classical Conditioning" model (a.k.a. "Pavlovian" or "respondent conditioning"). This includes developing conditioned or automatic reflexes to commands. In its simplest form (after proper conditioning), when the owner says "sit," the dog automatically sits without thinking about it. Our unique techniques ensure our program is a success no matter what behavior we encounter.


  • Empowering Owners
    We empower Owners to train so their dog knows who to obey at all times.
  • Personalized
    We deal with problem behaviors on a personal basis.
  • Environment Specific
    We train wherever issues tend to arise (i.e. jogging, park, home).
  • Supportive
    We support Owners in the off-hours (when training is "not in session").
  • Involved
    We work with all members of the household.
  • Simplified & Customized
    We plan training around the owner's schedule and require only 20 min/day follow-up practice.
  • Continued Training
    Additional programs / group sessions offered after in-home training.
  • Lifetime Investment
    We follow up & are invested in the owner's success long-term.
  • Satisfaction Ratings
    Our high client satisfaction rating sets us apart from competitors.

We help your dog become a valued companion and beloved member of the family. Read what our customers have to say and then give us a call!

Wallace, my nine month old English Cream Golden Retriever, and I just completed all of our individual obedience classes with Carrie. Her reassurance and patience is exactly what I need and has helped me learn how best to communicate and guide Wallace. We are excited to continue working with Carrie as Wallace moves into training to become my service dog. It has been worth every penny and I know will change my life forever.
— Josie Van Dam
Posted February 14th 2024
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Wallace, my nine month old English Cream Golden Retriever, and I just completed all of our individual obedience classes with Carrie. Her reassurance and patience is exactly what I need and has helped me learn how best to communicate and guide Wallace. We are excited to continue working with Carrie as Wallace moves into training to become my service dog. Worth every penny!
— Josie Van Dam
Posted February 14th 2024
google
I cannot say enough good things about Dog Training Elite. They have taken our puppy who we recently rescued who was ‘skidish’, food deprived, neglected and locked in a cage for the first 7 months of her life and given her confidence, hope, and inspiration to want to please her humans. It is so sweet to see how happy it makes her to know what is expected of her and the pride she has for her learned obedience. This company is so special. You can see the love and compassion they have for their dogs and their humans! I have and will continue to recommend them to anyone who wants to form a special connection with their dog through this training that only this company could have provided for us!!
— Angela Toms
Posted February 2nd 2024
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I am beyond happy with Dog Training Elite West Michigan! My expectations have been met and by far exceeded with this training style. We have 3 dogs, 2 that we “trained” with “traditional” treat based systems and when there’s not treats, there’s no obedience. This style of training is fantastic! Not only does your fur baby learn, you do as well. The bond that you get to have with this style of training is amazing. For anyone that is skeptical or thinks that this isn’t worth the time or money, YOU’RE WRONG! Best money I have ever spent! Not only do you get the expertise with the package you pick, you get care, compassion and understanding to help you through with what you’re trying to accomplish with your dog. After only 4 in home trainings, my family took our fur baby to a crowded, loud, and rambunctious atmosphere, and our pup did amazing. So much so that a ton of people came up to us and complimented how well our pup was doing! The best feeling ever is to be able to take your fur baby with you and not have to worry about anything! There is not enough space or time to say how amazing this company is. Carrie, the owner, takes her time, helps you understand the training, but also tailors each lesson to suit you and your dogs style. Our fur baby has so much confidence, pride and self affirmation, which she has gained through this training process! 10 out of 10 would recommend to anyone who has a dog that wants help with training!!!!!!!
— Drew John
Posted February 2nd 2024
facebook
I am beyond happy with Dog Training Elite West Michigan! My expectations have been met and by far exceeded with this training. We have 3 dogs, 2 that we “trained” with “traditional” treat based systems and when there’s not treats, there’s no obedience. This training is fantastic! Not only does your fur baby learn, you do as well. The bond that you get to have with this training is amazing. For anyone that is skeptical or thinks that this isn’t worth the time or money, YOU’RE WRONG! Best money I have ever spent! Not only do you get the expertise with the package you pick, you get care, compassion and understanding to help you through with what you’re trying to accomplish with your dog. After only 4 in home trainings, my family took our fur baby to a crowded, loud, and rambunctious atmosphere, and our pup did amazing. So much so that a ton of people came up to us and complimented how well our pup was doing! The best feeling ever is to be able to take your fur baby with you and not have to worry about anything! There is not enough space or time to say how amazing this company is. Carrie, the owner, takes her time, helps you understand the training, but also tailors each lesson to suit you and your dogs style. Our fur baby has so much confidence, pride and self affirmation, which she has gained through this training process! 10 out of 10 would recommend to anyone who has a dog that wants help with training!!!!!!!
— Andrew Tompkins
Posted February 2nd 2024
google
I cannot say enough good things about Dog Training Elite. They have taken our puppy who we recently rescued who was ‘skidish’, food deprived, neglected and locked in a cage for the first 7 months of her life and given her confidence, hope, and inspiration to want to please her humans. It is so sweet to see how happy it makes her to know what is expected of her and the pride she has for her learned obedience. This company is so special. You can see the love and compassion they have for their dogs and their humans! I have and will continue to recommend them to anyone who wants to form a special connection with their dog through this training that only this company could have provided for us!!
— Angela Tompkins
Posted February 2nd 2024
google
DTE has been a godsend for our family. Carrie helped transform our stubborn rambunctious Samoyed into an obedient wonderful dog. No more pulling on the leash during walks and less reactivity. She has continued to improve over the course of our training. We would highly recommend DTE!
— Thomas Eusebio
Posted October 28th 2023
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Carrie and Jessica are AMAZING to work with and know what they are doing. You can tell they love what they do and it came out in the success of our dog Scout. He is a much happier dog which shows when he’s called and comes running to us, the smile on his face says it all. If you are questioning if this is worth it…trust me when I say IT IS!!!. Thank you to Dog Training Elite West Michigan for everything you have helped us with. We will be forever grateful. We have a new dog and new friends 💙 Bob and Kelly
— Kelly Gagnon
Posted September 8th 2023
google
We have a rather rambunctious chocolate lab puppy. We’ve done other puppy training classes but he would only behave when food was being given as rewards. And he was harder and harder to walk the bigger he got. He was jumping on people and just overwhelming. We’ve had five private classes and already a new lab puppy lives with us. Things are so much better and will just keep getting better. We took him to the beach for the first time yesterday. He was very excited but recall was solid and he didn’t jump on anyone! He loves swimming. What a great investment! Highly recommend to anyone who wants a well behaved dog.
— Heather Ryan
Posted August 13th 2023
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The. Change in our dogs behavior is night and day. I once again love having a puppy in the house!
— Heather Ryan
Posted August 9th 2023
google
Love the program and staff. It is clear they enjoy what they do and care deeply for their human and dog clients alike. I would recommend them if you have any interest in learning to train your dog to be safe, obedient, and polite.
— Melissa Powell-Sheppard
Posted August 9th 2023
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My pup willow just finished her training and she has never been happier! She is more obedient, and is improving daily. I’d recommend DTE to anyone, even if your dog is well behaved!
— Hannah Wallace
Posted August 9th 2023
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This was an incredible learning experience for our entire family. It has completely changed our dog and makes life more calm around the house. I would recommend them to everyone!
— Jen Hekkema
Posted August 6th 2023
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Carrie and Jessica are the best! Good boy Jackson is now Very Good Boy Jackson! Invest your time after each class…you will be rewarded.
— Ted Adornato
Posted July 17th 2023
google
Carrie is awesome! She cares about the outcome of your training program and wants to be sure your dog AND you have a positive experience. It seems half of dog training is also training the human! We have a 7 year old Australian Shepherd who did absolutely phenomenal with his e-collar training. Carrie truly cares about your dogs' level of obedience and will treat you as one of your own.
— Donald Castro-Conde
Posted July 12th 2023
google
Carrie is an amazing trainer! We’ve received so many complaints about our dog’s behavior since starting DTE. I would highly recommend the program for anyone who is looking for a caring trainer and program that works with both your dog and you!
— Jonathan Seyferth
Posted June 2nd 2023
google
Carrie is amazing! We have owned a few dogs in our lifetime, but chose to reach out to her with our new puppy while she was still in the beginning phases of her training. Carrie is really responsive over email and text, and walks you through pricing and whatever program you choose. She also breaks down her philosophy and makes sure that everyone in the home is comfortable with her training methods before she starts. Carrie is also just so fun to work with and really makes you understand how to correct bad behavior and bond with your dog. I would highly recommend her to any dog lover who is looking to teach their pup good behaviors!
— Hannah McGowan
Posted April 21st 2023
google
Carrie has done a great job working with us and our dog to become a service dog. In just a short time (2 months) we have come a long way to becoming a great team. If you are in need of dog training then Dog Training Elite are the trainers for you. Jim Dood
— Jim Dood
Posted March 4th 2023
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Oliver responded quickly to the training. We are hopeful that he will continue to improve his behavior. We throughly enjoyed learning how to control his unruly behavior. Easy and Carrie was very patient with us. I highly recommend the training.
— Carla Moran
Posted February 7th 2023
google
Working with Carrie has been absolutely fantastic. After the first lesson, our Samoyed Henry, was a doing so well. By the second lesson we were amazed and moved to tears at the transformation. Such a relief and joy to see Henry be able to run in the yard, off lease, without fear of him running off. He is one happy 6 month old. I cannot say enough about Carrie and this program. I’d give it 10 stars, if I could. 😊
— Mary Koenigsknecht
Posted November 5th 2022
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Proud Sponsor of The Malinois Foundation

At Dog Training Elite West Michigan, we believe that Service Dogs save lives. It is our mission to make these life-saving companions available to our Veterans, First Responders, Women Survivors, and Children with Medical Needs. Whether it be for PTSD, Mobility Support, or Special Needs, Dog Training Elite West Michigan works with the Malinois Foundation to heal and empower these individuals with a specialized service animal, a partner in life, and a new best friend.

Learn More