Therapy Dog Training

Top Therapy Dog Trainers in Lexington, KY

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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 Central Kentucky location, please reference our pricing page for complete information on services offered.

Therapy Dog

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


Includes Obedience Training

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).

Our Therapy package offers you training sessions throughout your dog's lifetime!

*Follow-up sessions to be scheduled once per quarter as needed, after initial program is completed.

  • Private, one-on-one training sessions 12 Sessions + Unlimited *see above description
  • Group dog training in the community Unlimited *see above description
  • Therapy bandana, certification and ID Cards
  • An exclusive directory of therapy events and locations for you to donate your time
  • Certification/Testing
  • Come
  • Walk with you (no more pulling)
  • Sit (next to you)
  • Sit (off leash, at a distance)
  • Down (next to you)
  • Down (off leash, at a distance)
  • Wait
  • Quiet (stop barking and whining)
  • Load up in the car or kennel
  • Place
  • Heel
  • No Jumping up (on people)
  • Make a friend
  • One personalized greeting (high five, shake, hug, etc.)

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!

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— شیخ عبدالرزاق
Posted June 7th 2024
I started working with Tom about three months after adopting my very anxious rescue, Frannie, who was about 14 months old at the time. I tried other training programs, as well as just figuring things out from YouTube videos on my own but after a few months of nightmarish daily walks and hateful looks when I tried to go out with Frannie who would just bark her head off the moment we stepped outside, well, I decided it was time to get professional help. The very first one-on-one class with Tom was a complete game-changer. No more pulling after just one class with Tom! She is now also able to walk past most of the bunnies hopping around without trying to chase after them and this makes the walks so much safer not having to constantly worry about her taking off after a rabbit or squirrel and run out right in front of a car. Frannie is a smart girl but she is also very stubborn, so there have been several things she has been slow to learn to perform well and Tom is always very patient with her, and of course with me too. The next-level game-changer was when we started attending group classes. The group classes helped tremendously with Frannie’s behavior when we go out. I was always envious of people whose pups just lay next to them quietly while they are able to carry a conversation with other people for an hour or two. Now I constantly get compliments on how well-behaved my dog is. She has improved so incredibly much since working with Tom and I look forward to continuing our work with him.
— Georgina Lukoczki
Posted September 6th 2023
Tom is the BEST! When we had our consultation our dog Bella (Cane Corso) was jumping on Tom and his assistant she even got in the couch with them. NOT the behavior we wanted with guests coming over and she is over 100 lbs. We set up training and Bella was nothing short of difficult and did not want to listen or act on any commands. After the home sessions I could see some improvement and changes in her behavior. Next we moved to the group class and I was completely nervous that she would be a class clown. The first session was difficult. Everything was a distraction but as I continued to follow Tom’s instructions on how to work with Bella to establish trust and leadership with her reinforcing it through positive reinforcement. She continually improved. Now she walks next to me and lets me lead, she is no longer afraid to walk on the small wall or complete the obstacle course on command. She is a COMPLETELY different dog. I can take her into pets stores and I have control of her. She no longer jumps on guests when they come visit she sits and allows them to greet her. She is so much more enjoyable when we are out and about. I 100% recommend Tom and Dog Training Elite. He also takes time to train the owners on the proper ways to interact with your pet in a positive way to train without negative reinforcement. I look forward to class now and Bella does too! Thank you Tom!!!!
— Amber Logan
Posted June 6th 2023
So I called my small shih tzu, Millie, the “devil child”, as she was 100% an alpha female and wanted everyone to know it and obey her! As a young puppy, she would bite and chew on my arms, nip at the back of my arms to the point I was bloody, scratched, scabbed and bruised! She would not listen to the word “no”, as it just made her more angry. I had to take her to the veterinarian to get medication to calm her at night just to be able to do simple house chores. I met the Dog Training Elite people at the Kentucky Home and Garden show in April! After a phone conversation and a home visit with Tom to meet Millie, I took the plunge to train the “devil child” Millie. After our first at home lesson, Millie obeyed and was so good. She loved Tom and I wanted to cry. Just watching her walk in a leash, stop and sit, was amazing. Since then she has amazed me on what she can learn, she is so smart! We just finished our at home training and in just 5 weeks, Millie is no longer a devil child, but a happier well behaved, smart member of our family!! It is such a blessing to see her listen and follow commands and listen. Tom is so good with her and very patient. He is very knowledgeable and Millie just loved him, and his pocket (that were he keeps the treats)! Thank you Tom for giving me a well trained dog that will be happier and safer in her future. Looking forward to our group classes and see where this little girl can go and what she can learn!!! I highly recommend to get your dog trained, for your sake and theirs!! It made a world of difference in our day!!
— Kathy Parrott
Posted June 5th 2023
Bottom Line Up Front: Let Tom help you. If your expectation is quality, Tom is unmatched. I came to Tom with an 18-month dog, Woody, that had almost zero manners (I say almost because I want to give myself some credit, haha). There were things I had to untrain because they contradicted what I was expecting from my dog. Hence, my quest to find help and Tom helped me understand what giving a dog a command even means. Tom was patient with Woody. More importantly, he was patient with me. I researched several other companies, but I decided to go with DTE and would recommend them for several reasons. DTE provides in-home training. This was incredibly important to me as I wanted to learn as my dog was learning. Although sending my pup away for a couple of weeks seemed enticing, having it in the home allowed me full access and reassurance of the quality of care. I was learning just as much as my dog was, and we were doing it together, which created a deeper bond. Woody does better when I give him commands, so having him home was essential to me. DTE is patient. Tom’s level of patience is remarkable. There were times when I was becoming frustrated during the training sessions or even during our “homework” sessions, and he never once made me feel like a burden or that I was doing something wrong. He gave me and Woody confidence to keep working. For example, Woody had a hard time on the step ladder. It took Woody weeks to get the confidence to jump on the step ladder. Tom would guide me on specific techniques until one clicked. Now, Woody has no problem with any “place” command. DTE invests in your success. Tom is polite and takes a genuine interest in meeting my training needs. Although I am swamped during the week, he ensures I am set up for success and never overloads my homework. He even checks in. He truly gets to know you and your companion. I have seen a dramatic difference in Woody since we began working with Tom, and we aren’t even finished with his training.
— Gabrielle Castro
Posted March 2nd 2023
Dog Training Elite has been so wonderful to work with! Any time I have had a question or concern, Tom has been happy to help problem solve with me. He is a clear communicator, and willing to go the extra mile. I am so excited to continue working with him in the future! If you are considering Dog Training Elite of Central KY-you will not be disappointed!!
— Hannah Anderson
Posted February 10th 2023
Tom is an incredible trainer. He met us where we were at in our journey and we’ve been moving forward so fast ever since! From in-home one on ones to group training sessions, my dog & I always have an amazing experience with Tom and the training he offers. He is always so optimistic with my dog and my abilities with him throughout our training. He’s my #1 and only recommendation for locals asking around about training programs.
— Sophie Lorraine
Posted January 27th 2023
This is one of those instances where I wish Google had 10 stars and not just 5 because I would give D.T.E. 10 stars. Tom and Diane are amazing at what they do and are so passionate about dog training. They have given us our life back. My fiancé and I were at a point where we had no idea how we were going to move forward in life with our Dog acting the way he was. He was so reactive to everyone except us. We couldn't have company over. We couldn't go places for extended periods of time, and honestly we didn't know when or if we would be able to have children. I know that there are dogs that no matter how much you try, they just cant be trained. We weren't going to give up on our boy though. We could see his true self when we were at home with him and we wanted other people to see that side of him. My fiancé looked into basically every dog training place in Kentucky and finally found Dog Training Elite. We've spent the last 10 weeks working with Tom & Diane, doing all our assigned homework, managing our expectations with our dog, and getting out of our comfort zone. The results speak for themselves. The most common thing we hear is "He's like a whole new dog!" and we couldn't agree more. There aren't words to describe our appreciation we have for these guys. They're definitely getting invited to the wedding! LOL If you're looking for great training with great trainers in a great environment, this is your place! #TheProofIsInThePuppy.
— Haley Tron
Posted October 1st 2022
Best money I ever spent ! If you have a dog or dogs , you learn with your dog and then teach your other dogs later ! Well worth it !
— David Williamson
Posted July 20th 2022
For some reason my first post has not shown up and it is important that I leave this review. I have an 8 yr old American Pit Bull, Molly. She is very good girl and I have had no problems with her until we moved to Louisville and to a home with 2 other dogs. She is having trouble “getting acquainted” so after searching for just the right trainer I found Dog Training Elite. We began training 3 weeks ago and I am astounded at the difference in Molly’s level of obedience. Tom customizes the training method to the dog’s personality. That has meant success for Molly. Tom and Diane are incredibly patient and knowledgable about training with many years of experience and it shows. I am particularly pleased with Tom’s level of patience and kindness in training and Molly has already fallen in love with him. I am very excited to attend the classes with other dogs and I know Molly will love it too, Certainly the right choice of trainers for us was Dog Training Elite.
— Deb
Posted July 1st 2022
Five stars! Tom trained our golden doodle, Gracie. He was amazing as he had a lot of ways to work through her stubbornness! And she had a lot of it!!!! We highly recommend DTE to train your dog! They will make huge changes in your dog’s behavior!
— Debbie Clem
Posted June 1st 2022
Needed help with my 10 month old husky, found an add for dog training elite and called the number, spoke to Tom and got started right away! Was so easy and we have been working for 4 weeks now and I have seen amazing improvement in the behavior of my husky already! From easy walks to not worrying about him bolting out the door any more. He stays right by my side always and listens to his commands. This program has made it so much easier! Can’t imagine how much he will improve by the end of the program.
— Brooke Wilkins
Posted April 22nd 2022
A tremendous help!! Thankful for the assistance. Highly recommended.
— Music Teacher
Posted April 18th 2022
DTE really made a great difference in our pups behavior! He is very high energy and would not listen to a thing we said until after the DTE gang stepped in to help. I would highly recommend them. Rocco loves the group classes as well.
— Steven Thompson
Posted March 24th 2022
We have been through a few different training methods in the past with our stubborn Golden Retriever but still struggled with some aggression and other tough behaviors. We are only 3 weeks into our training and are incredibly happy with the results! Creed is becoming more confident and relaxed and also really enjoys our training sessions. We are thankful for Tom and all he is teaching us to be a well adjusted family!
— Heather Forry
Posted March 17th 2022
Tom is so amazing to work with and his dog Bourbon is fantastic!
— Kelley Rosequist
Posted March 8th 2022
Truly impressed with Dog Training Elite! Tom was quick to respond to my inquiry and the in-home assessment with our two-month old puppy happened later that week! We are first time dog owners and Tom was patient with both us and our pup and super instructive. Looking forward to all we can accomplish with Dog Training Elite!
— Sarah Katsandonis
Posted January 19th 2022
I highly recommend working with them. I have tried every training method to help my dog with his anxiety. They came in and on the first day we could already see positive results. Nothing felt better watching my dog gain his confidence back and work towards helping his anxiety. They communicated effectively on what we as owners have to do, and the training methods used. Quick easy responses, on time, and very professional.
— Jzotter23
Posted January 18th 2022
Dog training elite of Central Kentucky is very reliable and trustworthy! I had the pleasure of meeting the owners, and I can say firsthand they work to ensure that their clients, both furry and human, are well cared for throughout the entire training process. I would absolutely recommend using them if you are looking for a hardworking and dedicated team to assist with your dogs!
— Allison S (Allison S)
Posted January 17th 2022
I loved working with Dog Training Elite of Central Ky!!! Couldn’t recommend them enough. The owners are very personable and I couldn’t believe the amazing results with my dog! He was pulled from the litter very early and he has severe anxiety and DTE helped us raise his confidence with their structured training!
— Erica Novo
Posted January 17th 2022

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