Additional tests may be added.

Meet the Evaluator
Dogs must not bark or jump on the evaluator. 

Greet Without Dogs Meeting
Two handlers greet and say hello. Dogs should not cross to meet each other.

Settle within two minutes
Dogs need to show that they can relax for a reading visit.

Touch testing
The dog's ears, face, nose, back, chest, feet, and tail are touched.


Crowded Touching and Hovering
Dogs must not jump or shy away. We are often asked why we have the crowded hovering/touching test when some therapy groups do not. As you can see by the picture, BARK dogs can be swarmed on playgrounds, in school hallways, and at some community events before we have the chance to get the kids in line. Our dogs must be able to handle and actually enjoy this much attention without stress.


Three minutes without owner
Dogs are left with the testing person or helper for three minutes while the owner hides. Dog must not whine, bark, or become stressed.


Moving around medical equipment
Although we are mainly a reading dog group, once certified with BARK, you can also visit hospitals or nursing homes. Dogs can be curious, but not afraid of the equipment.


Reaction to children
Dogs must remain calm and not bark or chase after the kids running past.

BARK Testing Requirements
Our next evaluation will be for Reading Therapy Dogs only (unless you wish to visit at Comm. Hospital LB, then see below). If you would like to listen to children read in schools or libraries, please email us at

All BARK therapy dogs and their handlers must be evaluated and certified as a therapy team.

A dog must be a minimum of 1-1/2 years of age and have a stable, friendly temperament. Each dog must have lived with the handler for at least six months. Handlers must be at least 18 years of age. A dog can be certified with more than one handler.

BARK dogs must really enjoy people, especially kids, and love being touched by many kids at once - sometimes not so gently. Handlers must be in control of their dogs at all times: no pulling or jumping.

Prior to evaluation, all dogs must have their Canine Good Citizen (CGC) title, indicating they know basic obedience. Click here to find a CGC evaluator in your area.

All dogs must be tested with a buckle or quick release flat collar - no training, choke, pinch, harness, martingale, or nose collars (halti/gentle leader). Children can be apprehensive upon first meeting a dog and any equipment other than a flat collar can cause concern on the child's part. We need to have control of our dogs with a regular flat collar. To have your name added to the waiting list, contact or call Linda at (562) 818-2594 or Josie at (562) 235-8835.

If you would like to volunteer at Community Hospital of Long Beach, please call Josie directly at (562)235-8835.

We look forward to hearing from you!


Paperwork must be submitted within six weeks.
Each BARK team must complete three supervised library/community events within the first three months after their paperwork is submitted.
BARK will provide all supplies and try to find a school, library, community location for each team.
Each BARK team must visit a location/event at least once every other month.



Meet the evaluator without jumping or barking
Sit politely for petting
Ears and feet touched/fur brushed
Walking by your side with a slack leash - not pulling
Walking through a crowd
Sit, stay, down, come
Stay at end of 20' leash
Come with handler 10' away
Greet another dog team without the dogs meeting - dogs need to stay at handler's side
Reaction to distraction (keys in metal bowl); dog can be interested, but not stressed
Reaction to medical equipment (wheelchair, walker, crutches)
Reaction to children running by; dog can be interested, but not lunge or try to chase
Leave it (walk within 2' of toy or treat) without excessive interest
Crowd hovering over dog with touching and high-pitched voices
Settle within two minutes
Stay with another handler for three minutes without concernAdditional tests may be added.

BARK Therapy Dogs

Beach Animals Reading with Kids