Golden Retriever Dog Forums banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,
My question is: how old do you think a dog needs to be in order to be a therapy dog? Here's my situation...
I took my Golden through level 4 obedience by the time he was about 7 months old, and then we took time off because I knew he was going to go through an adolescence period. He is now almost 20 months old and I just took him back to level 4 last week. I was extremely frustrated with his performance and we had to put his gentle leader back on and use a LOT of tasty treats (neither of which we can use for the CGC or TDI). He is SO trainable and will do anything for food. However, he is also distractible and unpredictable in a young dog kind of way. We're taking the CGC test on Sunday and pretty sure he's not going to pass, but we'll try it anyway. I took him to level 4 classes 4 times last week and 5 times this week - I'm VERY dedicated to training him to be a therapy dog. With all of this in mind, what do you all think? If he doesn't pass, what do you think our next steps should be (continue level 4 classes, try some other classes in the mean time, take time off so he can mature a bit)? Thank you so much for your help and wisdom. Any helpful tips for the CGC are much appreciated as well! His worst skill is sit for a stranger which of course happens first. He just gets so dang excited to say hi to people. THANK YOU! 10250300_903484439668200_4427429764691332606_n.jpg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,259 Posts
Max is a certified therapy dog with Love on a Leash. But he was not ready for therapy work until he was well past 2 years old--at least 2 1/2. We went through basic, intermediate and advanced obedience classes, but he needed to be a little older before he was ready to do therapy work. He just needed to become a little more mature. You may need to give your boy a little more time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,492 Posts
Sailor just got her CGC in December at 12 months old. I went into the test knowing she would not pass, and figured it would be just practice. She ended up being the star that day! Everything was perfect, like she knew how important it was. Three weeks earlier I could not even get her to stay!

About three weeks earlier I took away treats from my CGC classes. For some reason, with the treats, she was overly excited. I also found out I had to change the tone in my voice to a deeper voice for her stay, that fixed that issue.

I do hear that it can be common for some dogs not to be ready for CGC until they were two or three, but if your dog was able to do all that obedience, I am sure he is ready.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,086 Posts
To become a therapy dog with TDI, the dog must be at least one year of age. Not sure of other organizations.

Sometimes you just need to wait for the dog to mature. In the meantime, keep practicing the obedience.
 
  • Like
Reactions: cubbysan

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,389 Posts
Well by now maybe you've had the CGC test. Hope it went well. Pet Partners (formerly Delta) requires that dogs be at least a year old before being tested. I think many Goldens aren't settled enough for therapy work until 3 years old or more. If you think your dog isn't quite ready I'd advise continuing socialization as much as possible, getting out and meeting lots of people of different ages and types, walking on lots of different surfaces, going in and out of unfamiliar places etc. Some training centers do offer therapy dog classes which are usually geared toward passing the certification test of one of the therapy dog organizations.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,959 Posts
Maddie passed the CGC just before her six month date, therapy at 15 months old (we didn't do the therapy classes). She then was panicked at the children when she went to visits. It took quite a few months for her to decide they weren't going to eat her. Now, at 2.8 months old (and thousands of teeny treats later) she is super with kids.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,515 Posts
With BaWaaJige is he is a very hyper boy in the field but settles down to business when we enter a school( reading program) or hospital/nursing home. I do make sure to exercise him before we go on any visits and he knows that when we leave he is going to get to play some more. He got his CGC and TDI on his 1st birthday.

Waase loved her first therapy visit we missed the second one as I was ill but she got her CGC at 8.5mos went on a visit 2 days later. She is calm and easily goes to people for some loving.
I suggest you exercise your pup before any classes so he can settle down to the matter at hand.
 

·
Golden lover
Joined
·
64 Posts
Update: Bella passed her TDI test on Saturday. She is 13 months old. I think it depends on the dog and the amount of training and practice that a person does. I have been living and breathing dog classes and training since I got her at 8 weeks of age as I knew that this is what I wanted us to do. She has had her boneheaded moments in class but really accepted the challenge and did an awesome job during the test. This does not mean that her training is over. I think that this will always be a part of the process. If the photo comes through is it Bella being read to during class.
 

Attachments

1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top