I would love to have our 8-month old Golden Retriever puppy become a therapy dog to go into nursing homes. One of our neighbors and his obedience trainer said he would make a great therapy dog. Our local Humane Society has a volunteer pet therapy group and our puppy would have to go through more training. What type of training does it involve besides socializing him? We take him lots of places right now--soccer games, the park, the school car line, downtown, etc. He still needs a lot more work on his obedience training, but his disposition is great--he loves everyone he meets!!!
Oh gosh! 8 months, that's good to start. Just taking him to see people with physical disabilities (For example, a person with cerebral palsy. They have numerous muscle spasms which come unexpectedly. Which is good for training him, to see how he reacts: does he snip? Or let it go by & go back to sharing love?) I do not know a thing about training them, but keep taking him places, letting people pet him, rub his ears, and let other people play rougher than usual with him. Goldies are excellent therapy dogs, and I hope you go far! ---Allie The Chihuahua
http://www.geocities.com/pawstherapypets/PawsTherapyPets.html Here is a link to the Oklahoma chapter of Therapy Dog Training. I got it from another board. I dunno if you live in OK, but I would call that number to see if you can get certification/training on your area! ---Allie The Chihuahua
I know for sure that before your dog does anything, you need to do basic obedience and get his Canine good Citizen certification. After that, you can start working with therapy programs in your area or with your local kennel club to guide you beyond.
Also, if you want to belong to the TDI (Therapy Dogs International), you have to pass a TDI Test, almost like the CGC with a few added distractions, wheel chairs, canes, loud noises, groups of people. It's lots of fun. My cocker has been a member for 2 years now. There is a $35 a year fee, and your pet gets an ID with her picture and a registration number, also a tag with therapy dog on it. Kind of fun, the elderly and sick do love to see the pets.