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Labrador Retriever As Therapy Dog

A Labrador Retriever makes a good candidate for therapy dog because the breed is known as well-balanced and versatile breed. A Labrador Retriever has exceptional and working abilities making good work...

A Labrador Retriever makes a good candidate for therapy dog because the breed is known as well-balanced and versatile breed. A Labrador Retriever has exceptional and working abilities making good working dogs and very friendly and mellow disposition making excellent family dog.

Therapy dogs, also called therapy pets or visiting pets refer to a dog that helps people by just visiting them. They are trained to provide affection, comfort, entertainment as well as therapy to people in hospitals, nursing homes, retirement homes, prison, mental institutions, schools especially to special education students and stressful situations such as disaster areas. Dog of any size, color or breed can be a therapy dog but Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers are often used because of their friendliness to strangers in addition to their versatility and mellow disposition.

A therapy dog must be:

Social. The main purpose of therapy dogs are to interact with other people they are visiting. They must enjoy human contact and be content to be petted, hugged and handled. The dog should also get along well with other dogs since others will probably be there at the same time. The dog should love all the people and children and should be accustomed to people on crutches, canes and wheelchairs. If the dog does not enjoy interacting with other people and other dogs, the visit will be no use and may only hurt the patient and will make them feel rejected.

Immunized. A therapy dog must be protected with vaccine against rabies, distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, para-influenza and parvovirus. A yearly physical and stool check as well as heartworm tests are also necessary. Ask for exam certificates or the papers to prove the vaccinations and that your pet has been tested.

Properly trained. The dog must be at least one year of age and have his Canine Good Citizen Certificate. Some organizations for registering therapy dogs require AKC obedience title or have passed a training club graduation class. A dog must also learn to handle sudden loud and strange noises and must learn some simple tricks to entertain the patients or the audience.

Therapy dogs should not be mistaken as service or assistance dogs. Service dogs directly assist humans and have a legal right to accompany their owners. On the other hand, therapy dogs do not provide direct assistance and institutions may invite, limit or prohibit therapy dogs. However, if you have a Labrador Retriever, you can have both therapy and assistance dog in one.

Article Tags: Labrador Retriever, Therapy Dogs

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