My Labrador Retriever is now months old I want him to become a therapy dog How do I go about accomplishing this

This is a really noble thought! Now you need to assess if your Lab fits into the general characteristics that suit the profile of a therapy dog.

S Is your dog well behaved? S Does he have a calm and unflappable nature? S Is he obedient?

S Does he readily respond to commands such as sit, stand, down, heel, come, etc. S Is he comfortable with strangers?

S Does he allow himself to be petted by people whom he has just met?

S Does he willingly shake hands or give paw to them? S Will he be happy to plant a slobbering kiss or lick on the face of an almost total stranger? S Will he stand calmly by if children want to stroke him or hug him?

If your answer to most of the aforesaid questions has been yes, then you can contact organizations such as Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) or Animal Facilitated Therapy (AFT), etc. Such organizations are actively involved in providing therapy to the sick, elderly, or people recuperating from illnesses using the warmth and affection of animals such as dogs. They will evaluate the animal to see whether he is suited for therapy work. They will assess his overall personality, temperament, and behavior. They will then guide you about what course of action you must take to make your dog a professional therapist dog.

Your dog will then have to get used to the sights, sounds, and smells of hospitals and convalescent homes. Having a therapy dog is a commitment. So make sure that it is what you really want. You should also make an honest evaluation about whether or not your dog is suited for such work.

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