Labrador Retrievers have long been used as work dogs, as their intelligence and social nature makes them suited for a wide range of jobs. Nowadays, dogs aren’t used as often in the fields and for hunting. Instead, many Labs find work as therapy dogs.
Here are a few reasons Labrador Retrievers make the perfect therapy dogs.
It’s not easy being a therapy dog. The job is demanding, and requires intelligence, alertness, and stamina. It’s also important that any dog working in a therapy know how to interact with people and other animals.
Therapy dogs often work in crowded hospitals and other settings with lots of stimulation. A good therapy dog knows how to stay calm around new people and in loud, busy areas. They respond appropriately to human contact, not jumping up, barking, or biting.
Labradors have all of the traits needed for a good therapy dog, and they have them in spades. They are one of the most social dog breeds out there, and they tend to be gentle around children and other animals.
1. Smart and Curious
But they are more than just cuddly balls of fur. Labs are smart, always paying attention to the environment around them. They were originally bred as work dogs, and these skills make them perfect in therapy environments.
They can react quickly if something goes wrong, making them well suited for work in hospitals. They also have enough energy to make it through a day of therapy visits without getting tired.
2. Plenty of Energy
Labs are also very high energy, requiring a lot of activity every day. Work as a therapy dog is very demanding and requires a lot of stamina. Labs love to work and be around people all day, making them well suited to the demands of the job.
Although a Lab’s energy can make them a great therapy dog, it can be a downside if they are not properly trained. That’s why it’s important that you lab have basic obedience training before they start as a therapy dog.
3. Loyal and Loving
A good therapy dog has to be capable of forming strong bonds with the people around them. They are there to create a relationship and improve people’s lives. Labs are one of the most loyal breeds, forming strong attachments with humans.
They are also very sensitive to changes in mood, and can tell when something is wrong. This makes them excellent as comfort animals, as they will give you attention and love when you need it most.
If you think that your lab would make a good fit as a therapy dog, then you can look into the training process. The first step is to make sure your dog has all of the basic obedience commands down pat.
You’ll need to show a Canine Good Citizen Certificate if you want them to train as a therapy dog. You’ll also have to get some form of obedience title from the American Kennel Club or some other certification showing that they’ve passed a basic obedience class.
Once you’ve gotten past the basics, you can start the real therapy dog training. Your lab will have to be at least a year old before they can begin. The American Kennel Club awards titles to therapy dogs based on the number of visits they make to hospitals or other therapy visits.
As your dog conducts more and more visits, they will get awarded with more titles. After 400 visits, they become a Distinguished Therapy Dog.
Therapy and service dogs are often mixed up. However, they are very different roles, so it’s important to understand the difference between the two.
Service dogs have specialized training that allows them to help people in distress. They are often used for people with disabilities, helping them navigate and move around. Because of their training, service dogs have access to facilities that therapy dogs often do not.
Therapy dogs have undergone basic obedience training, but are not trained to handle medical emergencies or help disabled people. Instead, they provide comfort and emotional support to people in distress.
Since they are not specially trained, therapy dogs don’t have the same privileges as service dogs, and may not be able to enter certain areas in public places and hospitals.
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