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Hello Everyone...We are interested in having our Doodle go through therapy training so we can take her to hospitals, nursing homes, etc.Our Doodle is one year and four months old now. Her temperament will need some work (while she does have a good foundation). Can anyone recommend a company in the Maryland area to do this? Is it too late to train her as a therapy dog?

Thank you in advance.

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I don't think she's talking about a board and train. I think "down for a prolonged period of time without the owner" means holding a down stay for a longer period of time, where the owner walks out of view. Kind of a combination of an extended down-stay and the part of the CGC test where you leave the dog with another handler and leave the vicinity for 3 minutes or whatever it is. 

Oh! If that's the case I completely misread that. I still wouldn't do a board and train ;)

But the answer to that question is no. That's one of the things I like about the program. You never let go of the leash. Never. You can get a second leash so someone can "walk" the dog, but you are always with them and always in control of them yourself.

I would never do board and train either. 

Here's an example of what I think makes a dog's temperament well-suited for therapy work. 

I have absolutely no interst in doing therapy work with a dog and never have. It's just not something that interests me. 
But I have begun to consider it recently because Jasper has seemed to have the perfect temperament for it almost since the day he came home. 
He loves people. ALL people. Young, old, babies, men, teenagers, service people who come to install a washer, painters, paramedics...you get the idea. He has always been this way. 

He has NO fear. Zero, zip. Nothing fazes him. In obedience class, when they turned on a big industrial vacuum cleaner and the other dogs ran the other way, Jasper ran right over to see what this thing was. He is not startled or spooked by bicycles, skateboards, strollers, people with walkers, fireworks, thunder, you name it.
He loves to be held and cuddled. He loves to be picked up and held by anyone. He will lie in your lap for hours. 
He settles down well when you are busy. He did this even at 4 months of age. He is content to lie calmly when company comes over and people are talking to one another and not paying much attention to him. 
He is never nervous about going into a strange place. he's excited and curious about this new adventure.
He can be handled anywhere by anyone.

These things are all about temperament, and they are basically the result of mother nature and one hell of an amazing breeder.


Behaviorally, he needs a ton of work. He pulls on leash, steals and eats shoes, socks, Kleenex, yoga pants, etc, his recall is iffy, he jumps up on everyone, and he won't hold a stay more than 60 seconds. I could go on with the list of his behavioral issues, but you get the idea.
These things can all be taught, trained, corrected, modified. They are behavioral. 
Hopefully this clarifies the difference between behavior and temperament. 

I love reading about Jasper. He just sounds so great. It's funny, Katie who I raised thinks the vacuum cleaner is the devil. Ava and Maggie couldn't care less about it. I actually have to crate Katie while I vacuum. She attacks the tires. 

Jack was very afraid of vacuum cleaners. That improved as he got older and was with me longer, but he still always left the immediate area when a vacuum cleaner appeared. 

Poor Katie. I use the leaf blower attachment of our shop vac as a “dryer” after bathing Gavin. The things I put him through! :)

Like everyone is suggesting, therapy dogs are born not made in my opinion.  The two most important qualities I think are a genuine love and enthusiasm for ALL people. All of them. And the ability to settle. Gavin had the proper temperament in spades from a very young age. I did not get him certified until he was 2.5 years old though. He was simply too immature and i had to work on things like pulling and jumping up (he is 80lbs). Work on the thing with men, Also exposure to everything you can think of. Good luck. It is a very rewarding way to volunteer.

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