Why Goldendoodles Are Excellent Therapy Dogs
It’s no question that Goldendoodles are amazing dogs, as they’re loyal, smart, loving, and adorable. These traits make them incredible therapy dogs, but there are so many more traits that Goldendoodles have that make them particularly great service dogs.
Recently, there has been some confusion about the difference between service dogs, emotional support dogs, and therapy dogs. There is a significant difference between the three, so let’s review that first.
What is a Service Dog?
Service dogs perform tasks that may be difficult for their owner by providing physical assistance for their owner. Service dogs earn the classification of “working dogs” because even when they are out in public with their handlers, they work by intuitively responding to their handlers’ needs. This is why you should never approach and pet a service dog wearing a ve
st as he is working. Breeders originally bred Goldendoodles to create a hypoallergenic service dog for a blind woman who was allergic to dogs.
The Americans with Disabilities Act defines service animals as “dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties.”
To have a Goldendoodle service dog, you must:
- Have a disability
- Have your Goldendoodle trained to specifically assist you with tasks that may be difficult for you due to your disability
What is an Emotional Support Animal?
An Emotional Support Animal is an animal that provides a therapeutic benefit, such as emotional support, comfort, etc to its owner. Emotional Support Animals do not have to undergo specific training to become ESAs, but they must be relatively well-behaved. A licensed mental health professional must consider the owner to have a mental health or psychiatric disability for them to have an Emotional Support Animal.
What is a Therapy Dog?
Therapy dogs volunteer in many different settings to provide comfort and support to people. People comforted by therapy dogs include hospital patients, nursing home residents, schoolchildren, and people in disaster areas. Therapy dogs have to complete the Canine Good Citizen testing. It is not considered that therapy dogs are working dogs because their owners do not have disabilities, in which the dogs are expected to provide care for their owners 24/7. Therapy dogs must be well-behaved, loving, and attentive dogs to provide emotional support to individuals in high-stress and potentially noisy situations.
Why are Goldendoodles Great Therapy Dogs?
Goldendoodles have many appealing traits, making them great pets, but also great service dogs, therapy dogs, and emotional support animals. Some of these traits are listed below.
- Friendly and easygoing: Goldendoodles are tolerant and adaptive, allowing them to be friendly and happy in any situation, even if someone is doing something that could be irritating to another breed.
- Hypoallergenic: Goldendoodles are hypoallergenic, meaning they are less irritating to those with allergies as many do not shed. Since 10-20% of the population has allergies to dogs, Goldendoodles are accommodable even for people with allergies. It is important for dogs frequenting a hospital, school, or nursing home setting to be non-shedding to avoid causing an allergic reaction to those spending time with the dog.
- Easily trained and eager to please: Doodles are known to be easy to train, especially when using positive reinforcement, as they love to please their owners and gain attention from their owners.
- Intuitive and attached to their handlers: Goldendoodles are incredibly intuitive to the people around them. If someone is sick or sad, a Goldendoodle will surely notice and try to comfort them to the best of their ability. Their strong attachment to their handlers makes it easier to train them in commands that may be difficult for other breeds, such as coming or heeling without the assistance of a leash.
- Loving towards everyone: Goldendoodles love everyone (especially if you give them treats or attention). Because of this, they will enjoy spending time with you and do cute things that will put a smile on your face. This makes them incredible therapy dogs because they’re able to cheer up and calm down all kinds of people.
- Can come in a variety of sizes: Goldendoodles are available in many different sizes ranging from petite to mini, medium, or standard sized, making them ideal for people with different needs and living situations. For example, those living in care facilities, apartments, and condo buildings may need smaller dogs, but people that need assistance with physical tasks may need a larger dog.
- Extremely smart: Goldendoodle parent breeds are ranked very high on the intelligence scale, with Poodles coming in second and Golden Retrievers being the fourth most intelligent breed. Since their parents are so smart, obviously, Goldendoodles rank right up there with them.
- Sociable: As a social breed, they do well in busy and noisy environments and are often friendly and gentle with strangers. Their sociable nature helps them interact comfortably with individuals in different therapy settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, or schools.
Offering Therapy Dog services is Rewarding
Bringing your well-trained therapy dog to high-stress situations like schools, nursing homes, and hospitals is considered volunteer work. The handlers of therapy dogs truly love what they do and love allowing their dog to spread joy and comfort to people who may need it.
The main purpose of therapy dogs is to provide entertainment, support, and cheerful vibes to students, patients, and nursing home residents.
Therapy work is an act of kindness by people passionate about helping others. Providing your dog’s services is voluntary, but handlers often express that the happiness they spread is a better reward than monetary compensation. Goldendoodles have a gift with people, which makes their job easy.
Why are therapy dogs important?
- Emotional support: Research has shown that a friendly pet can help a person control daily anxiety, regulate emotional arousal, and improve mood. Therapy dogs provide comfort, companionship, and unconditional love to needy individuals. Therapy dogs can offer a soothing effect that helps to reduce stress, improve one’s overall outlook, and reduce feelings of loneliness. Interaction with a therapy dog can not only help improve a person’s overall emotional well-being but also provide a source of comfort during challenging times.
- Physical health benefits: Research shows that spending time with therapy dogs can positively affect physical health. Research has linked interacting with animals to reducing stress, lowering blood pressure, improving heart health, and increasing physical activity. The presence of therapy dogs has also been demonstrated to enhance the healing process.
- Mental health benefits: Therapy dogs are valuable in promoting mental health. They can help individuals struggling with mental health disorders such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and anxiety. Spending time with therapy dogs can boost mood, increase happiness, and provide a sense of purpose and meaning.
- Social interaction: Goldendoodles and other therapy dogs are super sociable and loving breeds, so therapy dogs serve as social facilitators encouraging social interaction and communication among humans. They can help individuals overcome social barriers and build connections with others. Hospitals, nursing homes, and schools often bring therapy dogs who engage with patients, residents, and students while promoting conversation and socialization. Therapy dogs can also offer companionship to those who don’t want or are uncomfortable with human interactions.
- Educational and therapeutic benefits: In educational settings, therapy dogs can assist in improving students’ reading skills and motivation to participate in educational activities. Children who may feel self-conscious or anxious about reading aloud often find comfort in reading to a therapy dog. If students have felt judged about their reading ability by their parents, classmates, or teachers, reading aloud to a therapy dog would allow them to feel much less judged. Additionally, therapy dogs are utilized in various therapeutic environments, such as counseling centers and rehabilitation facilities, to support and complement traditional therapy methods.
- Overall well-being: The presence of therapy dogs positively impacts people’s overall well-being. They offer unconditional love and acceptance, which creates a safe and supportive environment. Therapy dogs provide a source of joy and happiness, helping to improve the quality of life for many individuals.
How to Train Your Dog to Be a Therapy Dog?
- Socialize your puppy or dog to new places, people, and situations. This is essential to allow your dog to be comfortable and behave in various situations.
- Complete the AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) training with your dog. Some of the necessary behaviors and commands for therapy work include “leave it,” “watch me, “”stay,” loose-leash walking, and not jumping on people.
- A dog handler could also advance to having their dog complete the AKC Advanced Canine Good Citizen (AKC Community Canine) title if desired. This title demonstrates that your dog can behave in real-life settings that could be distracting and stressful.
- Following the AKC CGC training, enroll your dog in a therapy dog class to prepare you and your dog for visits with patients in therapeutic settings, hospitals, schools, etc. Most therapy dog classes will include an evaluation of your dog’s skills at the end of the class.
- Once you’ve passed your test, you can register your dog with a national therapy dog organization to begin visiting and positively impacting people’s lives. However, you should be vigilant of your dog’s training and behaviors and ensure they’re the best therapy dog they can be. It is important that therapy dogs enjoy their job.
Fox Creek Farms Therapy Dogs
On our website, we have listed 72 Goldendoodles that are service dogs or therapy dogs, all of which were produced by Fox Creek Farms. These Goldendoodles have earned different titles in the Service and Therapy Dog fields and the testing requirements for a dog to earn its Canine Good Citizen certification. At Fox Creek Farms, we highly value service and therapy dogs, and we are thrilled to contribute to enabling people to access emotional, physical, and therapeutic benefits through therapy dogs. In fact, when we have a litter of Goldendoodle puppies for sale, we accommodate those seeking a service dog candidate first. Your service dog trainer may want to discuss each puppy with us before choosing the one that is right for you.
All in all, therapy dogs make important contributions to the world. Goldendoodles are equipped with the attributes that allow them to become amazing therapy dogs. They are easy to train, hypoallergenic, super friendly, and would put a smile on anyone’s face. Handlers genuinely look forward to volunteering with their therapy dogs as it is known to be highly rewarding work. Therapy dogs provide many benefits for people, such as offering emotional support, and improving physical health, mental health, and overall well-being. Training a therapy dog can require a lot of hard work and dedication. However, the manners and behaviors taught are the same as what would create a well-behaved family pet making the effort worthwhile for all dog owners. The owners then open up the opportunity for dogs to help others. Fox Creek Farm would like to thank all their dedicated Goldendoodle families who have taken dog training and ownership to the next level by volunteering to share their dogs with others in need.