Benefits of Training Golden Retrievers & Vizslas as Therapy Dogs

Benefits of Training Golden Retrievers & Vizslas as Therapy Dogs

Today, trainers are able to work with many different breeds of dogs to teach them how to provide therapeutic benefits to their human companions. However, Golden Retrievers and Vizslas are two breeds that stand out from the rest when it comes to serving as therapy dogs. As you explore potential new dogs to assist with you or your loved one’s daily activities, here is what you should know about why these two breeds offer so many benefits for improving your life.

Loyalty & Friendliness

These two breeds are well known for their "velcro" personalities that cause them to bond with their owners and stick to them like glue. For a therapy dog, this is essential since you need to know that your dog will stay by your side and provide assistance throughout the day. The friendly, loyal nature of these breeds make them ideal as therapy dogs for children with autism since they provide constant reassurance during times that might cause anxiety such as venturing out into a crowd. You can also enjoy knowing that these therapy dogs are welcome in many public situations since their demeanor is calm and relaxed enough to blend in well with the general population.

Strength & Energy

Vizslas are built for hard work, which is important for an animal companion that will be helping out with your daily routine. Vizslas can be trained to carry small amounts of weight on their back, which can help those with mobility issues. Golden Retrievers are also wonderful for retrieving objects and bringing them to their human companions when given the command. This is helpful for those who need assistance with daily activities such as getting their medication when it is time for another dose. The energetic nature of these breeds also means they never tire of going above and beyond to help the humans they serve. Whether a person is performing therapeutic exercises such as tossing a ball for fetch or needs to take a walk through the community, a Golden Retriever or Vizsla will be right there, full of enthusiasm and energy that makes the activity more enjoyable.


Therapy dogs must undergo rigorous training to teach them how to behave properly in different situations while also responding to specific commands to provide assistance to their companions. Although not every dog will be up to the task, Golden Retrievers and Vizslas enter life as puppies with engaging personalities that respond very well to training. Ideally, those who plan to use Golden Retrievers and Vizslas as therapy dogs should plan to begin training early since there is a greater window of opportunity for learning that ends between eight and twelve weeks of age. This allows these breeds to learn how to socialize with other dogs and their companions early on. Since therapy dogs will be encountering many different types of people and environments, early exposure to new experiences ensures they will successfully adapt to changing situations. It is also important to note that those who plan to train their dog to accommodate to specific situations, such as a walking alongside a wheelchair, should introduce these skills during puppyhood for the best results with training.

Adaptable Temperaments

During the course of a day, therapy dogs will be called upon to perform many different tasks that require adjusting their behavior to fit the circumstances. Both Golden Retrievers and Vizslas are capable of being energetic during therapeutic exercise session, yet they can also be calm if they are serving as an emotional support animal. The boundless energy and joy exuded by this breed makes them a wonderful addition to any family, and their owners can enjoy free time with their therapy dogs when they are not working. This increases the opportunities for bonding for those who will be spending twenty-four hours a day with their therapy dog.

Versatile Assistance

Therapy dogs can serve a variety of purposes. For those with emotional or behavioral disorders, therapy dogs serve as a source of calm support that gives people strength to carry on through their daily activities. People with physical disabilities may require a therapy dog to help them maintain their independence though carrying out routine tasks such as bringing a phone during an emergency or answering a door. Some people require both types of help from their service animal. For this reason, those who train therapy dogs often recommend these two breeds since their personalities and easy trainability make them ideal for providing different types of assistance that can fit a variety of needs.

Health & Vitality

Golden Retrievers and Vizslas are noted for their long, healthy lives that will enable you to enjoy many years together with your trained therapy dog. This is important because the bond you share will enhance the quality of assistance that a therapy dog can provide. These two breeds also serve as excellent motivators when it comes to getting their owners to initiate and complete their required health regimens. Whether your Golden Retriever is wagging their tail joyfully as they bring you their leash or your Vizsla nudges your arm to play a game of fetch, you will find it impossible to turn them down for a good exercise session. Over time, those who employ these breeds as therapy dogs enjoy benefits to their health that come from living an active lifestyle that promotes their overall enjoyment out of life. Due to the vital role that therapy dogs play in a person’s life, it is important to spend time carefully getting to know a potential new animal. Take the time to visit with potential breeders and learn about their training methods before you commit to a specific dog to be used in therapy. While the process can be time consuming, you can already be two steps ahead by focusing on choosing a Golden Retriever or Vizsla as a therapy dog because their adaptable personalities and easy trainability will increase how quickly you are able to engage them in your everyday life. As you begin your search, remember that building a relationship with your therapy dog during puppyhood paves the way for a strong partnership that improves your quality of life.

Should You Consider Training a Therapy Dog?

Dog lovers know that a well-trained pet can make a big impact on the lives of those who interact with it on a regular basis. These days, many physical and mental health professionals prescribe therapy dogs for their patients, seeing how much help it can be to have visits from a furry friend. If you have ever considered training your dog to become a therapy dog, you may have wondered what you have to do.

What Does a Therapy Dog Do?

In general, therapy dogs are used for either by their owners or by the people they visit. Some owners take their dogs to hospitals, retirement homes or other therapeutic settings to provide companionship for patients. Any breed of dog can become a therapy dog, and with the right training, even a household pet can become certified to provide the emotional support these dogs are best known for.

How to Get Started

The best way to start the process of certification is to get in contact with a therapy-dog organization that has a good reputation. Searching online can be a great way to find resources in your area. Otherwise, you may want to speak with someone who has worked with an organization that is located near you.

Complete the Training

Once you have found a therapy organization, you may be able to begin a training program. Typically, these organizations offer their own programs that may include the following:
  • Evaluations
  • Obedience training
  • Therapy training
  • Follow-ups
Most of these training programs evaluate both you and your dog as a team, and they should use positive reinforcement as a training method.


When your certification is complete, you can begin volunteering with your training dog. It may be wise to contact schools, hospitals or other organizations to find out where help is needed. You may be able to make a visit schedule and begin helping those in need. A therapy dog is wonderful tool for many people, and you may be just the team that they need for healing opportunities.

Benefits of Training Golden Retrievers & Vizslas as Therapy Dogs