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Mastiffs => Old English Mastiff Discussions => : michaelbearsmom October 02, 2005, 05:02:13 AM

: Mastiff's being trained as therapy dog?
: michaelbearsmom October 02, 2005, 05:02:13 AM
I've owned several mastiff through the years and for the first time I have a dog free home. And it very sad..... So I'm starting over with a Apricot male mastiff to arrive 12/17/05 He will be named Gabriel. And I want him to be trained as early as we can. And I want him to be a threapy dog. Does anyone where to go to get such traning. I want him to be able to go to special needs schools, (I have an autistic 4 yr old son, and mastiff are wonderful with them) I'd also like to take him to Homes for the Ederly, and possible children's hospital. Does anyone know what you need to do to do that?

Thanks Denise
New to web
: Re: Mastiff's being trained as therapy dog?
: BABY HUEY October 02, 2005, 05:18:28 AM
Yes, great question.  I have been told my dog Louie ( a Neo Mastiff) would be an excellent therapy dog or did they call it a compassion companion. anyways, I too would like the info.

: Re: Mastiff's being trained as therapy dog?
: pndlake October 02, 2005, 05:37:34 AM
Here's the link to Therapy Dog International.  This site should answer all of your questions and even give you what will be needed to pass the test.  Good Luck.  Niki just passed the test and you can tell by my Avatar what the Therapy Dog Vest looks like.  Good luck.

Any other questions, just ask.

: Re: Mastiff's being trained as therapy dog?
: ZooCrew October 02, 2005, 06:32:05 AM
I'm working on training Keiko for therapy work.  I was going to do it here in CA, but I think I will wait until we move to IL.  She needs a bit more leash work.

I do know you have to wait until I think they are 2 for most groups.  But you can never start too early for training.  My Gunther has a perfect temperment for it, but until he is 2, I have to work on his fear of things on wheels, such as wheelchairs, walkers, etc.  He's already come a long way.  He's no longer afraid of baby strollers.   :D
: Re: Mastiff's being trained as therapy dog?
: michaelbearsmom October 02, 2005, 09:11:47 AM
Peggy, Thanks so much for your comments. How old is your dog?
where did you go for training? How long did it take? What age can they begian there therapy train? and be certified?
thanks Denise
: Re: Mastiff's being trained as therapy dog?
: pndlake October 02, 2005, 11:59:25 AM
Well, I trained Niki myself because she worked in my video store for years delivering movies to people's cars and a bunch of other duties.   So after we closed the stores, passing the therapy dog test was a piece of cake.  Really it is not too hard and the biggest help is to take the dog everywhere you can and be around a lot of people, noises and activity.  Places like the parking lots of large stores, inside malls, parks, county fairs and on and on. It is not a requirement that they be professionally trained.  I had to teach her to ignore other dogs because people often came to our store with dogs with them or in their cars.  After years of that I took her to a dog park and she was mortified that other dogs were sniffing her butt  ;D ;D ;D.   That was OK.

 She is ten and still going strong.  Old is OK but the dog must be at least one year and the handler must be over eighteen.  I take her to assisted living homes and tell everybody she is seventy years old and they love that.  I truly believe a dog needs to be at least two years old to begin heavy duty therapy training but TDI only requires that they be one.  It is best to start training when they are pups. 

: Re: Mastiff's being trained as therapy dog?
: graymeiste May 31, 2006, 04:06:46 PM
I'm looking into the therapy dog training as well.  I've come across are the following three organizations that certify such dogs:
Therapy Dogs International (
Delta Society (
Therapy Dogs Inc. (

The general guidelines seem to be:
1. One year old
2.  AKC Canine Good Citizen is either required or a very good general training regime for the dogs with some added in work on dealing with distractions/wheeled vehicles/carts.

Delta has multiple levels of certification for different kinds of hospitals/homes.

Otherwise, call your local humane society or shelter.  They can usually put you in touch with local groups who do therapy work.

Hope it helps!