Does my dog have what it takes to be a therapy dog?
So I need so opinions from you all.
I am considering training captain to be a therapy dog to volunteer at children's hospitals, old folks homes etc...
The reason why is because he is the first dog I have had that has a very even, mellow temperament. BUT, he is the kind of dog that would love having a "job". I plan on giving him a job regardless of the therapy dog work (dock jumping) but would like to consider this as well. He has met at this point people, and children and is fine. He has met other dogs and usually ignores them. People gush over him because he is so beautiful and with his even keeled personality, and his intelligence when it comes to training, I think he could be a great candidate. Myself, being self employed, I would have plenty of time to commit to his training and preparing him for this.
He is very polite, and I once had a child rush over when I was walking him, and before I could say anything or even knew they were coming up to us, they started petting him. I held my breath for a second, and then realized captain was totally unaffected. I looked at his body language, it was relaxed. His hackles were not up, he was not stiff, no obvious signs of fear or aggression. He seemed like he could care less, like it was a nothing thing you know?
He has great recall and pretty much follows me everywhere, I don't even really need to recall him. He so far can do a "handshake", sit, stay, lay down, accepts friendly strangers and dogs. And children. He is young enough I think I could go ahead and start this.
Here is where I need advice, I have two major negatives when it comes to him becoming a therapy dog and I am not sure if they are deal breakers or not.
1. He isn't overly crazy in love with meeting new people or animals. He doesn't act out, he isnt mean or anything, and doesn't seem to dislike it, but he just seems to care less. Like he would be fine if they were there, or they weren't. He is aloof, is that the right term? Anyway, I thought to be a therapy dog, the dogs have to be super friendly happy go lucky when meeting people. This isn't captain. He has more of a "hippie" mentality, like he just kind of rolls with whatever and it's all good, everything is cool, he doesn't care.
2. Despite my concerns of him not being a barker, he has finally come out of his shell! And he barks... A lot hahah!!, it doesn't bother me though. It's just that when he is excited he barks. When he sees new people or new things he will bark. And then after a minute he calms down and just minds his own business and ignores everything. It's more of a "look mommy there is someone there" type of bark. Or maybe he just likes the sound of his own voice. I'm sure it is something I could train out of him, but I don't really mind it. If he was a therapy dog though, I think I would need to train him not to bark right?
Sorry this is sooo long. Anyway, your opinions would be great! Thank you!