Is it ok to hold hands? - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-23-2018, 03:55 PM Thread Starter
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Is it ok to hold hands?

I want Bella to be a therapy dog when she grows up. At 5 months, she is developing a habit with me that I find endearing. She holds my arm gently in her mouth to say hello. Or when I am walking, she gently mouths my fingers kind of like we are holding hands. After months of little puppy shark bites, I just find this so sweet and loving, However, I am guessing anything with the mouth should be discouraged if she is to be a therapy dog? I cannot imagine senior citizens or little kids enjoying a dog who mouths their arms and fingers. So do I need to discourage this charming behavior right away?

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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-23-2018, 04:16 PM
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Yes definitely start discouraging it now. I sympathize as my year old has always done the same thing. He's super gentle, but when he is excited he wants to have something in his mouth and will use your arm if its available.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-23-2018, 04:28 PM
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My boy is a therapy dog, who also likes to have things in his mouth..i wish he could carry his socks w him some days!! ...but grabbing hands of children and elderly could be dangerous..I would definitely discourage it as well..good luck....

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-23-2018, 07:25 PM
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Enjoy this personal closeness... as they grow up it may not be something your pup does with anyone else. Besides, the dogs know when they are working and can learn what is and isn't appropriate.
Something I do remember is dogs that offered a paw. Most did it when they were nervous and nails are tough on thin skin or IV's the patients might have. But if you are doing kids, most will ask for a paw so guess it's more about the facility you are visiting.
We had a great little corgie that would sit on her hind legs... owner would make a gun gesture and say bang. Sweet baby fell over! Not just laid down but actually fell over, it was a big hit with the kids!
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-24-2018, 09:05 AM
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My experience with Oscar is that he can differentiate between who it is and is not appropriate to mouth. He likes to hold my hand in his mouth, at times, but never breaks the skin. Conversely, we have taken him over a dozen times to our mother's convalescent home and he has never come close to mouthing any of the clients there. He has also never mouthed any of our grandkids no matter how rough they are with him.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-24-2018, 12:39 PM
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That kind of behavior, including giving "kisses", should be on cue if you''re going to do therapy work.

Jake, 7/12/2018
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Zoe, 5/4/2008 - 10/28/2013
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