There is a reason that the Ggolden Retriever is one of America's favorite dogs. With their gorgeous feathered coats ranging from blonde to bronze, their sweet expressions and happy good natures, they are hard to beat. For the same reasons that Goldens make an appealing family pet, they can be an appealing therapy dog. Goldens are often work-driven as well, since they were bred to be hunting retrievers, and are a favorite as service dogs. Your Golden Retriever can be an amazing therapy dog, bringing joy and comfort and aiding in the healing process for hospital patients.
Goldens are driven to please and most enjoy work, but they can also be very high energy. If your Golden is bouncing off the walls and can't seem to contain herself, you will need to expel her excess energy and teach her self-control before beginning training. Some dogs simply need more time to mature and get control of themselves before they can begin advanced training. Be realistic and patient with your dog, being careful not to over-extend your expectations.
Your Golden Retriever should have dependable basic obedience and have good leash manners before you begin therapy training. If your retriever doesn't understand concepts like "calm" and has not yet developed self-control, it is best to master these skills at the start of training. Your dog will benefit from having good exercise prior to therapy training. She should be relaxed, happy, and ready to learn. You don't want to wear her out to the point of being exhausted, but you do want her to have gotten the wiggles out. A good game of fetch or a run through a makeshift agility course are good ways to burn off some steam.