When is a dog too old to begin a therapy career? It really all depends on the dog and owner. If the dog is in good health and can be handled all over and can learn the required skills, and get clearance from your veterinarian, then go for it. You may not have as long to volunteer, but what a great time you and your dog can have in the later years. Petey was over ten years old when he started and he has worked for several years now and shows no signs of slowing down. He can pass his renewal test with ease.
Some dogs however with age do have health concerns such as chronic arthritis or other ailments that make it painful to be touched or change position. Or they need to learn a new way of communicating if they have failing sight or hearing, such as touch commands. Being on certain medications such as for seizures, may prevent them from this path. You never want to stress your pet and as they age their assignments may change.
However, Coco worked until she was almost fifteen years old and no one knew Kirby’s age but he was well over fourteen when he went on his last school visit. And Petey is on his way to being our most senior working dog and enjoys every single minute of it!