Therapy dogs offer comfort, unselfish love and affection both to kids and adults as well when facing difficult and rough times. Dogs and especially therapy dogs are able to bond with people they spend time with. This can positively affect their mental and emotional well-being.
How does a dog become a therapy dog ?
Therapy dogs are sometimes confused with service dogs or assistance dogs – which need more complex and accurate training in order to aid humans with mental or physical disabilities or in order to detect, track dangers or protect lives. The process of training a therapy dog is much easier.
Therapy dog candidates should pass assessments in order to acknowledge they have a calm and unexcitable temper and are not easily frightened by noisy kids or strange places. If you are thinking to register your dog as a certified therapy dog there are a number of specialized institutions depending on the area you live in that can help you in the process.
2. What are the ideal breeds for a therapy dogs ?
As you can probably suspect the ideal breed for therapy dogs is the Labrador as they are born with a gentle nature, but other dog breeds that are very good at this are:
- Border Collies & other Collies
- Golden Retrievers
- German Shepherds
Of course, any dog can become a therapy dog, even stray dogs if they pass certain evaluation and registration. You should keep in mind that not only dogs are suitable as therapy pets but also cats, ponies, etc.
3. Where do you find therapy dogs “at work” ?
You can find a lot of therapy dogs in hospitals, nursing homes or schools in order to calm patients or students that need extra help or sometimes just a smile.
Each day is unique for a dog and his owner but it is certain that it will imply lots of smiles and even hugs and petting for the therapy dog.
3.1 Therapy dogs in schools
Sometimes kids can be stressed or nervous in class when asked to perform some tasks like reading aloud or presenting a homework. This is where a therapy dog can come in handy an alleviate the stress.
Children can improve their reading skills by performing that task for the therapy dog for instance and focusing on him rather on the rest of the class. This way the pressure can be reduced and the children’s confidence can get a boost.
There is more than just studying of course as dogs are also to be found playing with kids during breaks.
3.2 Therapy dogs in nursing homes and hospitals
When people find themselves in nursing homes they usually can no longer care for a dog. So, sometimes therapy dogs are welcomed in nursing homes because people miss being around animals; and they miss offering and getting affection from them. It helps the residents especially if they are depressed, withdrawn or sick.
The same applies in hospitals. Animals that spend time with patients can drastically improve how they feel and cope with the treatment and recovery. And not only the sick are happy to see them around but staff too !
Getting ready to certify your dog for therapy ?
In conclusion if you think your dog would be suitable as a therapy dog you should know that this activity can be rewarding both for you and your pet. Witnessing the difference your dog can have in other people’s lives is truly fulfilling.