Types of Therapy Dogs
There are several different types of therapy dogs to help support an array of needs. Therapy dogs are trained to be at ease in new environments and be comfortable around different people. With a calm and confident temperament being a necessity, therapy dogs should be comfortable when in unfamiliar surroundings and interacting with strangers.
Autism Therapy Dogs
Autism assistance dogs undergo training to support people with autism and their families. A therapy dog for autism can provide support in areas such as communication skills, emotional understanding, social relationships and tactile perception. For more information click here.
PTSD Therapy Dogs
Therapy dogs trained to support those living with PTSD can help improve their overall quality of life. The best therapy dogs for PTSD receive training to reduce the impact of specific symptoms affecting their owner, guiding them back to a sense of safety and encouraging positive interactions and connections with other people and the wider community. PTSD animal therapy takes advantage of the close human-animal bond that can exist between a therapy dog and their owner. This bond promotes calmness and a sense of safety that can help support those with PTSD. For more information click here.
Anxiety Therapy Dog
An anxiety assistance dog can provide a host of benefits for their owners, including reducing stress, anxiety, loneliness and even depression. By seeking the help of a therapy dog for depression or anxiety, a handler can experience the positive connections between a human and an animal, ultimately improving their overall mental health. Engaging with anxiety therapy dogs can help to support people suffering from anxiety (e.g. by offering body contact or even deep pressure stimulation to reduce stress levels).
Stress Therapy Dog
The use of therapy dogs for stress can help in different ways, such as by easing loneliness and encouraging exercise. Therapy dogs can also provide a sense of connection in challenging situations, where people may require extra support.
Therapy Dog Breeds
While some breeds are more commonly considered ideal for becoming a therapy dog, it is extremely important to take the individual dog into consideration rather than only considering the breed. It is important to remember that every personality type can be present within a breed and that breed is not a personality type in itself. Not all dogs meet the high criteria required for becoming a therapy dog (irrespective of breed).
Benefits of a Therapy Dog
As we have mentioned, there are several benefits that come with trusting a therapy dog to support people with emotional and mental health needs. Their training and temperaments allow therapy dogs to relieve and reduce stress, reduce anxiety, build confidence and help people to develop social skills.
Caring for Therapy Dogs
Like any dog, it is important to provide quality dog care for therapy dogs to keep them happy and healthy, such as dog exercise (e.g. walking your dog), providing sources of enrichment and mental stimulation and regular vet check-ups. Providing a safe and secure environment where your dog can grow and thrive is essential when caring for your therapy dog. Treating your dog with an effective parasite control product such as NexGard SPECTRA® will protect them against fleas, ticks, mites, heartworm and intestinal worms.
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