Can you imagine never getting to see or touch a dog again, ever?
If you’re anything like us you see dogs everywhere you look and still don’t see enough of them. Imagine if the opportunity was taken away altogether of living with a dog? That’s where the amazingness of therapy dog teams come in. So, let’s take a look at just how special they are.
Dog Is Love
What is the difference between therapy dogs and assistance dogs? Assistance dogs are trained very specifically to perform explicit roles to provide their guardian or handler with assistance and most often live in the home alongside the person. Therapy dogs visit and give love, simply making lives better by existing.
Dog Is Health
Scientific evidence has proven that stroking a dog for 15 minutes can reduce a human’s blood pressure by 10% as well as increase the production of feel-good hormones including serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin. Humans have a very special relationship with dogs, one that naturally makes us feel better just by having warm hair to touch.
Dogs Are Honest
Dogs are honest about how they feel and with recent studies show use whether they like an activity, place or interaction with very blatant body language. Recent studies on the welfare of therapy dogs have shown that all dogs prefer certain activities and if we watch them carefully we can naturally keep the dog within the activity they like best. This is really important because dog welfare is paramount when working as a therapy dog team.
They Are Relaxed In Their Work
A recent study has shown that dogs working in a therapy dog situation have the same saliva cortisol levels in the hospital as they do at home, telling us that the well-suited therapy dog offers comfort and friendship, without even getting worried or stressed. It’s vital to remember though, that well-suited is the operative word. Just as many of us are not cut out for roles as therapists, many of our dogs are not either.
Therapy Dogs Have A Long List of Achievements
The dogs who work as therapy animals have been shown to help tackle depression, stress, anxiety, panic attacks and so many other disorders.
Could Your Dog Be A Therapy Dog?
Now let’s face it, our own dogs are therapy for us and hopefully we repay them by meeting their needs and not putting much pressure on them. I live with four dogs and not one of them would be suitable as a visiting therapy dog. Two would be easily overwhelmed and the other two don’t particularly like being touched. In face I would say, they probably would all fail the assessment at the first hurdle.
Some dogs seem to be born into the role though. They relax into strangers and those strangers relax into them. To learn more check out our new Therapy Dog Awareness Course.
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