Posted Oct 20, 2016 in Dog Questions
Therapy dogs do amazing work for so many people. True therapy dogs, which are dogs that participate in structured programs designed by health care professionals, can decrease pain, improve mobility, speed up post-surgery healing, and even calm autistic children as well as increasing their social interactions. This type of therapy is called Animal Assisted Therapy, or AAT.
Therapy can be extremely rewarding, not only for the recipient, but also for you and your dog. It can be a very gratifying experience, but not every dog is made to be a therapy dog. Here is some info on whether or not you should look into making your pup a therapy dog!
One trait needed to be a successful therapy dog is to love people. This does not mean only loving you. Your furry friend needs to voluntarily approach strangers, make eye contact with them and actively try to get close to them. They also must not just tolerate strangers, but truly enjoy being around them.
Not only do therapy dogs need to be well trained to greet people politely, but also just have a calm personality overall. Even if they are very well trained, the calm behavior must go beyond that. Sometimes when dogs are older, they become calmer and are most suited for the job.
Beyond not jumping or being overly active, your dog also needs to be emotionally calm. This basically means they wont react to a too tight hug or a too hard of an ear pull. This is obviously not every dog or even most dogs, but there are many dogs that just naturally act this way.
If you think your dog is a good fit, look into having your dog become a therapy dog. There is also a lot of responsibility for you as your dog’s handler, but if you’re willing to put in the work, it will be so rewarding!
Have a question? Want to schedule a free consultation?
Fill out the form, give us a call, or shoot us an email and we will be in touch.