Therapy trained dogs offer a fantastic alternative to human sitters. When we’re sick we tend to require a lot more support, attention and love from our friends and family. Often times, we just don’t receive that type of additional care. In today’s busy world it’s hard to find someone to sit at your bedside for hours on end waiting for your next request, or offering the comfort of knowing someone is there.
Therapy dogs are trained with a special set of skills rooted from the beginning of their training period. Training a dog for this type of work is often long and extensive so the patient receives the full and great benefits of their therapeutic canine. Traditional dog training is simply not enough. These four legged friends are more than family friends, they are helpful companions for a patient and his/her needs.
Dogs used for therapeutic benefit are often uses in hospitals and out-patient settings specializing in pediatric and geriatrics. The dog handler and dog provide patients with that extra attention and offer activities to keep their minds occupied, instead of constantly reminding themselves of their problems. These canine companions can be found in nursing homes, retirement center, school, mental institutions and even as a therapy alternative by a certified professional counselor.
Traditional dog training methods have been modified to create the best combination of both worlds. These animals have to be specifically trained to meet the special needs of patients with limited mobility or limited mental capacity. They need to be friendly, compassionate, emphathetic and offer a certain aura of security for the patient. This extensive training encompasses all of these modalities and equips the dogs with everything needs to perform their job. In addition, a great majority of therapeutic dogs are trained to do special tricks and gimmick performances for patient enjoyment.
While most dog breeds can undergo training to be used in a therapeutic capacity, there are some that are considered a choice breed. Dogs most known for their high tolerance levels, happy dispositions and even temperaments are commonly picked for therapy dog training.
Various states have various regulations and training standards for therapeutic dogs, however a general rule is the animal should have a good citizen certification prior to entering formal therapy training. Animal shelters and dog training classes can provide this type of certification. After the certification is awarded, the real therapy dog training can take place.
The therapy trained dog will know how to ignore hospital machinery and equipment and people who are not their patient. They are also trained to assist with certain activities of the patient, but they should not be confused with service dogs. They aren’t there to answer the door and fetch shoes.
Service dogs are specifically trained, under the law, to aid in therapy for persons with disabilities and they are often always employed. A therapy dog is more like a patient visitor, a confidant, a family friend. They aren’t trained to stop a blind patient from crossing the street when there is traffic.
The monotonous routine of patient life can be boring. A therapy dog can help change that routine around. Therapy dogs help with depression and create diversions from unhealthy thoughts of patients, therefore creating a healthier environment for healing and lifestyle enhancement.