Apr 7, 2021

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Therapy Dog Training, Helping the Infirm

A therapy dog is a dog who has been specially trained to offer love, companionship, and support to people who are confined to psychiatric facilities, mental hospitals, nursing homes, or retirement homes. An American nurse working in the health care system in England in the 1970s pioneered the idea of using service dogs to assist patients’ relaxation and rehabilitation. Elaine Smith was brought to America and began the first organised therapeutic dog training programme. It didn’t take long for the therapeutic effects of therapy dogs to be understood. Patients who spent time with therapy dogs showed less stress, lower blood pressure, and more optimistic attitudes, according to medical professionals. As a result, demand for both therapy dogs and high-quality therapy dog training has risen. check out more

Therapy dogs, unlike most support or working dogs, do not provide immediate assistance to people in need. The primary function of the dog is to enable physical interaction with strangers. Without fear or hostility, the dog should truly enjoy this touch. Frequently, the dog will come into contact with people who are in wheelchairs or using hospital equipment. This equipment must be safe for the dog to be around, particularly if it makes odd noises. Therapy dogs must also deal with children. It is not unusual for a child to run up to a dog and hug it, and the dog may react inappropriately unless properly trained. Petting, being laid or jumped on, and being picked up are all likely experiences for the dog. A low-key temperament is perhaps the most valuable character a therapy dog can have. There is no way to change a dog’s innate temperament and attitude through therapy dog training.

Almost every dog breed can be qualified to be a therapy dog. The dog’s individual personality characteristics are much more critical than the breed. The best dogs are sweet, enjoy being around people, are well socialised with both people and animals, are gentle, and are at home in crowded and noisy environments. Simple obedience training is also required for a successful therapy dog applicant. The dog must be able to heel, walk on a loose leash, be treated and worked by strangers, and immediately respond to the commands come, off, whoa, sit, stop, and down. Field trips to various facilities that use and accept therapy dogs may be required as part of formal therapy dog training.

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