THERAPY & EMOTIONAL SUPPORT DOGS
Therapy and emotional support dogs can confer benefits on their owners, for example, in settings such as schools and universities, hospitals, nursing homes, among others. By having their fluffy, soft, friendly and non-judgmental presence, they alleviate anxiety and stress, while providing a sense of companionship and protection to those around them.
Benefits of Therapy & Emotional Support Dogs
Interaction and bonding with a dog improves the psychological and physiological well-being of humans. One of the best known psychological and physiological effects is anxiolytic / stress relief effects, which can influence other physiological mechanisms such as blood pressure.
Petting, touching, hugging, and even talking to a dog elicits these responses in humans. The mechanisms of these effects are known to be due to the non-verbal, reassuring, and non-threatening tactile comfort that dogs provide to their owners.
Not only humans benefit from this type of interaction, but also dogs themselves.
Therapy and emotional support dogs can be licensed, prior to the prescription of a mental health professional, to provide therapeutic benefits to people who may suffer from mental health conditions such as anxiety or phobias, or post-traumatic stress disorder, among others, in addition to any pharmacological or behavioral therapy.
What breeds are suitable for therapy and emotional support?
Dog breeds that do well to become therapy and emotional support dogs include the Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd, Belgian Shepherd, and Mountain Bernese.
These breeds are naturally noble, very sociable and affectionate in temperament. Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers tend to be playful and affectionate, being more 'socially acceptable' and less visually imposing than other breeds, making them a very popular breed for support and emotional therapy.
However, in reality, any breed can be trained for emotional support and therapeutic purposes, as it really depends on the qualities and personality of each individual dog, as well as its handler or owner.
What qualities or personalities must dogs have to become therapy and emotional support dogs?
Calm and cheerful, friendly, self-assured, alert, emotionally stable, and independent. A dog without anxiety or fear.
How long does it take to train a therapy and emotional support dog?
Depending on the needs of the owner and the characteristics of the dog, it can take from 6 to 18 months.