However bad a person's physical or mental situation may be, our canine companions have the strongest healing powers. No feeling in the universe can be better than the warmth one feels by the touch of a cold nose. Here's an explanation about how snuggling with our four-footed friends can be therapeutic and what are the best therapy dog breeds that have shown great results during health treatments:
“Animals help in therapy." Is this for real?
An interaction between a human being and a trained animal, which has specific guidelines, is commonly known as ‘Pet Therapy.’ In more scientific terms, however, this process is termed as Animal-Assisted Therapy or AAT. People often undergo this process of pet therapy in order to cope with or get recovery from any kind of health problems or mental dysfunctionalities. Pet therapy is very useful in improving the person’s social skills. It helps most in reducing stress, anxiety or signs of depression. The process is also inclusive of the animal’s handler. Both the animal and its handler are required to undergo a screening and a certification process before they finally join the therapeutic activities. In a maximum number of cases, dogs are used for this treatment.
Ok, I need therapy. What now?
So, you need help. Now is the time you decide which animal can help you the best in your recovery phase. My suggestion? DOGS!! (Obviously)
Dogs are the best kind of therapy animals. Not only is it a fact that they are the most loyal, but it is also easier to train them than most animals. It is scientifically proven that dogs help individuals by helping to improve the quality of life for people. They also assist children in learning to read and do other such activities. Dogs help in the increment of oxytocin, or what we call “love hormones” in humans. These are neurotransmitters that reduce anxiety and fear while boosting up love and trust within us.
Therapy dogs are trained to work with people undergoing treatments. Once positioned inside a home, these dogs can assist physically challenged people by performing tasks like fetching things, switching on lights, alerting about nearby noises, etc. They are, in cases dealing with mentally unstable patients, trained to identify activities like excessive stimulation, self-harm, and disorientation. So if need be, they can perform activities such as dragging the person to a secure place, informing a caregiver, etc. They not only provide their affection and comfort to people in need but also give those people a sense of companionship throughout the process of their treatment.
So, what are the best therapy dogs?
It is necessary for Therapy Dogs to have certain personality traits that help them work in environments like hospitals, schools, and nursing homes. Being calm, friendly, patient, alert, and lovable are some qualities that are distinctive about Therapy Dogs. Even though it is possible to train a dog of any breed to become a Therapy Dog, the following are the Top 9 Therapy Dog Breeds that are said to have all the vital qualities of being a successful Therapeutic companion:
1. Labrador Retriever
There are very few breeds as popular as a Lab for being a perfect family dog. They totally deserve the fame! Labrador Retrievers have one of the highest playfulness and affection levels amongst all breeds. They are great watchdogs and are great at following instructions. Labs have a high tolerance of antics of children, other pets, etc. They’re great swimmers and require a good amount of mental and physical challenges on a daily basis to keep them occupied.
2. Saint Bernard
Originating from the land of Switzerland, the Saint Bernard is a breed that is really easy to train. It’s cute and fluffy appearance gives it a great place in children’s hearts. While it may particularly be the most energetic of the lot, it is a very patient and gentle dog. Its presence helps to spread a very calming vibe in the atmosphere. Incredibly protective and obedient personality makes it a great Therapy Dog for people dealing with mental instability.
Contradictory to the face that carries a grumpy expression 24x7, the Pug is one the most delightful pets to have. It is a fine blend of comedy and stubbornness. It is great for families due to its willingness to please and playful behavior. This breed is most favorable as a Therapy Dog if you live in a smaller accommodation like an apartment.
4. German Shepherds
Having the greatest traits for security and protection of their family, the German Shepherd is an epitome of intelligence and faithfulness. It surpasses all breeds when it comes to working versatility. They are mostly seen in areas of disability-assistance, security forces, etc. It’s a dog on a mission!
5. Golden Retriever
Originating from the 1800s, this breed views nobody as a stranger. Being one of the friendliest dogs, the Golden Retriever is also known for being a great family companion. It’s devoted and obedient behavior makes it great for pet therapy. This dog also possesses a strong physical built which makes it a solid bodyguard.
Beaming with energy almost all throughout the day, Beagles are a breed that is really friendly towards other pets, strangers, and children. They are enthusiastic trailers and have a thing about the outdoors! One of the most amiable hounds, the Beagle has an easy-going personality. Their small size and gentle demeanor make them excellent with families and a great Therapy Dog.
7. French Bulldog
These even-tempered beings prove great as a Therapy Dog. They are clowns in a lapdog. It has a thing for cuddling and snoozing with its favorite person, and is a people pleaser by default! It finds pleasure in entertaining its family members. French Bulldogs are great companions and are one of the most amiable and sweet pets.
The poodle is a dog with one of the highest intellectual levels amongst all breeds. It is, thus, one of the easiest to train. The peppy Poodle is very alert, lively, responsive, and playful as a dog. It has an inbuilt eagerness to please people. Though it is highly devoted to its family, it can prove to be slightly reserved in front of strangers.
Collie, or Scottish Collie, is friendly, gentle and pleases people with its mild manners. This breed is known for its sensitivity, intelligence, and watchdog abilities. Collie is a great combination of strength, speed, and grace. They are most famous for being in-tune to emotions of us humans!
While I hope that you or anyone close to you don't have to deal with severe health problems, or that there ever comes a day when you're really in need of petting a dog for therapeutic purposes, if, at all you need to do so, this post should help! Gave you another reason to love dogs, didn't I?