There are between 45 to 55 million dogs per household in America (American Humane Association 2012). Furthermore, according to a national survey, the majority of dog owners chose to get a dog for the companionship as the major reason for having a dog (American Animal Hospital Association, 2004). After all, dogs are nonjudgmental, give unconditional love, can be trusted with our most intimate feelings and emotions, and are highly intelligent. These dog characteristics can significantly enhance the lives of thousands of youth and adults, especially those with disabilities and/or those who live in continuing care facilities. There are approximately 20,000 service dogs in the U.S., which includes 10,000 guide dogs (American Humane Association 2012)
In the field of therapy, there are numerous of therapy available out there for different type of individuals and situations as well. There is one type of therapy that usually contains people and animal, it is animal-assisted therapy is a therapeutic approach that brings animals and individuals with physical and/or emotional needs together to perform the therapy. Animal-assisted therapy tend to be focused on individuals either children or elderly for them to be able to connect with the animal thus feeling comfortable talking with the therapist. Pet therapy works for all ages, whether sick or not (Lanchnit, 2011). Although, this paper, most of the focus is on animal-assisted therapy towards children using dogs.
Main point one: Companionship is important to have in your life, even if it comes from your dog. When life gets stressful it’s nice to have a companion to play with, take a walk with or even cheer you up. Companionship can be hard to come by with humans sometimes and easily found in dogs. While their personalities vary according to the breed of the dog, one characteristic remains the same, their loyalty. Dogs make great listeners, maybe because they can’t tell you to stop talking, but either way they seem to listen with interest. Many dog owners find themselves telling dogs things they can't seem to tell anyone else. This is what makes dogs good therapeutic animals. A dog is an especially good animal for someone who lives alone or suffers from depression. Having a dog present can also help people who have suffered a tragic loss in their life and need the company of another life for comfort. I know from my personal experience of losing a loved one, what a dog can do to help you through. Owning a dog gave me responsibility at me weakest and gave me a
Service and Therapy Dogs According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, “A service dog is any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal, individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability,” (Levingson). This means that a service dog can help people with a variety of disabilities once trained. There are two main classifications for a therapy dog: service dogs, who help those with physical disabilities, and psychdogs, who help those with mental disabilities.
These dogs learn many tasks so they are specialized for their certain patient. Therapy dogs learn special tasks to decrease the anxiety in a patient during certain situations, so “Stanek trains his dogs to perform 10 or so PTSD-specific tasks. Some of them are designed to ease concerns about blind spots, not unlike the way a military unit designates someone to watch troops' backs or to scout ahead. Stanek's 2-year-old Catahoula mix, Sarge, for example, has been trained to check around the corner to see what's in the next aisle at a store.”(Thompson 3). When therapy dogs are in public areas, they tend to use tasks like checking around the corners at stores. Those with PTSD sometimes believe there are attackers around the corner. This helps relieve stress of the war veteran by assuring that when the veteran turns the corner they will not get hurt. Not only do the dogs go through training to become perfect for their patients, but they also have to become trained in “normal” tasks, whether their patients use it or not. A therapy dogs may be complicated or not but either way “To qualify as a service animal, dogs must be trained to do work or perform tasks like providing safety checks and room searches for a person with PTSD.”(Thompson 3) . When dogs successfully pass the tests to become a therapy dog, people know therapy dogs are effective at reducing symptoms due to all the standards they must meet. People can usually tell when it is a therapy dog or a pleasure dog just by how they act. Therapy dogs tend to be much calmer and are very good at calming people down. The special training dogs go through make them not only able to but also extremely talented at decreasing a PTSD patient’s
A therapy dog is skilled to care and offer comfort to patients in hospitals, retirement homes, schools, catastrophe area, and people with learning complications. From a different perspective, a service dog is an assistance dog trained specifically to help persons with disabilities including autism, hearing and visual difficulties. The dogs aid cognitive therapy enabling the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) victims to expose themselves gradually to feelings and thoughts reminding them of the past. The dogs offer comfort, affection, and companion that enable the victims to relax triggering the sense of flashback within them. Flashback is critical in the treatment process of PTSD.
Service dogs catch you when you fall, they help you when you have trouble seeing pull wheelchairs and pull off clothes. Only 40 percent of the dogs are raised by canine companions successfully complete the nine-month training program. The dogs that make it to Texas are the best of the best. The service dogs learn at least 40 commands!
There are many ways that service dogs make a difference in the life of a person with disabilities. Furthermore there is a lot to learn from service animals, starting from the history of how it started to what the cost of owning and training a service animal. To the laws behind being able to own a service dog, and where dogs are allowed and how much training a dog needs in order to be able to be certified. Also what the requirements are to be able to own one, and the associations that offer seeing eye dogs for free to be able to help out those who are in need of a seeing eye dog.
There has been a long history with animals and their natural bonds with humans for many decades now. Dogs have helped people with a multitude of illnesses for some time now, however Americans were not the first to discover this natural trait in animals. The Germans during World War 1 were the first to discover this. In the book, History of Guide Dog Use by Veterans it states that the German army in particular “relied heavily on the use of German shepherds as ambulance and messenger dogs. The Germans reportedly used more than 25,000 dogs during World War I. ' these dogs were ideally suited for this type of work, with ell-known traits such as trainability, loyalty, intelligence, strength, and endurance” (Ostermeier 587). In today 's society, we have numerous people who are unaware of the services that animals can provide for humans. Specifically humans with mental or physical disabilities. In this paper I will present various types of service animals as well as the many services they provide.
Dogs dramatically impact the lives of people in numerous aspects. Not only do they work for humans tirelessly, but they do it with a smile on their face and a wag in their tail, and they are non-judgmental towards people with disabilities. People utilized the help and companionship dogs provided even hundreds of years ago. However, many people see dogs as futile, considering training, money, time, and work that is put into owning a dog, let alone having it specifically trained to do a certain job. It is also risky putting so much time and effort into a dog, being aware that they are very capable of making mistakes just as humans are. Also, many people do not know the depth of the work that dogs provide, or
Therapy dogs are mainly used for people that need affection or comforting. Would you want to pay $125 for a dog because your school won’t let it in? Well think of it this way, not only are some schools not letting dogs
Questions arise concerning the treatment of therapy dogs when visiting patients and whether animal-assisted therapy really works at all; however, those who disagree aren’t looking at the big picture. Animal-assisted therapy is both an ethical and effective therapy method due to its success in treating those with chronic diseases, disorders, and managing stress and anxiety. The varieties of cases regarding the success of therapy dog treatments far surmount the amount of cases saying otherwise. Animal-assisted therapy stems from the human-animal connection, one of the most unique and powerful bonds man has ever experienced. It is that connection that allows animal assisted therapy to be a critical part of everyone’s daily
Whether you already have experience of dog ownership, are a new dog owner or are about to be a dog owner, then training your dog is one of the most important aspects you need to consider. Likewise if you currently have a dog with behaviour problems, then dog training is essential.