Dog therapy is a practice in which dogs act as a caregiver to human beings.
Why use dog therapy?
Dogs have a natural tendency to love and be loved.
The right type of dog can show affection and care.
It can work selflessly without the expectation of any reward.
Where can dog therapy be used?
Dog therapy is not necessarily restricted to hospitals or for the care of sick people alone.
They are used in several other situations such as classrooms, old age homes, and disaster areas.
Can any dog be trained to become a caregiver?
Caregiving is a responsible job that not all dogs (or humans for that matter) can handle.
Certain specific characteristics mark out dogs that can perform this function effectively.
What are the necessary qualities of a caregiver dog?
The dog that performs this duty should be obedient, peaceful, loving, and caring.
It should have bonded with human beings, understand and obey commands, and should have an affable nature.
It should be able to bond with children and the elderly easily.
Why are some dogs unsuited?
The above are not characteristics that every dog will possess.
Many dogs are temperamental, ill-mannered, and uncontrollable.
Such dogs cannot be employed in dog therapy.
No matter how good the dog is, it might still need to be trained for handling therapy jobs.
Moreover, there must be a human being behind it, taking responsibility.
How can I make a dog fit for caregiving?
The person who wants to deploy a dog should be able to develop a rapport with the dog.
The right type of dog is loving and caring.
These qualities need to be strengthened before deployment in therapy.
Are there any formalities?
At present, most regions of the world have no formal system for the registration and deployment of dogs in therapy.
However, it is better to take the necessary precautions and notify the local authorities.
Do prospective employers look for any credentials?
Institutions employing dogs for therapy will generally insist on proper credentials.
Proof of proper training at a level equivalent to that provided by the kennel club will, generally, be expected.
They also conduct their evaluation.
How do employers evaluate a dog for caregiving work?
These may include subjecting the dogs to stressful noises and situations such as those prevalent among the sick, elderly, or children.
The dog should remain calm in the face of screams, sudden exciting noises, and routine sounds like those of a wheelchair.
Dogs employed in therapy work are generally expected to wear a vest that distinguishes them and identifies them as therapy dogs.
Checking the dog for fitness
It is not enough if the dog has the right attitude and is trained well.
It should also be physically fit.
Before training a dog for therapy work, get it examined by a veterinarian and make sure that it is physically fit and free of ailments.
Are formal training facilities available?
Professional training facilities are available for preparing the dog for therapy work.
These cost around $300.
The amount spent is worthwhile because the dog gets professional training and is better equipped to deal with therapy situations.
Besides, certification from a professional institute adds value while looking for therapy assignments.
Dog therapy as a service
Dog therapy is not just another business.
It is an invaluable service that can bring light into the lives of many ailing, elderly, and helpless people.
Binding with caring and friendly dogs can bring happiness to the affected people, reduce their tensions, and make them more relaxed.
Dog therapy can even contribute to recuperating and help in reducing the dosage of medicines administered.
Dog therapy is a service. Although it can generate revenue, it is more than a commercial venture.
Not all dogs can be employed in therapy.
Only dogs possessing certain qualities, such as patience, affection, and care, are suitable.
Dogs need specialized training before they can be deployed as a caregiver.
Make sure your dog is trained well and is physically fit before employing it in therapy.