Dog Therapy | Therapy Dogs for Autism and Disabled People
Canistherapy: Therapy Dogs for KidsDog therapy (canisterapy) - is the socialization, rehabilitation and adaptation of people with disabilities with the help of dogs. Dogs are used for therapy much more often than other animals, as well as dogs are easy trained to perform verbal commands and obey people. Before therapy dogs training they are carefully tested and examined.
At this article you will read about therapy dogs for children, and what do therapy dogs do to various people's diseases.
The History of Dog Therapy
The history of dog therapy starts from 60th years of the last century, when the child psychiatrist Boris Levinson represented a concept of therapy with the help of a dog.
He revealed, that children, who felt difficulties in communication with other people had positive reaction to his dog, who stayed at his cabinet while the treatment session. They communicated easily with his dog without paying attention to the doctor. Thus the dog helped him to set more tight contact with children and make the treatment more efficient. The dog helped children to relax and treat the surroundings easier. Each new patient revealed positive sides of communication with a dog.
Since then canistherapy (dog therapy) got wide application. Nowadays dog therapy is used for cure of children and adults for various diseases: autism, cerebral palsy, hyperactivity, problems with heart and vessels. Nowadays dog therapy is wide spread and is developing in many countries.
What Do Therapy Dogs Do
Therapy dogs are used often at nursing homes. Communication with dogs helps to manage fears, depression, stress, distraction and activates motion functions of the patients of nursing homes. Reserved people become more talkative, emotionally unstable people begin to react with more patience and understanding.
Canistherapy is indispensable for cure of autism. The presence of a friendly dog improves their behavior and reduces the sympthoms of autism, the main of which is self-absorbing. Being of a patience with a dog, playing together make therapy pleasant and efficient. It raises the will of child to get cured and the wish to try to get better.
Therapy dogs have great influence to adults with disabilities. Therapy dogs help them to feel more secure, less lonely and more free and independent.
Positive influence of animals, especially of dogs is admitted long time ago. Children of the families which have dogs are more active and happy, responsible, emotionally stable and are more successful at school and classes.
Why do dogs have so positive influence to people? Because they are distinguished by high loyalty for the owner. Very often a dog accomplishes the lack of human communication. A dog is always happy to see the owner and is grateful just to be close. A dog does not mind how does the owner looks, how much earns, while people often evaluate each other from various points of view. That's why four-legged friends easy become friends for children and adults who feel lack of communication, love and emotions. Pity of dog feels like understanding. Dogs express their emotions much brighter that people. Doctors suppose that it is much easier for a patient to set a contact with a friendly, grateful dog who treats him as he is. After that it is easier for a doctor to get understanding and trust of the patient. Without it the cure is helpless.
Therapy Dog Training
At service dogs clubs for disabled children they practice therapy dog training. At therapy dog training classes the trainers show children how to train a dog to basic dog commands. This way they reduce most of negative reactions in children's behavior and create friendly atmosphere. Children are very interested how do dogs obey commands and show their natural beauty.
Dogs help people to undergo stress. As a rule, there are less conflicts in families with dogs. Constant presence of a dog and the actions connected with dog care, training and communication make people closer and more friendly, they get common activities, interests and obligations.
At the next stage of therapy dog classes children try to set a contact with the pets. For the moment children already have the feeling of safety and they are open for communication. A child repeats commands after a trainer, parents, repeats dog's name, tries to touch a dog. Children with psychical disorders often manage to undergo their fears by the help of four-legged friends.
Then a child tries to control the behavior of a trained therapy dog, that performs simple commands and obedience elements by the child's verbal commands. This way a child raises his self-confidence and assurance. It helps to reduce aggression of children, fear, stress and other psychical deviations. Common activity with a dog helps a child to get better communication with adults and other children.
Therapy dogs are carefully chosen, tested and trained with strict rules of safety regulations. In the order to distinguish whether a dog is able to become a therapy dog, it is to be objectively tested and evaluated from all the sides of its character and temperament. A dog is to be friendly and calm with strange people, as the future patients are to feel safe and relaxed communicating with it.
The main point of therapy dog training is to get adequate dog behavior in new situations. A dog is to have calm reaction to new noises, irritants and crowd. It is to perform basic obedience commands: "come", "sit", "place", "no" etc, calmly walk on a lead and make various tricks, let it pet, as the service of a therapy dog presuppose that a patient will be able to pet a dog.
The classes of a therapy dog finish with an exam, where a dog is tested to have adequate behavior in various stressful, unknown situations and public places .
Look at the dog harnesses for assistance dogs, guide dogs and therapy dogs with sign patches to specify dog service and make it more comfortable.