Dog advice

Dogs as emotional therapy pets

It’s estimated that 24% of people in the UK own at least one dog. Some have been motivated by a desire for companionship, some by a need for protection and others simply by a love for all things cute. But if you’re one of the six million UK individuals with anxiety or depression or one of the estimated 700,000 UK residents on the autism spectrum, your dog could be most than just your best friend. Your dog could be your emotional therapy pet.

What’s an emotional therapy animal?

emotional-therapy-dogUnlike an assistance dog, which is usually officially trained by a charity (like Guide Dogs for the Blind), emotional support dogs do not need to be formally registered. Any pup could grow up to be an emotional support animal.

Your therapy dog can be trained to carry out important tasks, like safely leading an autistic individual away from a situation that’s likely to induce a meltdown. It can stand firm when it’s attached to a young child that’s likely to get overwhelmed, panic and run away.

Emotional therapy dogs can provide calming pressure by lying on their owners if requested, or can accompany their owners everywhere and act as a reliable conversation starter at social events and in public.

Can any dog be an emotional therapy pet?

Any dog that can be trained, can be trained for emotional therapy. There are no specific requirements or specific jobs that they’ll be expected to carry out. You’ll need to think carefully about exactly what you need from your dog.

If you’re expecting your dog to apply pressure, to stop a child from running away or to help you to navigate through crowds in an emergency, then you may want to select a larger breed of dog. These pets will have the strength and weight required to carry out those tasks. But if you’ve already got your heart set on the perfect pup, remember that any dog could be your emotional therapy hero.

If you’re looking for a specific type of training for your beloved pooch, then get in touch with TOTAL K9 ® today.