Dogs with certain characteristics – such as friendliness and confidence – can make wonderful therapy dogs. To become a therapy dog, the dog must be registered with a certification organization. If they meet the organization’s requirements, they will be enrolled in training classes. In these classes they will learn essential commands such as “sit,” “stay,” “come,” “no,” “down,” and “okay.” Of course, these are only some of the necessary skills a dog will learn from a trained professional in any given program.
How do therapy dogs help people? In places like hospitals and prisons, a visiting dog may increase motivation to get home to one’s own dog. Dogs’ presence also lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety, and increase the level of oxytocin, boosting happiness and increasing empathy. Caring for and spending time with a dog may also increase self-esteem and ensure more physical activity.
Man’s best friend indeed!
“5 Health Benefits of Therapy Dogs.” Therapy Dog Certification. Web. 15 March 2014.
“Therapy Dog Certification.” Therapy Dog Certification. Web. 15 March 2014.