7 Most Important Characteristics of a Therapy Dog

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A therapy dog is a trained and constantly tested animal to meet the requirements of its profession. The dog should provide comfort for hospitalized people, children with learning disabilities, and generally all patients in any health institutions. It is known that petting dogs is a good therapy to reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure, stimulate the production of good hormones, and more.

It is not easy for a dog to become a therapy animal; there are behavioral tests and regular health checks. The following passages describe 7 great most important characteristics that a good therapy dog should possess.

1. Friendly

The main purpose is to provide comfort for patients, so the dog should be very friendly toward anyone in hospitals including doctors. Many times, some of therapy dogs visit the same hospitals in the same time. It is also important that the animals create normal or positive interaction with each other. During the visit in health institution or school, they are not allowed to make noises unless the handlers order them to do so.

2. Patient

Many people with different personalities will interact with the dogs in the different manners. Sometimes, patients will also want to pet the dogs; in this case, a therapy dog is instructed to remain calm although the patients do not treat it in the usual ways that the handler does. If the animal is calm, patients will be able to conveniently hold or pet the dog.

3. Confident

Normally, patients’ infirmities will fear the animal. However, a therapy dog is obliged to be confidence in dealing with this fairly difficult situation. Some patients may suddenly cough, wheeze, experience breathing difficulty, and other unpleasant conditions for the dogs to see. As a therapy dog, such situations will not lead it to produce any indication of fears or aggression. The dog must demonstrate its confidence when dealing with that particular environment.

4. Gentle

As mentioned earlier, patients may also want to pet the dog; therefore, the handler should order the dog to sit or stay in an accessible position for the patients. Under this situation, the animal should be gentle with patients. It is essential that the dog does not produce any sudden noise or movement.

5. Ease in all situations

A therapy dog will encounter many unpleasant situations in health facilities. The most difficult one is probably during health check. The dog will encounter medical equipment which can be intimidating. The handler has to make sure that the animal is still obedience even under such situation.

6. Enjoy human contact

Hospitals are loaded with patients and visitors, so a therapy dog will see and meet many strangers. The dog should not indicate any sign of aggression which may lead to obedience. The reaction should be normal.

7. Like to be handled or petted by patients

As a matter of fact, a good therapy dog will like to be handled or petted even by strangers. Some of the patients may not be familiar, but the dog needs to act positively all the times.

Obedience is the absolute key; the handler must always be in total control although the animal is not strained on a leash. However, any dog of any breed is a possible candidate of a therapy dog; it can be trained to grow certain characteristics to meet the job requirements.