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Therapy Dogs: Changing the World One Wag at a Time

Therapy Dogs: Changing the World One Wag at a Time

May 06, 2024

Dogs. Our loyal companions, furry friends, and unconditional love providers. It is no secret what amazing benefits having a dog in your life can do. Reduced stress, increased activity level, and someone to keep you company are just a few perks a dog provides. But did you know that these amazing K-9s are transforming lives in ways we never imagined? Therapy dogs are changing the world at home, at work, in schools, and even in healthcare settings, offering unique emotional and physical support when needed most.

Bully Sticks Direct, a company dedicated to providing high-quality, healthy treats for your beloved companions, recognizes the incredible work therapy dogs do. We believe in giving dogs the same unconditional love that they give us, which is why we only offer all-natural treats that are great for their mind, body, and soul! Shop our large selection of treats today!

Now, let’s dig in!

Therapy Dogs: A Tail-Wagging Force for Good

Therapy dogs are specially trained canines who, alongside their handlers, visit various institutions and individuals to provide comfort, companionship, and emotional support. These dogs undergo specific training programs to ensure they are calm, patient, and well-socialized, ready to interact with people of all ages and abilities. Most of the time, this training starts as early as 8 weeks old.

Service dogs are specially trained canines equipped with skills to perform specific tasks in adherence to their owner’s disabilities. Service dogs are keenly aware of their handler, ready at the drop of a pin to react and support them if needed. This support could be leading the blind, assisting with seizures, calling for emergency assistance, and even opening doors and handling medications. Their training is more rigid than that of a therapy dog or emotional support animal.

An emotional support animal is just that - support for their owner's emotional well-being! These animals do not require any training, unlike the other two titles. Emotional support dogs are helpful to individuals with autism, anxiety, and other mental illnesses. By simply being there for love and companionship, their owners can find peace of mind and comfort in their dog’s presence.

If you’re wondering which service dog is right for you, do some research! This blog is a great place to start.

The Science Behind Therapy Dogs

Research has shown that interacting with therapy dogs can have a profound impact on our physical and mental well-being. Therapy dogs help improve the lives of those suffering from depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, autism, and PTSD just to name a few mental illnesses. Other benefits of a therapy dog include:

Reduced Stress and Anxiety: Studies have demonstrated that simply petting a dog can lower blood pressure, heart rate, and cortisol levels, the stress hormone. This creates a sense of calm and relaxation, particularly beneficial for individuals facing anxiety, depression, or trauma. Believe it or not, your companionship also helps in reducing your dog’s anxiety!

Enhanced Mood and Emotional Well-being: You know what they say, laughter IS medicine! The unconditional love and positive energy dogs radiate can significantly improve your mood and combat feelings of loneliness. Therapy dogs offer a non-judgmental presence, encouraging social interaction and reducing feelings of isolation.

Improved Cognitive Function: Studies suggest interacting with dogs can stimulate cognitive function, particularly in children and older adults. This can be especially helpful for individuals with dementia or Alzheimer's disease, as dogs can provide a sense of comfort and familiarity.

Motivational Support: Therapy dogs can play a crucial role in motivating individuals. Their presence can encourage participation in physical activities and social interactions, leading to improved overall well-being. When we have a living entity depending on us, whether a child or a pet, it is only human nature that we feel motivated to provide for them!

Different Settings for Therapy Dog Services

Therapy dogs commonly live at home with their owners. Outside of the home, these “comfort dogs” are making a huge difference in diverse settings such as schools, hospitals, and even prisons.

At Home: Therapy dogs can provide invaluable support to individuals with chronic illnesses, disabilities, and those facing mental health challenges. Their presence can offer comfort, reduce anxiety, and motivate individuals to engage in activities they might otherwise find difficult.

At Work: Studies have shown that therapy dog visits in workplaces can significantly reduce employee stress levels, leading to improved productivity and overall well-being. This can be particularly beneficial in high-pressure work environments.

In Schools: Therapy dogs can play a crucial role in creating a more positive and supportive learning environment. They can help children with anxiety or social challenges feel more comfortable and engaged in the classroom. Additionally, therapy dogs can be used to promote empathy, compassion, and responsibility among students. Some schools have found that having a therapy dog in the district has improved attendance and greatly contributed to school counseling efforts.

In Healthcare: Therapy dogs are increasingly being integrated into healthcare settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, and rehabilitation centers. Their presence can provide comfort and companionship to patients, reducing pain perception and anxiety, and promoting faster recovery.

The Best Breeds for Therapy Dogs

The truth is, any breed of dog can make a great therapy dog! With the right training and demeanor, any dog is deserving of the title. For those truly curious, the most common therapy dog breeds include Labrador and Golden Retrievers, Poodles, Newfoundlands, and Border Collies just to name a few!

More importantly, a therapy dog must have the right temperament. A few qualities of a good comfort companion include:

  1. Unafraid of strangers.
  2. Gentle around children of all ages.
  3. Well-trained and well-mannered.
  4. Comfortable being touched.
  5. Quiet, calm, and observant.

Temperament is everything when it comes to a therapy dog although, with the proper training and certification, any pup can do it!

Bully Sticks Direct: Keep Calm and Shop On!

The next time you see a therapy dog working their magic, take a moment to appreciate the incredible impact they have on our lives. These furry heroes are changing the world, one wag at a time, and Bully Sticks Direct is proud to support them on their journey.

At Bully Sticks Direct, we understand the dedication and hard work that goes into training and caring for therapy dogs. We are committed to supporting these canine heroes and their handlers by providing high-quality, all-natural treats that fuel their energy and keep those tails wagging! Shop online today!

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