Therapy dogs: Helping children and families

A dog makes a wonderful addition to any household by providing companionship and responsibility for children. Therapy dogs are wonderful dogs with temperaments that are laid back, friendly patient and above all highly responsive to being petted.

If you have children and are looking for a good dog to bring into the family, the therapy dog’s temperament is ideal; many therapy dogs are Golden Retrievers and

Labradors however with the right qualities and a loving home environment even the faithful old mongrel can make a good therapy dog and a wonderful household companion.

Animal companionship has many positive qualities for both children and adults including reducing blood pressure and stress levels, raising mood, teaching responsibility for others and the joy that the unconditional love of a dog brings.

As therapy dogs need to able to be taken into a variety of environments without being spooked and may also need to be lifted onto sick individual’s beds, it is important that they are thoroughly trained in basic dog commands such as sit, stay, heel, down, etc. It is also possible that the dog may put on a show of small tricks or play a game. A thoroughly trained dog is a must if you live in a household with children, the children can even be involved in training the dog or taking them to agility classes.

Taking your children with you when the dog is doing its important therapy work also will provide a number of benefits for the child, teaching them amongst other things, empathy for others in circumstances less fortunate than their own and respect for their elders or for disabled members of the community.

Dogs with temperaments that enjoy being petted, friendly, calm in any situation and gentle are great as members of the family and also can earn their keep by working as therapy dogs, teaching you and your children the benefit of animal companionship.

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