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Special canines with a special purpose
Articles - Service Dogs

Special Canines with a Special Purpose



While dogs are primarily pets, they sometimes have special occupations, too. As community volunteers, many are well-suited as therapy dogs. They receive special training to serve as helpers and visitors for people in hospitals, schools and assisted living facilities. They are known to lower blood pressure and stress levels, providing comfort and camaraderie to patients. They are often one of the few visitors that patients receive and are proven to have a calming and even jovial effect on the people they visit.

 

History
The therapy dog's origins can be traced back to World War II, where dogs were first used as visitors for soldiers in the hospital. Their primary purpose was to cheer up patients in recovery. In 1976, a formal therapy dog training program was started by an American Nurse, Elaine Smith. The special purpose for canines has grown over the years to help those with emotional problems, learning and communication disabilities, and speech difficulties. Children are especially responsive to therapy dogs.

 

Attitude
It takes a special temperament for a canine to be a suitable therapy dog. The best candidates are naturally good with people and other animals. They have good manners and are very patient and loving. They are good citizens and are not aggressive. They allow themselves to be petted and cuddled. They work well with children.

Privileges
Therapy dogs receive certain privileges, such as access in buildings where most pets are not allowed. These special visitors usually wear dog collars on the premises. Depending on the location, they are usually brought into the facility on dog leashes. Some have special tags denoting them as therapy dogs. These tags, leashes and collars can be bought online or through special stores. For example, they can be purchased through New Hampshire pet supplies stores with products for sale online.

Qualifications
Therapy dogs should have an outstanding temperament; be friendly and outgoing to all ages and genders of people and other dogs, even when situations become tense around them. They must be at least one year old, be well groomed and have good hearing. They must pass several certification tests before receiving their license. These tests involve sitting politely while being petted, following basic commands, exercising self-control and walking through a crowd. While the handler is also an important part of the therapy training, the dog must behave well outside of the handler's presence. While there are national certifications, most local programs require new members to take classes with their handlers to learn the ropes.

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Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jeremy_P_Stanfords


 

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