Sunday, March 15, 2015
The Difference Between Therapy Dogs And Companion Dogs
Therapy dogs and companion dogs are your best friends and also your constant buddy. They obtain this classification from being able to assist the owner with a multitude problems. But what exactly is the difference between Companion Dogs and Therapy Dogs?
Defining what a therapy dog is
They are found in retirement homes, nursing homes, hospitals, and schools. They aide people with difficulties in learning, and help to calm stressful situations that can be normally seen in disaster areas caused by natural hazards, such as tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, floods, earthquakes, technological hazards including nuclear and radiation accidents, or sociological hazards like riots, terrorism or war.
Therapy Dogs are specifically trained to provide affection and comfort to people who needs it as mentioned above. They are well known for their temperament. They are patient, friendly, confident, gentle and easy in whatever situations...
Your dog needs to have these characteristics to be classified as qualified Therapy Dogs. This is because they are expected to enjoy human contact, can be petted and handled by people carefully and even clumsily. They come in all breeds and sizes. It is a Therapy Dog's job to have other people even the unfamiliar one to have contact with them and these people should enjoy that connection.
But, why? In some situations, the Therapy Dogs might need to be lifted onto, climb onto, placed onto individual's lap, sleep on an adult's or kid's bed, and either sit or lie comfortably there. Therapy dogs need to be comfortable on this situations and must cope depending on a person's need to be able to provide emotional support to both adults and children. They are expected to be stroked, held, and sometimes just watched.
Therapy Dogs are not service or assistance dogs. Service dogs directly assist humans, it is legal for these dogs to accompany their owners in almost all areas and in fact, in the United States alone, Service Dogs are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 which is a wide-ranging civil rights law that prohibits, under certain circumstances, discrimination based on disability.
Therapy Dogs on the other hand are not mentioned on this law simply because they did not provide direct assistance for people with disabilities so this is why some institutions gives limit and prohibit access for Therapy Dogs but, in most cases, they allowed it. However, institutions may impose requirements for Therapy Dog.
What dogs are eligible to be Therapy Dogs? Actually, pure breed and mixed breeds are all fine as long as they are at least one year old, female or male, neutered or not. So, it's not that difficult to pass this eligibility. As long as they pass the test, they can all be Therapy Dogs. If you have your own dog who you think is eligible, then you can always go ahead and have them evaluated then have them trained.
What about a Companion Dog?
These are the dogs that do not work. They provide companionship for their owners as well as being a pet. Most common Companion Animals are toy dog breeds which refers to a very small dog like spaniels, pinschers and terriers. This is because their looks and traits fits to be used only for the pleasure of their company, but definitely not as workers.
Every dog breed was created for a reason and Companion Dogs are not an exception. They can't be discriminated because on the brighter side, their job is the most important work an animal can do - to keep people company. Any dog can actually be a companion dog.
A Companion Dog is placed with individuals who will actually benefit from physical and emotional therapy of having well trained pet. Companion Dogs help people (especially elders) to live longer, healthier, happier, and a more fulfilled life.
The most common difference between a Companion Dog and a Therapy Dog is that while Therapy Dogs are expected to go out with their owners and be friendly in public, Companion Dogs on the other hand are simply trained to support their owners in the home environment. So in short, Companion Dogs most of the time are not trained for community access, not expected to support owner in public setting, and not trained to travel on public transports as well.
But why do we need to train Companion Dogs? By nature, our dogs are pack animals with well defined social orders. A dog in your house will always look to you and even for entire family for guidance. We are their leaders. That leadership can be established in a friendly and well defined manner. Owners are leaders who at the same time are expected to be teaching dogs appropriate behavior. Like people, Companion Dogs differ from one another, some are shy, some are serious, some are laid back, while others are hyperactive and these makes training beneficial for the entire family.
Training Companion Dogs corrects behaviors such as jumping on people, digging, inappropriate barking and chewing and at the same time enhancing the dog's mental and physical activities. It deepens the bond between the dog and the owner, providing a higher level of satisfaction and enjoyment that we get from the dog's companionship. Training also ensures dog's safety and their happiness that is beneficial for your family, neighborhood and even the entire community.
When do you actually need to train your Companion Dog or to enroll them in a class? The answer is Now. Nowadays, veterinarians encourage owners to have the puppy trained even before the completion of shots. It could begin in as early as seven to eight weeks old. Why? The number one cause of death for dogs under 3 years of age is not actually infectious diseases - it is the behavioral issues between puppies as they grow up to be dogs.
This only proves that delaying the training until the puppy finishes the vaccines may somehow be damaging beliefs which could affect the dogs in the future simply because they are missing almost 16 weeks when the puppy was isolated from the world.