Small, big, curly, puffy… dogs are a great source of joy, happiness, but also a responsibility and concern for their owners. Many things in life are questionable, but one is not – a dog is a true man’s best friend.
Indeed, dogs make us better humans, and without these little fluffy creatures, the world would be a sadder place … Many scientific studies have shown that dogs are empathetic and sensitive – they treat us, respect us, calm us down, and care for us. How can they do all of these things?
By unconditional love and caring. When it comes to people suffering from depression, whether it be short-term episodes or a more serious, chronic illness, people can more easily overcome it with the help of a dog. The feeling that there is one living being that is always there for us, even when it is most difficult, the feeling that someone is giving their unconditional love and support helps people suffering from depression overcome it. Truly amazing creatures…
Many other dog-assisted medical therapies show that the relationship between animals and dogs is very strong. People who spend more time in the company of these furry animals show better psycho-physical health, cognitive functions, as well as communication skills. Many videos can be found on the Internet showing the healing powers of dogs.
Scientists around the world have tried to determine the real effects of these therapies through numerous scientific studies. The results showed that animals are truly great healers, especially in treating diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Our four-legged friends are there to remind seniors of checkups and schedules. They are always there to provide support and comfort when it is most needed.
However, these responsible activities cannot be carried out by any dogs. Specifically trained therapy dogs are at stake.
They are particularly valuable to patients suffering from Dementia and Alchymers by stimulating memory or forgotten emotions. After a two-year training process, these dogs can provide care and assistance to the sick. Thanks to them, the elderly retain their psycho-physical activity and independence.
Therapy dogs perform a variety of activities:
- wake up their owners with a loud bark
- notify when it’s lunchtime
- remind them to take their medication promptly.
These dogs can feel the owner’s anxious behavior and respond to it accordingly. When Alzheimer’s sufferers feel nervous, angry, and anxious, socializing with dogs allows them to change their focus.
Gentle dog pampering – which can take hours, is especially effective. In these circumstances, dogs seem to return their owners to childhood and carefree moments spent in the company of animals.
There is another important aspect of dog therapy – they remind their owners when it’s time to walk thus keeping them active. And, most importantly – some dogs are trained to prevent their owner from leaving the home alone.
Their performing actions include:
- picking up items that fall to their owners,
- opening and closing doors,
- triggering an emergency alarm.
In this way, they make life easier not only for people suffering from dementia but also for their loved ones who can rely on these wonderful dogs and their help.
And what about their training procedure? It isn’t a simple endeavor and it takes a lot of time and energy as well. It starts with smelling training.
A dog needs to build a bond with the new owner—before the two have even had a chance to live together. Not all dogs are suitable for this kind of noble job … Just a couple of breeds meet all requirements to be prepared as dementia helping dogs which includes Labrador and Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds and Border Collies
These dogs react to sound triggers in the home. For instance, an electronic clock triggers a sound that can make the animal aware of carrying a sack of medication to the seniors. Inside the sack is a note reminding the individual with Alzheimer’s that it’s a great opportunity to take medicine.
Another tone prompts the dog to lead the owner into the restroom at explicit occasions, where the handler can find a note teaching him to clean up or drink a glass of water. The dog is also prepared to react to extraordinary directions, for example, the “home” order, which prompts the animal to lead the owner back to a sheltered domain.