Animal Assisted Therapy

Animal-assisted Therapy: What we can learn from Dogs

While the sight of a visually-impaired person with a guide dog might be familiar for most people, animal-assisted therapy is not as widely known. Yet many have experienced first-hand the therapeutic effects of animal-assisted therapy.

Animal Assisted Therapy
Unlike service dogs such as guide dogs that live with the person requiring a furry friend’s help, dogs used in animal-assisted therapy are brought in by healthcare professionals as an integrated part of the treatment process.

This therapy (colloquially also known as ‘pet therapy’) is a growing field within the health sciences. It consists of using domesticated animals to help people recover from or cope with health ailments. s, Pet therapy – Learning to Cope with Stress from Dogs

Major sources of stress include hostile work environments and other difficult personal relationships. Animal-assisted therapy has been found particularly effective in working with people who have social anxiety.

Psychologically balanced, properly trained dogs (those used in pet therapy) are able to read social cues from other dogs as well as people and respond appropriately. Interacting with a therapy dog provides a safe space to work on building the ability to interact with others and respond with awareness and sensitivity. Dogs know when to back down in high-stress situations, something we’d do well to learn for ourselves.

Remembering to Play – Pets’ Stress Reduction Lessons

Another important lesson that animal-assisted therapy dogs teach us is how important play is. Dogs, especially young dogs, love to play games such as tug-of-war and love the adrenalin rush of chasing each other playfully.

This play has many positive benefits – it provides healthy exercise, uses excess adrenalin and releases stress, and provides means for developing better social understanding with canine peers. Neglecting play in your life – time for recreational exercise and fun – can let stress build up to the point it becomes unmanageable.

This can also place strain on your social relationships and your ability to navigate the independent wants and needs of important people in your life. Instead of allowing this to happen, find a way to schedule time for play into your daily routine.

Do you need help in managing stress? Schedule an appointment with Doctor Allie today and rediscover the stress management that many other species perform instinctively.

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