What is Canine Assisted Therapy?

Dogs can provide multiple impacts to patients, aiding in physical, social, and emotional healing through motivation and the improvement of overall well-being. Canine Assisted Therapy involves regular sessions with professionally trained Canine Behaviour Coaches and either a trained therapy dog or the client’s own pet. It aims to help people cope with both physical and mental limitations.

For example they can benefit:

  • People undergoing physiotherapy by motivating their functional outcome goals.

  • Stroke patients with social interactions and language therapy.

  • Trauma victims undergoing therapy by enhancing their feelings of safety and well-being.

  • Caregivers by reducing their stress levels.

    Research studies indicate that including canines in the therapy process provides patients with the ability to open up, speak out and participate in ways they were not able to when the dog was not present. Canines can elicit positive social responses when other approaches often fail, and mediate interactions in awkward and uncomfortable therapeutic settings.
    View Studies: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7185850/https:// www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6336278/

    In general, Canine Assisted Therapy, refers to various services using dogs to help people with specific physical or mental health conditions. On the whole, the goal of canine assisted therapy is to alleviate or help people cope with some symptoms of various conditions where possible. Canine Assisted Therapy can have several goals, and these will determine how it works. The type of therapy and target for this therapy may change depending on the individuals condition, goals and the type of aid that a person needs.

    Some examples include:

  • Providing comfort and reducing levels of pain

  • Improving movement or motor skills

  • Developing social or behavioural skills

  • Increasing motivation toward activities such as exercise or interacting with others

  • Engaging in healthy home habits such as house chores, eating regularly, self-care and sleep hygiene

  • Prompt cognitive awakening and increased learning capacity

  • Encourages self-assessment and emotional regulation

    Canine therapy is a complementary treatment. It is not a basis for the treatment of any condition and should only enhance or complement other treatment. It is not a replacement for other forms of therapy, such as psychotherapy or physical therapy.