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All About Animal Assisted Therapy

  • Improved self-esteem. Spending time with animals increases self-esteem.  Clients learn how to care for a pet, which in turn gives them the confidence to take care of themselves.

  • Reduced anxiety. Animals have a positive effect on physical health, lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and heart rate. This helps people feel less anxious and gives them greater control of their behaviors and actions.

  • Better social skills. Working with an animal prevents isolation and builds social skills. For example, dog parks can help an individual meet new people in their neighborhood.  Having a dog gives an instant topic of conversation for those who are learning new social skills.  

  • Increased trust and empathy.  Animals are always ready and willing to form connections with people, and can help clients learn how to trust and form new bonds.  

  • Following Directions.  Clients are able to work with dogs to better improve their ability to follow directions and learn sequencing.  Following specific steps with dogs, learning and speaking commands, and teaching and getting immediate positive feedback from dogs help clients learn the importance of following directions.  

  • Learning Boundaries and Acceptable Behaviors.  Clients are able to comprehend boundaries and rules when shown that they apply to animals too.  Specific teaching topics include understanding behavior rules, develop positive habits, and being a good listener.  For example:  many clients can understand while holding a therapy dog why it is important to stop and look for traffic before crossing the street.  The innately understand a car might hurt the dog and are more willing to stop, look, and listen while holding the dog than while on their own.

  • Increasing Physical Fitness.  Many clients are more interested in exercise and staying active when a therapy dog is involved.  Being able to walk with the dog, or throw a ball to an excited puppy gives extra motivation.  

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