Research has shown that being matched with a service dog for assistance in alleviating symptoms of PTSD offers numerous psychological, emotional and physiological advantages. Service dogs provide a wide array of emotional benefits and help to foster feelings of peace, security happiness within the individual they are paired with.
When it comes to therapy dogs, many are surprised to learn that virtually any breed and size of dog is capable of becoming a certified therapy or service dog. It is much less the type of dog that matters and more so the personality traits associated with that particular canine.
When choosing a therapy dog, there are a few fast and steady factors to take into consideration.
Carefully selecting service dogs based on personality characteristics like temperament is fundamental. Dogs that are even-tempered, gentle, consistent, and eager to please fare extremely well as service animals for obvious reasons.
Other important characteristics include:
- Confidence – A strong sense of confidence leads to comfort in a variety of situations. Therapy dogs need to maintain a high level of confidence when doing things like approaching and interacting with individuals and other animals. The ability to take on any environment or task with confidence and a high degree of self-efficacy is imperative due to the level of responsibility that is given to them.
- Comfort around others – It is important that service dogs are able to remain, cool, calm, collected and comfortable around individuals (including strangers), as well as other animals. Dogs that are too excitable do not fare well with instructions, and those that are constantly on edge unfortunately are equally as ineffective. It’s important to note, however, that there needs to be a delicate balance. Service dogs should not be overly personable, especially around strangers, since they must be able to maintain obedience and not become easily susceptible to manipulation.
- Adaptability – It is of paramount importance that service dogs are able to adapt properly to changes in environments and various degrees of external stimulation. After all, we want our service dogs focused wholly and completely on their human companion and their needs. A lack of adaptability will distract from this.
It’s important to remember that there are also various mandatory regulations within the code of law regarding service dogs and their public demeanor. In order to maintain compliance, they must remain on good behavior at all times. As a result, it is absolutely imperative that we invest in proper training and certification to ensure a high degree of responsibility and obedience is properly instilled.
At Koda’s Choice, our mission is to ensure that veterans suffering from PTSD are able to lead happy and healthy lives with the assistance of an AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) certified service dog by their side.
CGC certification is a form of accreditation provided by the American Kennel Club (AKC) and is recognized as the gold standard in the industry. It instills good manners and requires dogs to pass a ten-step program for the purpose of obtaining a certificate and/or an official AKC CGC title.
Investments in proper training are essential to ensure your canine companion remains polite, obedient, attentive and respectful in any and all situations regardless of context.
After all, these guys have a great deal of responsibility on their shoulders. Service dogs have been known to handle tasks that range from providing mobility assistance and medication reminders to calling emergency services via a K-9 rescue phone and mitigating the effects of the onset of debilitating episodes.
At Koda’s Choice know that these traits are only the tip of the iceberg. Service companions provide numerous profound effects on the emotional and psychological well-being of their human counterparts. It’s no wonder that they are the only species singled out as man’s best friend.