Therapy Dogs: How They Provide a Helping Paw

Updated on July 7, 2019
Petcessories profile image

I am just a pet owner and animal lover who wants to save animals' lives.

What Are Therapy Dogs?

Therapy dogs help their owners by giving them a sense of comfort and offer them affection. Therapy dogs are dogs that may be trained to help with the following:

  • Provide affection
  • Comfort and love those in the hospital or nursing homes
  • Support schools, hospices, and disaster areas
  • Support people who have anxiety disorders, depression, or autism
  • Comfort individuals during therapy sessions or physical therapy

Did You Know?

A therapy dog can be trained for one person, or they can reside in nursing homes and help with many residents.

Therapy Dogs vs. Service Dogs

A service dog is trained to do a task for certain disabilities. They help their owners be safe and independent. Many service dogs have a "no petting" policy as it could disrupt their performance.

Therapy dogs will also have training, but it is completely different. They are trained to provide comfort. They are usually easy going and have a stable temperament.

How Dogs Help

Dogs can help in many ways. They provide unconditional love an acceptance of their owners. They can recognize panic attack signs and more. Having a responsibility to care for a dog, like feeding or other things, can help motivate a person.

Service Dog Tasks

Service dogs can also perform a task for their owner. These tasks can include:

  • Opening doors
  • Turning lights on or off
  • Picking up dropped items

Different Types of Therapy and Service Dogs

  • Allergy Detection Dogs: These dogs are trained to sniff out and alert the owner of things such as peanuts or gluten allergies.
  • Emotional Support Dogs: Provide comfort to their owners or in schools, hospitals, and more.
  • Autism Support Dogs: They help children with autism navigate social settings; they are also trained to keep them from running away or to track the child if they do run away.
  • Depression, Anxiety, and PSD: These dogs can help by comforting. If someone in this category has trouble with their safety, the service dog can enter their homes first and make them feel safer. Having a dog also forces that person to go out into the world to exercise the dog, which can be very helpful.
  • Seizure Response: They are trained to bark or set off an alarm when a seizure occurs.
  • Guide Dogs: These dogs provide assistance by leading the visually impaired around. These are the most common type of service dog.
  • Hearing Dogs: Assist by alerting the owner of noises like doorbells, alarms, and more. When they hear these sounds, they will touch the owner with their nose then guide them to sounds.
  • Mobility Assistance: These dogs provide a variety of task. They can be trained to bring objects, push buttons, and become a brace for those who are ambulatory; they can pull a wheelchair up a ramp if needed.
  • Animal-Assisted Therapy Dogs: They help therapists. Some help the patient gain motion in their limbs and develop hand-eye coordination. They are usually found at rehabilitation centers.
  • Facility Therapy Dogs: Often work in nursing homes and mostly help patients with Alzheimer’s or mental illnesses. The dogs are trained staff members and live at the facility.

Fun Facts

In WWII, therapy dogs were used to lift the mood of the recovering soldiers.

Petting a dog is proven to lower the risk of heart attack, seizure, and stroke.

Shelter pets can have a second chance at life by becoming a therapy dog.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2018 Savanna H


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)