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Pet Therapy Training and Pet Assisted Therapy, How they work.

Updated on July 6, 2009

Pet Therapy Training broken down

Pet therapy has been used for many years. It is the practice of using an animal, usually a dog, as a source of therapy. It has been especially effective when used with elderly patients and young children. There are two types of pet therapy, AAT, Animal Assisted Therapy, and AFT, Animal Facilitated Therapy. Dogs that work in pet therapy are supervised by a professional trainer. Animal Assisted Therapy usually occurs in a general setting. In either case, pet therapy has been successful in helping to heal the ill and disabled. It is a proven fact that pets help us heal faster.

There are major differences between AAT and AFT. AFT takes place in a setting that involves patients who are socially or mentally challenged, and there is a devised therapy plan. The animal helps these individuals develop certain skills. For example, the patient may be told to brush the dog 5 times. This helps the patient follow directions and focus their attention. AAF is a generalized type of pet therapy. This is when the dog visits private homes or nursing homes. The overall goal is to simply make the day a bit brighter for the patient.

Is Pet Assisted Therapy stressful?

Now that the different types of pet therapy have been explained, you may be asking how pet therapy actually works. The result of the therapy often depends on the individual. Many times, pet therapy is used with ill patients. The dog plays an important role in avoiding depression and can help the patient heal quicker. Most dogs are very sociable and love to be out visiting. Pet therapy has no negative effects on the animal involved. It is a win-win situation. The patient’s spirits are lifted and the dog gets the attention it craves.

It is important the all therapy dogs be well behaved. Therapy can be stressful at times, especially if the patient is uncooperative. There is no special training required for any pet. However, they should respond to basic commands and be calm and gentle. One of the most rewarding things for a patient is for a dog to place his paw on their lap. If you can train the dog to perform this, you will have a successful therapy dog in almost every setting.

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Requirements of a Therapy Pet

Many pet owners believe it is difficult to have their dog become a therapy pet. This is not the case at all. In fact, you can begin today. As long as your pet has good manners, he or she can be a wonderful therapy tool to patients. If you are aware of a local nursing home that allows pet therapy, contact them and ask if you can bring in your pet. Most nursing homes are very open to pet therapy. You will be bringing a smile to many faces while making your pet feel needed at the same time.

Pet assisted therapy is very rewarding, not only for the patients involved, but for the pet and their owner. If you would like to involve your pet in Animal Assisted Therapy, you will need to find a professional that will supervise the visits. Animal Facilitated Therapy does not require this, and the dog’s owner can make all the arrangements.

There are numerous groups available if you are interested in becoming involved with AAT. A great starting point is the Delta Society. There are many organizations that you can become involved with. All it takes is a few minutes to search on the internet. Chances are there is an organization in your neighborhood.


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    • WillSteinmetz profile image

      WillSteinmetz 6 years ago

      This is very informative hub... Thanks for sharing this page.

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      Savannah  8 years ago

      Ugh no web sites have the things i need!

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      Somnath 8 years ago

      PAT is not only for elderly or young patient i think it is absolutely helpful to all ages. It is a really reduce stress and vent out anxiety after a whole day stress...try it just give your pet a hug ot just pat him or at least see carefully to him.