Many dog owners have noticed the beneficial effect owning a dog has had on their health. Walking your dog enhances you physical and psychological wellbeing. Having a pet creates a healthy routine, brings joy and provides opportunities for interaction with other people.
Studies have also shown that petting a dog provides us with several health benefits. The need for touch is primitive and releases a chemical feel-good cocktail that have far-reaching benefits.
Research shows that the presence of a dog makes demented as well as depressed elderly smile and cheer up. A dog has also decreased the symptoms of depression and anxiety for said persons. Dogs seem to have similar positive effects on people of all ages. Dogs work in schools and child services institutions all over the world. With guidance, a child can learn emotional, social and interactive skills with a dog.
A dog can also provide new perspectives to the process of mental healing. In fact, animals can be the ultimate teacher of subtle expression for adults as well. In the United States, dogs are welcomed to several hospitals. In Finland, dog assisted working methods are increasing for example in prisons.
From Mere Presence to Active Participation
Even though the mere presence of a dog has beneficial effects on humans, with dog assisted intervention one can achieve so much more. The handler can use AAI to benefit their customer base specifically. A common denominator in each field, however, is the goal-oriented nature of the tasks given as well as the documentation of the work. There is a good reason for the dog to be present.
Tasks performed with an animal are unique. Even the most skilful machine or improvised drama exercise are nothing compared to interacting with a living, breathing creature.
The term pet therapy was launched by Psychologists Boris Levinson in the 1960s. He first noticed the effects of his pet dog when he met with his pediatric clients. His dog was able to have even the most introverted children to interact with himself surprisingly fast.
Even though the need for pet therapy increased with his popularity, the theoretical base behind dog assisted fields is relatively scarce. However, recently the academic world has acknowledged the significance of dog assisted intervention. We are looking forward to seeing a variety of study results on the possibilities of dog assisted intervention in different fields in the future.