Dogs are the most incredible creatures, as most dog owners would agree. They bring companionship, laughter, and love to any home, but they do so much more. Enter the therapy dog. Therapy dogs provide comfort to people who need it most. Therapy dogs are not service dogs, however. The latter is trained to help those with physical disabilities but can still be beneficial for autistic children. Therapy dogs for autistic children offer them a world of good, acting as loyal companions. Sometimes this leads to their improvement with relationships and social interactions. Autistic children learn life skills with these amazing dogs, as well as increase their interest in different activities. Dogs for autistic children promote social interaction and have a calming influence benefiting the kids in so many ways.
Therapy Dogs for Autistic Children – Recommended Breeds
One of the top therapy dogs for autistic children is the Labrador Retriever. The Lab also happens to be the most popular dog breed for over 25 years in the United States. They are brilliant and gentle, and with the proper training, can be very obedient.
Another of the best therapy dogs for autistic kids is the Golden Retriever. This breed, like some others, are very intelligent and have a calm temperament.
The Labradoodle is also a good dog to help autistic kids learn social skills because, like the Golden Retriever and the Labrador, the Labradoodle is typically calm and intelligent.
Making the list is the highly intelligent and loyal German Shepherd. Although a very protective breed, it can be extremely gentle to its family.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog breed is an affectionate companion. The toy breed is the 18th most popular dog in America and is known for being an excellent therapy dog.
The Saint Bernard is an obedient and patient therapy dog that is great with kids. Sometimes autistic children can be rough with dogs, but the Saint Bernard won’t react negatively if a child pulls its fur or its tail.
Autism assistance dogs provide emotional support. Just being there gives autistic people a sound and reassuring companion to ease the sensory overload challenges felt by those on the spectrum. It’s often difficult for autistic kids to filter out sensory input with so much going on all at once! Their friendly companion can help ground them.
In addition to that, the kind and gentle nature of assistance dogs enables them to be trained to use touch intervention to interrupt repetitive behaviors.
Learn more about Autism Service Dogs
Autism service dogs are highly trained working dogs. Because anxiety is an issue many autistic children suffer from, such service dogs are trained to decrease stress and anxiety. The anxiety may be caused by any school activity, a dental or medical visit, or any situation, for that matter.
These dogs respond to the individual needs of the person to whom they’ll provide assistance. In the case of autism service dogs, they may help with children or adults who have self-harming behaviors by gently interrupting them. They may also help with meltdowns as they respond to the buildup of anxiety. For instance, the autism service dogs may react and calm the anxiety in the child by laying on his/her lap or by leaning against them.
How Can Autistic Kids Benefit From Service Dogs
In addition to helping kids reduce stress levels, service dogs for autism provide comfort when the child needs it and is feeling upset. Simultaneously, they also reduce aggression levels, which can improve behavior. Whether you choose a from autism service dogs, assistance dogs, or autism therapy dogs, most agree that they bring many benefits to the child.