B.Levinson an american psychologist worked out the method of animal assisted therapy in the 60’s and first he used it to heal orphans and chidren with emotional disorders.
What makes a dog suitable for therapy?
Dogs have very good adaptability, it is possible to form close ties between dogs and people, they are taught and socialized easily, they enjoy training.
Type of Dog Therapy
1. AAA (animal assisted activity):
The point of animal assisted activity is to increase the quality of the participants’ life. During the training sessions general goals are set.
Stroking the smooth fur of dog, and its selfless love mean a lot for the children and the old too.
2. AAT (animal assisted therapy):
In the course of animal assisted therapy the sessions are organized according to the formulated goal and progress is monitored.
The area to be developed is defined.
It is a concrete therapy towards rehabilitation and development. In this case the dog is a motivational partner. The work of the dog is essential.
A well trained dog with experience can solve different situations without the help of the handler.
Tasks: Prevention, healing, development, education and improvement of the quality of life. Reduction and compensation of the handicap.
Development of psychic functions (sensation, perception, memory, attention, thought)
Development of motoring functions: great movements, coordination of fine movements,correction of incorrect movements, formation of the adequate movements, reduction of wrong posture, development of balance and the sense of rhythm. Influencing positively the emotional- and conscious life, behavior, attitude and action.
Training to self-determination.
Forming the right discipline, persistence, purposefulness, responsibility and sense of duty for the age of the target group.
In case of medical attendance and long hospitalization ( e.g.with cancer patients) it is proven that dog therapy can decrease the fears and pains of patients connected with their illnesses and it can improve the quality of their life.
In trials ( e.g. statement of the assaulted child) the therapy dog can help him release his stress of recalling the incidence during statement.
3. AAE (animal assisted education):
The therapy dogs have been regularly attending classes as a motivating partner once a week in first and second grades of primary schools, which helps children with special needs catch up and with the building of class morale and integration. In this case the children cannot only acquire knowledge joyfully but be educated about environment and animal protection and the responsible keeping of animals.