There is a reason dogs are humans best friend and it’s important to choose the best therapy dog for you. Research has shown that dogs offer a lot of benefits with people suffering from illness such as depression, anxiety, abnormal amount of stress or PTSD. There is a difference between a service dog and a therapy dog, also refer to as an emotional support animal or ESA for short.
More specifically a therapy dog is used in a variety of situations such as visiting people in a nursing home. This type of dog is usually used to comfort many different people not necessarily the owner of the dog.
Therapy dog vs service dog
A service dog needs to be trained and are used for services such as guiding a blind person or assisting with activities for people in wheelchairs. Dogs who have physical issues may be in need of a dog wheelchair. Therapy dogs cannot be brought into a lot of public places and especially not restaurants. Service dogs on the other hand are allowed in any public place and is against the law to prevent someone access to a public place with their service dog.
Where are therapy dogs allowed to go?
Therapy dogs are typically allowed in apartments that do not usually allow pets and on airplanes. However, you will need proof from a licensed professional that they recommend you have a therapy dog. This will prevent you from having to pay fees associated with traveling with your dog or apartments that either do not allow pets or that require a pet deposit. Just make sure your dog does not bark excessively or it can become a problem.
Characteristics of a good therapy dog
Therapy dogs should be naturally calm and patient. They should also be good around other people, animals and children. Choosing between a large dog and small dog really comes down to the living environment that the dog will be in and how much exercise it needs. Another thing to keep in mind is if the type of dog you get sheds. This is more of a personal preference and whether or not you have allergies.
The following are the best therapy dog breeds.
- Labrador Retriever
This large dog breed is a favorite in many countries such as the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. They are intelligent and are suitable for a variety of working roles. They love to play and also enjoy going in the water. They can smell very well which is why they have been used both in the military and with the police.
- French Bulldog
This domestic breed is a cross between a toy bulldog and a ratters. They love to be around people and are great with children. The absolutely love affection and don’t like to be alone for really long periods of time, especially as a puppy.
This large dog is known for racing. They can reach a top speed of over 40mph. They are also great as companions. Greyhounds are less likely to cause allergies for people even though they have a short coat.
- Golden Retriever
This large dog breed is great in both urban and suburban environments. They love to swim and be active since they have an abundance of energy. This dog is great as a service dog and also as a therapy dog. They can be easily trained and are also affectionate.
This medium sized dog breed is considered to be the most intelligent of all dogs. They are common to find all across the world. The Border Collie is the most recognized type of Collie. They range from average to very easy to train.
Poodles come in three varieties standard, miniature and toy. They are ranked as the second most intelligent dog after the Colie.
This toy dog breed is very small. Pomeranians are usually friendly, lively and playful. They are very aware of their environment and tend to bark a lot. However, they are intelligent and easy to train.
- Yorkshire Terrier
This small dog usually gets no bigger than 7 pounds. It is commonly referred to as a Yorkie. Yorkie’s only shed minimally and are hypoallergenic.
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
This type of Spaniel is small and classified as a toy dog. They typically weigh 13-18 pounds. They are high affectionate and eager to please. This dog is hypoallergenic and sheds minimally.
- German Shepherd
This medium to large size dog is commonly used by the police. They are easily trainable, have great sense of smell and very strong. They can interpret different tasks easily which makes them one of the smartest breeds.
This small dog breed comes in smooth-haired, wire-haired and long-haired varieties. They are also known as a wiener dog or sausage dog because of their long body and short legs. They are great for people who live in apartments and they love to hide under things like blankets.
This small hound breed usually weighs between 20-25 pounds. The beagle is intelligent, has a good temper and has a lack of inherited health problems.
This small dog is easily recognizable because of their wrinkly face and body. They are friendly, gentle and have a charming personality.
The Welsh Corgi more commonly called Corgi is a small dog weighing between 31-37 pounds. There are two types the Pembroke Welsh Corgi and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi.
This toy dog weighs between 2-8 pounds. This dog was bread to be a companion dog. The Maltese should be supervised around small children because they can be snappy. This is less of a problem if the dog was a puppy and raised around small children.
This toy dog breed weighs only 4-6 pounds. They can be either long-haired or short-haired. They can be easily provoked and attached due to their small size which can make them timid. Chihuahuas are not recommended for people who have small children.
- Bichon Frise
They are a member of the toy dog group and considered a lap dog. They typically weigh 10-20 pounds. The dogs are sociable, friendly, affectionate and intelligent. They are a great choice if you have children.
- Yorkshire Terrier
This small dog breed typically gets up to only 7 pounds. A popular companion dog which is often found as a mixed breed.
- Shih Tzu
This small dog breed is recognizable for its underbite. They usually weigh 8-18 pounds. Shih Tzu’s temperaments vary but usually are loyal, affectionate, outgoing and alert. They shed minimally and are hypoallergenic. Not to be confused with a Lhasa Apso which looks very similar, but is not nearly as affectionate.
The last toy dog breed on our list. These dogs are not considered hypoallergenic, but since they have long hair tend to shed less than short-haired dogs. It is not the hair, but the enzymes in certain types of dog hair that could produce allergies in humans.
These are our top choices for therapy dogs. However, most definitely do not discredit mixed breeds. Especially mixed breeds from our list. Also, there are millions of dogs in the United States alone each year that need a home. Your furry friend may just be able to be adopted!