All dogs are capable of showing affection to their beloved humans. But there are those canines that go the extra mile to ensure you don’t feel lonely or forget to take your meds on time. Here is a list of the best therapy dogs in 2021 for families that have seniors.
Did you know?
That having a therapy animal around could boost your moods, make you feel more confident, energetic, and ready to take on the world? What’s more, therapy dogs not only make you more social and outgoing, they generally contribute to your healthy living.
So what is a therapy dog?
On paper, this is a dog that offers affection and support to people, especially people in vulnerable situations. It could be a senior living alone, a person struggling with long-term ailment, or families that are hit by disasters. You will find therapy dogs in nursing homes, libraries, schools, and hospices.
There are two types of therapy dogs. Those that visit institutions to provide therapeutic care to patients are hence known as therapeutic visitation dogs. The second type of therapy dog is the animal-assisted therapy dog. These are institution-based dogs that perform specific tasks for patients, for example, walking the patient through specific activities to train their motor skills.
Therapy dogs vs service dogs
Therapy dogs are often confused with service dogs but the two are not the same. Service dogs are trained to perform specific tasks for disabled individuals. Because of the special care they give, service dogs are granted access to areas where therapy dogs would not be allowed- for example, a resort with a ‘No Pets’ policy will make an exception for service dogs. Some therapy dogs are trained for service dog duties too.
Qualities of the best therapy dogs
While all dogs are trainable, not every breed can make it to the list of the best therapy dogs. To work as a therapy dog, there are specific qualities that a potential candidate must possess. We will discuss them below.
The best therapy dogs have a high IQ. They can read people and situations and instantly know how to act. A good therapy pet knows when it is playtime and when to get serious. A high IQ also helps the dog adapt to dynamic situations especially when going to new places and meeting new faces.
A good therapy dog should be trainable and intelligent enough to quickly grasp commands. A well-trained therapy dog can lead patients through various activities. Also, such a dog should be able to obey commands from therapists and patients.
Friendly and sociable
The best therapy dogs love being around people and other pets. They are friendly to approach and do not mind you petting them. Such a dog is less likely to suffer social anxiety and will form quick loving bonds with patients.
A good therapy dog maintains its attention on the patient even in busy surroundings. The dog is committed to its duty and remains calm through everything especially when guiding a patient with social anxiety.
Low shedding breeds make the best therapy dogs. They will be working in areas that need to remain clean throughout, like hospitals. Such a dog should also be able to take care of itself ensuring it stays clean after grooming.
The Labrador retriever is ranked highly as one of the most friendly, affectionate, and trainable dogs by the American Kennel Club (AKC). Also, Labrador retrievers are very intelligent and can adapt to any environment. These dogs are calm, focused, and very patient- they will sit with a patient for hours if it is required of them. Furthermore, Labrador retrievers are less likely to have accidents when guiding a patient.
Unbeknownst to many, the Staffordshire Bull terrier has many of the qualities that are required of therapy dogs. Despite its gruesome history of bull baiting, Staffordshire bull terrier puppies grow to be very gentle, affectionate, and good towards children. Staffordshire bull terriers are also very intelligent and courageous, qualities that are necessary to guard or guide a patient away from trouble. The American bully terrier is a descendant of the Staffordshire bull terrier and carries these same magnificent qualities too.
Manmade Kennels Dogs Are The Best Therapy Dogs! Period!
If you are looking for the best therapy dog, look no further than our amazing Pitbull puppies for sale. Our dogs thrive in a large acre of land where they play games with us, chase after our quad bikes, fish with us at the pond, and help in rearing our farm animals. Our dogs learn to socialise while still puppies and grow to appreciate the importance of family.
We are confident to say our manmade kennels American bully dogs are great as therapy pets. Having lived among us, they have acquired impeccable skills for reading people and judging the mood in the room. Take it from us, just holding an adorable Pitbull puppy in your hands takes half your sorrows away.
Like Labradors, Golden retrievers are intelligent, hardworking, and very friendly. Golden retrievers have this warm vibe about them which makes them very approachable. True to that claim, retrievers are sociable and friendly towards children, adults, and animals. The only downside to Golden retrievers is their excessive shedding around Spring and fall. However, you can easily counter this problem by getting a Golden retriever mix dog.
Despite their small size, poodles rank high in intelligence and agility. Also, poodles make great therapy dogs because they shed minimally and were bred specifically for companionship. Furthermore, poodles are trainable, sociable, and very adaptable. Another selling point is their lush well-groomed coat that feels therapeutic when patting it.
If Frenchies had a superpower, it would be the ability to read the emotion in any room. A french bulldog can tell when you are sad or mad and knows exactly what to do to cheer you up. Also, French bulldogs are born companion dogs and they are good with strangers, kids, and other pets. Furthermore, their compact bodies make them great travel companions.
The pom pom is without a doubt one of the greatest cuddle givers. They are clean, their coats lush, and feel great to have them on your lap. Pomeranians are naturally inquisitive and their energetic personality makes them instantly lovable. Also, even with their high energy levels, Pomeranians are very obedient and attentive, earning them a spot on the list of best therapy dogs.
Although greyhounds were originally bred for gaming, today they reserve their energy for playtime and therapy duty. Also, greyhounds have replaced their high prey drive for a calm, gentle, and friendlier demeanor. If you want a therapy dog that will be great around kids, then a greyhound is a great place to start. They are very playful and will dash after frisbees, squeaky toys, and anything you use to play ‘Fetch’ with them.
Newfoundland dogs bring two superpowers to therapy duty- their warm affectionate smiles and a lush coat to pet. This dog breed is voted as very friendly and warm towards everyone, including strangers. Newfoundland dogs are great around kids and their sweet temperaments also make them great around seniors. The only kicker here is that Newfoundland dogs drool excessively. Other than that, they make great therapy dogs too.
German shepherds are very intelligent and quick to learn. Also, they are naturally robust and dextrous. They are the type of therapy dogs to help patients get through strenuous activities faster. Furthermore, GSD dogs are famed for their police dog abilities, which makes them great for protecting vulnerable patients.
Border collies are the world’s most intelligent dogs. In addition, coming from a history of herding flocks of sheep, the Border collies are very energetic, driven, and don’t wear out easily. Furthermore, this large dog breed is a people pleaser which makes training them easy. Also, Border collies love to be around people and will form strong bonds with patients and caregivers.
You can mistake this lean fellow for a greyhound or whippet. However, the Lurcher is equally a hunting dog that can be calm and very dependable if need be. Besides being easy to train, Lurcher dogs also have a friendly welcoming demeanor which makes them approachable. They are fun to have around especially when you are going through a tough time.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
One look at a Cavalier’s bashful smile will brighten up a gloomy day. Specifically bred for companionship, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dogs (Whoa, that’s a mouthful!) are tiny but have a friendly personality and love to be around children. As quiet little dogs, they get along well with other pets and are very affectionate. A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel can be very shy but when properly socialized, they make great lap dogs.
The famous sausage dog is also known as a Dachshund needs no introduction. Straight off the bat, Dachshunds are quite sociable and always eager to meet new people. As one of the best therapy dogs, Dachshund dogs are happiest when curled up on someone’s lap. Training is necessary to prevent them from incessant barking.
If you want a cuddly therapy dog that is also great to look at, look no further than a Corgi. Small, plump, and with one of the most beautiful fur coats, Corgi are brilliant dogs that make quick learners. They can read the mood in any room and know when to cheer things up. Corgis enjoy touch and being the center of attention. It makes them a perfect roommate for a patient who needs the company.
Tiny, cute, fluffy, and a fun-loving furry lad to have around. The Bichon Frise is a master of mischief but has a big heart for people. They will cuddle on your lap and show you the latest trick in their sleeves (read paws). Besides having a lush coat that feels soft to the touch, Bichon Frises are well-mannered despite their high energy levels. This small toy breed is great around children and other pets too.
We cannot list the best therapy dogs in 2021 without mentioning the Yorkshire terrier. The Yorkie Terrier is great at reading emotions and knowing what to do about them. Also, this small breed is very alert and will alert people in case of trouble. Yorkies are compact and adapt to any life as long as they receive love and care from their favorite human. Furthermore, this breed is very strong-willed but proper training will bring out their good side.
The Shih Tzu is a fine therapy dog for anyone who does not mind the extra-long grooming hours this dog demands. A fun way to get anyone’s moods up is handing them a brush and allowing them to bond with a Shih Tzus. Shih Tzus are very sociable, outgoing, and great with kids and other pets.
If you are having a bad day, just staring into a Pug’s wide eyes will make you warm inside. Despite their expressionless faces, pugs are clowns and full of mischief. They cannot pass up the chance to fool around and they also make great lap dogs. Also, pugs are compact and the best dogs to travel with, especially when visiting patients at institutions.
Beagles are known for their extroverted personalities. They love being around people and always have a funny trick to show anyone willing to give them attention. In addition, the Beagles are intelligent, affectionate, and very independent. A downside of Beagles is their stubbornness, especially during training. Yet, when you train them to excel around people, they will gladly pass with flying colors.
The past two years have been tough on all of us. As we rebuild ourselves and hope for a better future, we can always have a furry companion by our side to cheer us up and let us know there is a brighter tomorrow. Although we listed these dog breeds as the best therapy dogs 2021, you can get yourself one and make 2022 a warm fuzzy year!