A fully trained assistance or therapy dog is so much more than just a helping hand, they will carry out their duties and follow commands without hesitation. But most of all, they will become a companion and best friend to either one person as an assistance dog or to all as a therapy and support dog.
So do cockapoos make good therapy or assistance dogs? First, we need to understand the differences between therapy and assistance dogs and the true meaning of the terms.
Introduction to assistance and therapy dogs
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There can be a lot of confusion around the different jobs that these working dogs do, and it is working, the assistance dog especially will need some time out from being at the ready for anything state of alert.
The role of an assistance dog
An assistance dog, also known as a service dog in America, plays a completely different role to the therapy or emotional support dog, they are trained specifically for the person they are going to be helping
A high level of training is required specific to the person it is going to help i.e as a hearing dog, guide dog for the visually impaired, or to help a physically disabled person by fetching or picking up dropped articles etc. and once trained the dog will normally be with the client 24 hours a day 365 days of the year.
However, just like every doctor won’t make a good surgeon, not every dog will make a good assistance or therapy dog. They will need certain traits, they must be calm and friendly, alert but non-reactive, have a willingness to please and follow, also to be able to deal with all kinds of situations and surroundings.
I recently read an article about a gentleman with a spinal injury that had his lovely cockapoo trained, she is now a fully qualified assistance dog, they go everywhere together, she carries all his paperwork in her jacket and will stay with him in emergencies until help arrives, they have a bond between them that is quite enviable, so with the right temperament, a cockapoo can make a great service dog.
The role of a therapy dog
Therapy or emotional support dogs have to be all things to all men, these are the dogs that you see visiting nursing homes and hospitals etc. with their human partners bringing smiles, love and joy to everyone.
Just like assistance dogs they still need to have the right personality and training but the training is less intense, they must be calm and not get excited or jump when they greet people, they must follow commands quickly and also be able to handle all the various situations and surroundings they will be facing.
Cockapoos making the difference
Would you like to share the love that your four-legged friend has and help your local community at the same time, volunteering yourself and your pet to visit people less fortunate than ourselves is a great thing to do and extremely rewarding?
Cockapoos are highly intelligent dogs and can be trained quite easily, this along with their naturally loving nature and playful attitude makes them a good choice for use as emotional support or therapy dogs it is so wonderful to see an elderly persons face light up when they see your gorgeous cockapoo come wagging in.
A dog is said to be mans best friend and sadly there are too many people that have a love for them or that used to own one that due to circumstances can no longer enjoy their company. It just makes a persons’ day when they get a visit from a happy and waggy dog that greets them like a long lost friend.
There are just so many wonderful stories about cockapoos that have been chosen to visit nursing homes, hospices and even schools. There is one wonderful cockapoo that helps special needs children while they are in school, if a child gets upset or things just get too much it is amazing how a hug and stroke with a loving dog in a quiet place can give them back a feeling of calm.
Your cockapoo will need to be assessed and there are certain guidelines in place, but this is not a rigorous procedure, your cockapoo just needs to be well behaved, sociable and overall calm in any situation.