Go Back   English Forum Switzerland > Help & tips > Pet corner  
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 11.08.2021, 21:42
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jul 2021
Location: Spreitenbach
Posts: 8
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Kaileena has no particular reputation at present
Experiences with therapy dog

Hi everyone,

How are you all doing?

I've heard that some people get one for different reasons (autism, anxiety, etc.) and I heard only good things they greatly helped people improving their lives, especially when it comes to their day-to-day life. I've never met anyone personally who had a therapy dog and this isn't a spur of the moment thing, I've always loved dogs and also got experience caring for them during my initial years in the UK was looking after dogs and cats and have been thinking about it a while now, but put it off since I couldn't afford it and didn't have the space at that time.

I started suffering from anxiety, depression, and insomnia during my time at university and it got only worse later on. Medication is not been an option for me since 1. I prefer trying more natural remedies and I'm quite averse to medication (not that I didn't try) and 2. my body absorbs medication slowly, which makes me more prone to side effects (especially tremors, fatigue, and insomnia).

I'll also check Google and such but I also would like to hear if anyone had a therapy dog and their experience.

Thanks for reading and take care!
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 11.08.2021, 22:52
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: na
Posts: 11,541
Groaned at 37 Times in 33 Posts
Thanked 27,521 Times in 8,480 Posts
meloncollie has a reputation beyond reputemeloncollie has a reputation beyond reputemeloncollie has a reputation beyond reputemeloncollie has a reputation beyond reputemeloncollie has a reputation beyond reputemeloncollie has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Experiences with therapy dog

First, perhaps you could clarify what you mean by therapy dog.

In Switzerland there are recognized 'Sozial Hunde', a program developed where dogs help people who suffer from a wide range of difficulties. Typically PTSD, anxiety, etc. These dogs go through a rigorous traning program.

Three groups that train these dogs are:

Therapiehunde Schweiz:
https://www.therapiehunde.ch/de/

LeCopain:
https://www.lecopain.ch/en/

Blindenhunde Allschwil:
https://www.blindenhundeschule.ch/sp...nd-sozialhunde
(They train not only guide dogs for the blind but also assistance dog, autism support dogs, and social assistance dogs)

There are other groups as well, these two are a good place to start your research.
Take a gander at these sites to see what is involved in training a recognized therapy dog.

The Blindenhundschule offers an open day, where the public can learn more about training these dogs. (At least they did pre-COVID). You might contact them to see if another will take place soon. A good way to learn more from the true experts.

---

There is also a growing trend of 'self taught' assistance dogs. Now... while some of these programs are very good indeed, I must warn you that there are also organizations that are nothing more than scammers - yes, here in Switzerland. If you are thinking of going this route, you must do your due diligence!

Not every dog is temperamentally suited to be a therapy dog - in fact most aren't. Not every temperamentally suitable dog makes it through training. If you are thinking of going the self-taught route, first a deep dive into the subject is recommended.

(The rescuer in me of course is thinking: What would you do if your dog turned out to be wholly unsuitable to therapy work?)

Be aware that self-taught assistance dogs - while an absolute godsend to those who rely on them - are generally not recognized here. An owner of one of these usually faces the same restrictions as any other run of the mill dog owner. I believe only recognized therapy dogs are granted wider access.

There is a long running thread on ESAs that you should read. I won't link it because I don't want to dredge up all that ugliness - but you can easily find it via a search. That thread makes for rather disheartening reading, and unfortunately the nastiness of some of the posts pretty much mirrors attitudes found among the general Swiss public. That thread might give you insights into the kinds of prejudice you could face here in Switzerland.

---

I think, but am not sure, that some of the training organizations retain ownership of the dogs.

FYI, I believe Swiss insurance generally only helps defray some costs for guide dogs for the blind. Costs for other categories of assistance dogs, recognized or not, are born by the owner. (If anyone has any better information, please correct me!)

---

My experience with therapy dogs is second hand; we were fortunate to have the support of two fantastic dogs and their owner/trainer to help comfort my father who suffered from Alzheimers. (This was in the US.)

These two dogs were amazing. The were able to calm my father when nothing else could, they could reach him long after he lost verbal ability and cogniition. These dogs were trained specifically to work with Alzheimer's patients; I understand the training program was intense. It would have to be, given the disease.

--

Trained therapy dogs, and the people and organizations who train and support them, are a godsend to those in need. Thank doG for these angels, two and four footed!


Wishing you all the best.


ETA:

I seem to remember that an EF member is involved in therapy dog training. I hope that person, if still around, sees this thread.

Last edited by meloncollie; 12.08.2021 at 01:36.
Reply With Quote
The following 5 users would like to thank meloncollie for this useful post:
  #3  
Old 12.08.2021, 07:03
Island Monkey's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Wallis
Posts: 6,696
Groaned at 118 Times in 82 Posts
Thanked 7,514 Times in 3,427 Posts
Island Monkey has a reputation beyond reputeIsland Monkey has a reputation beyond reputeIsland Monkey has a reputation beyond reputeIsland Monkey has a reputation beyond reputeIsland Monkey has a reputation beyond reputeIsland Monkey has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Experiences with therapy dog

If you want a dog to help with anxiety and depression, you really need to make sure that you get the right dog. My lunatic leaves me in need of therapy
Reply With Quote
The following 3 users would like to thank Island Monkey for this useful post:
  #4  
Old 12.08.2021, 12:38
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Zurich
Posts: 4,967
Groaned at 186 Times in 121 Posts
Thanked 8,679 Times in 2,902 Posts
Kittster has a reputation beyond reputeKittster has a reputation beyond reputeKittster has a reputation beyond reputeKittster has a reputation beyond reputeKittster has a reputation beyond reputeKittster has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Experiences with therapy dog

Quote:
View Post
Hi everyone,

How are you all doing?

I've heard that some people get one for different reasons (autism, anxiety, etc.) and I heard only good things they greatly helped people improving their lives, especially when it comes to their day-to-day life. I've never met anyone personally who had a therapy dog and this isn't a spur of the moment thing, I've always loved dogs and also got experience caring for them during my initial years in the UK was looking after dogs and cats and have been thinking about it a while now, but put it off since I couldn't afford it and didn't have the space at that time.

I started suffering from anxiety, depression, and insomnia during my time at university and it got only worse later on. Medication is not been an option for me since 1. I prefer trying more natural remedies and I'm quite averse to medication (not that I didn't try) and 2. my body absorbs medication slowly, which makes me more prone to side effects (especially tremors, fatigue, and insomnia).

I'll also check Google and such but I also would like to hear if anyone had a therapy dog and their experience.

Thanks for reading and take care!
Are you talking about an emotional support animal or an actual assistance/service dog?

If it's the former, you basically make sure to pick a healthy, well-behaved, chill dog that you have a great connection with, not really much more to it. I would opt for one that is at least a year old, two might be better, as the true character should be revealed and the "chewing on everything" phase well and truly over.

Meanwhile, an assistance/service dog is trained to help you with certain things and can alert for specific situations, e.g. panic attacks, hypoglycemia, seizures before they happen or have a negative effect on you. They are pretty expensive to get and there is usually a waiting list. I'm actually not sure how many of these exist in Switzerland, so far I've only ever observed dogs for those with sight-impairments, there is a famous school in Allschwil that trains them. We read a book called "Saskia, wirst du ein Blindenhund?" (Saskia, will you become a dog for the blind?) when I was a school and a blind lady came with her own dog to explain all about her and how we should behave with service dogs in general, as well as how to best interact with blind people. It was really helpful and I hope kids still get such experiences today.
Reply With Quote
The following 2 users would like to thank Kittster for this useful post:
  #5  
Old 20.08.2021, 20:46
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jul 2021
Location: Spreitenbach
Posts: 8
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Kaileena has no particular reputation at present
Re: Experiences with therapy dog

Thank you so much to everyone who replied and special thanks to @meloncollie for your informative post! I'll check out the info you all gave me!! <3
Reply With Quote
Reply




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Therapy dog summergirl Pet corner 16 04.02.2019 13:11
Therapy Cats Education 5 24.08.2016 16:40
Beauty therapy Aussie92 Other/general 2 05.06.2013 19:52
ABA Therapy Zugerberg Daily life 2 05.12.2012 17:29
my adventures becoming a therapy dog MrsFraser Pet corner 6 18.03.2011 22:18


All times are GMT +2. The time now is 03:26.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
LinkBacks Enabled by vBSEO 3.1.0