There’s no better therapy than playing with dogs, and it looks like science agrees!
People are rushing every day to register their dogs as therapy animals. The job only requires patience, affection, and emotional support. And we all know dogs are pretty good at the three!
In this article, we’ll discuss everything about French Bulldog therapy dogs.
What Is a Therapy Dog?
A therapy dog is a pet that provides emotional support to people who have mental illness. The dogs don’t need to go under training to be able to do this. However, a professional psychiatrist or psychologist must be the one to prescribe the therapy.
Dogs aren’t the only animals that can contribute to therapy. Horses, reptiles, and cats can do it too, unlike service animals, which are exclusive to dogs. The reason is pretty simple; a horse isn’t exactly the best choice to help a disabled person, nor is a reptile!
When you own an emotional support animal, the law protects you against housing discrimination. Meaning, no landlord can object to you living on their property, even if no pets are allowed there.
What Is the Difference Between a Therapy Dog and a Service Dog?
A lot of people get confused about the roles of therapy and service dogs, although they aren’t closely related. Here’s a brief about each one.
The main role of service dogs is guiding and helping people with physical disabilities. If you need this level of support, a French Bulldog service dog might be right for you.
Unlike therapy dogs, service dogs must get training in order to gain a certificate. Additionally, not all breeds can do the job. It’s a challenging responsibility, so only a few breeds are suitable for it.
Service dogs usually start training when they’re young puppies, and it can last for up to two years. They mostly get trained to help their owner with everything, including fetching medicine and moving around.
Therapy dogs should provide support and comfort for people recovering from mental trauma or illness. Dogs are already great at supporting their owners, so most breeds can do the job perfectly fine.
Therapy dogs don’t get the same leverage as service dogs. They’re not allowed in public places that prohibit pets.
They mostly do their job in care homes, disaster areas, and hospitals. Some dogs also work at schools and colleges.
Do French Bulldogs Make Good Therapy Dogs?
Therapy dogs need to be gentle, friendly, and calm-natured. French Bulldogs fit in all these categories perfectly. So, needless to say, they’d make impeccable therapy dogs.
There are some other reasons too. For starters, Frenchies are small. Their owners can easily lift them onto hospital beds when they need to.
Secondly, Frenchies are among the most affectionate breeds of dogs. They get used to people pretty quickly, so they’re easy to deal with. I’ve been raising Frenchies my whole life, and I’ve never seen one scowl at a stranger.
Lastly, French Bulldogs aren’t among the aggressive breeds. They won’t be irritated easily, which works well for therapy.
Do Frenchies Need Training as Therapy Dogs?
This is a matter of controversy. Some people prefer training their dogs to ensure they’re ready for the job. Meanwhile, others don’t think it’s necessary. I believe it depends on the patient’s conditions and the hospital or care home.
Some hospitals won’t allow therapy dogs on their grounds unless they’ve been through training and safety checks. That’s because they want to avoid aggressive and temperamental dogs.
The dog’s owner should be able to judge the situation correctly. If your dog isn’t naturally calm, it’s better not to indulge him in therapy tasks. Additionally, if you believe he needs the training to carry out his job correctly, do it. It’s totally up to you.
Here are some requirements that most hospital and care homes will ask for:
- Full health check
- Rabies vaccine
- Obedience training
- Socialization training
How Do I Get My Frenchie Certified As A Therapy Dog?
You can get your Frenchie’s certification in plenty of organizations, such as Therapy Dogs International. Each of them will have its own flow for the process. However, they generally follow the same rules.
If you think your dog is friendly and sweet enough, the first thing you should do is to go through the testing process. At any professional organization, they’ll test the manners and the demeanor of your dog.
Next, they’ll take your dog to medical facilities to test how he acts around patients. You’ll go through some tests, too, regarding how you handle your dog and deal with him.
If your dog passes these tests, he can officially become a therapy dog.
Benefits of Emotional Support Dogs
Having an emotional support dog is beneficial on so many levels. There are a couple of things you’ll gain.
You Won’t Feel Lonely
Most people with mental illness prefer to keep minimal contact with people, especially those with social anxiety conditions. They mostly want to keep out of embarrassing situations.
While this may help them stay in their comfort zone, it can get depressing fast. That’s why a dog for a companion is highly recommended. Dogs will give unconditional love, and they’ll cling to their owners. This is precisely what some patients need.
Another good thing about having a therapy dog is the fact that you’ll have to go outside eventually. A dog can’t stay all the time indoors. So, you’ll find yourself going out willingly for your little one, which will improve your mood and lift your spirits.
Having pets is known to reduce anxiety and stress levels. How about an emotional support dog whose only job is to provide you with unconditional love?
Dogs deal well with panic and anxiety attacks. They’re a great companion for this particular disorder.
Better Physical Health
Therapy dogs result in a significant reduction in PTSD symptoms. They also help their owner relax and spend leisure time, which lowers blood pressure. In turn, this reduces the cholesterol in the body, along with the triglyceride levels.
Furthermore, having a therapy dog will have you go outside on walks and picnics. Increasing physical activity generally puts you in good shape and improves your mood.
What Conditions Qualify For A Therapy Dog?
Not all mental conditions can be qualified for owning a therapy dog. A psychologist or a psychiatrist must confirm the case first because some mental disorders won’t be able to deal with a dog or adequately care for him.
Here are the health conditions that qualify you for having a therapy dog:
- Panic disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Mood disorders
- Separation anxiety
- Social anxiety
- Personality disorders
Can I Fly With My Therapy Dog?
Yes, you can. Therapy dogs fall under the Air Carrier Access Act. The act claims that emotional support dogs are allowed with their owners on airplanes. That’s as long as you inform your airline 48 hours prior so that they can make the needed accommodations.
Therapy dogs can go on planes without any extra fees, which is a huge bonus.
There isn’t a better dog breed for emotional support than Frenchies. My opinion is biased; of course. I’m in love with these doggies!
However, most institutes and doctors agree that they’ll make excellent therapy dogs. They got everything the job needs. Plus, they’re small and adorable.
You won’t get enough of the little Frenchies! If you think your dog is suitable for the job, don’t hesitate to get him tested.