It is very important for us to know that Greater Swiss Mountain and Pet assisted therapy are interlinked and can play a major role in patient’s recovery or cure. A Pet assisted therapy is a type of therapy that involves a pet with specific characteristics becoming a fundamental part of a person’s treatment. This therapy is designed to improve the physical, social, emotional, and/or cognitive functioning of the patient, as well as provide educational and motivational effectiveness for participants. In this case, the participants would be the Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs.
It was back in 1976, when Elaine Smith, a registered American nurse noticed how well patients responded to visits by a certain chaplain and his canine companion. He started a program for training dogs to visit institutions. Over the years, other health care professionals noticed and documented the therapeutic effect of animal companionship, such as relieving stress, lowering blood pressure, and raising spirits. In recent years, therapy dogs have been enlisted to help children overcome speech and emotional disorders. This therapy helps in utilizing animals as a therapeutic modality to facilitate the healing and rehabilitation of patients with acute or chronic diseases.
Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are intelligent, alert, strong, gentle and friendly to all. Therefore, they are a great help in pet assisted therapy. They have gained this reputation by participating in dog sports like tracking, drafting, carting, herding and rally. Plus, they have always been known to accompany their masters on any expedition they went. The pet assisted therapy is a tool that helps the animal or the pet to socialize. Because of the friendly nature of Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs, they are allowed among children and patients. However, one has to keep a close watch because their big size might harm someone unintentionally. Still, socialization reduces the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog’s defensive aggression, i.e. the tendency to bark at every other stranger.
Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs therapy helps in various ranges of motion, strength and endurance, balance and mobility and sensation. The patient also receives psychosocial benefits such as building rapport, increasing self-esteem and motivation and stress reduction. It is very important for the safety of the patients to note that the animals instinctively react in a safe, predictable way during therapy.
In order to prepare the Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs for pet assisted therapy, it is necessary for every dog to through a temperament test. Next, a veterinary screening is done, after which the dog gets the obedience training before making him work with the patients.
Pet assisted therapy offers numerous advantages which are available through other therapies as well. Yet, in this era of advanced managed care and cost reduction, this cheaper therapy is being preferred in hospitals and medical care centers as one animal can provide numerous benefits, thus, cutting down the cost.
Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs used in pet assisted therapy should be certified by an organization that provides:
Required ongoing education to the animal and owner
Liability insurance covering the animal and owner during volunteer activities.
After receiving all the above information, if you plan on conducting a Pet Assisted Therapy program, you should make sure that your pet is properly trained, and that the trainers who will be training the dogs are well educated and experienced.