Why Does Pet Therapy Work?

Animal-Assisted Pet Therapy

Our dogs are active participants in our speech therapy sessions and serve as motivation and reinforcement to encourage our clients’ positive behaviors and outcomes. Our dogs motivate our clients to engage in goal-oriented behaviors such as increasing verbalizations, verbal social behaviors, and nonverbal social behaviors. During animal-assisted therapy, our client may use more requesting actions, increase their ability to produce sounds with accuracy, or enhance their level of independence. Our dog’s presence may encourage increased verbal communication as a child spontaneously yells “doggie;” help an adult post-stroke to follow directions after being given cues to “pet the dog two times;” assist a person with Parkinson’s Disease to increase their vocal loudness by saying commands to the dog; and calm a person with dementia who is experiencing confusion and anxiety in a new setting; among other applications.

Additionally, dogs provide a support system by providing love to our clients. They create smiles and laughter, which research has proven to increase quality of life and level of happiness, and to promote healing.

Our dogs serve a powerful role as part of our outcome-driven team!