Did you know that dogs are able to help children with special needs? We all know well the emotional support and companionship that a lovely pet provides, but therapy dogs are particularly special animals that provide so much more to a child with special needs!

The unconditional, non-judgemental and empathetic support of the right dog is life-changing for children (and adults!) who feel stress and anxiety for example!  One of our Ridgy Didge Cobberdog families has blown us away with their story of how their non-verbal child began to speak a short time after their puppy came home! 

Many schools now have a therapy dog at school, to provide emotional support for special needs children.  There are some great stories on this page including Ridgy Didge Alfie at a Brisbane school; the school's administration officer says “Alfie has an incredible talent of going to those who need some extra love, whether that’s staff, students, or parents and caregivers”.

Many schools have therapy dogs that visit for reading programs!  All kids find it fun reading to a dog, and those who need extra reading support feel less self-conscious about making mistakes! And psychologists suggest that autistic children may find it easier to learn to socialise when accompanied by a loving furry friend! 

Many dogs can be trained to help, but not every dog has the attributes needed to fulfil this role. Even within a litter, not every puppy will be suitable for therapy.  As well as calmness, gentleness, patience and confidence, the special qualities we look for at Ridgy Didge are natural intuition, strong affection, and a strong desire to help/please. The colour, size and gender of the dog is irrelevant compared to those other important traits.

Training is the next very important part in equipping therapy dogs to do the best job, however, therapy dog training is much more general and affordable than the very costly rigorous process of assistance dog training (for specific disability or medical condition assistance) and annual accreditation.  Therapy dogs don’t have the unrestricted public access rights of assistance dogs ( see more detail here:  https://www.assistancedogs.org.au/news/what-is-the-difference-between-an-assistance-dog-and-an-emotional-support-dog/ )

Buying a puppy to be a therapy dog for a child is a long-term investment!  It is important to do your research to be able to make the best decisions for your situation and child.  All our breeding dogs at Ridgy Didge Cobberdogs are hip scored and genetic tested, which provides confidence for families that their pup will have a good start.  We have some upcoming litters that may be particularly suitable for therapy dogs.

If you would like to adopt a Ridgy Didge Australian Cobberdog, please read our Adopting a Puppy information, before you continue the adoption process. For more information, pm us on Facebook, or contact us at our website. Like and follow us on Facebook to keep up to date with ongoing puppy news and announcements.