Four-legged assistants that make your life better

When we think about training our pets, we generally associate it with redirecting negative behaviors associated with stress, depression, anxiety, or other conditions in our furry ones. But what would you think if we told you that they are really the heroes of the story?

It is proven that the benefits of having a dog are innumerable. In addition to being an excellent company, multiple studies have shown that anxiety levels decrease for those who have a dog, its presence also has an impact on physical health, since walks or runs by their side become an exceptional excuse to exercise and stay fit. form; to these are added a number of positive factors, and as if this were not enough, some of them can become your eyes, your ears and even your lifeline.

Surely you have ever heard of guide dogs or assistance dogs, but do you know what an assistance dog is? It is one that is trained from a puppy to help people with disabilities or multiple disabilities, even to a severe degree.

The first assistance dog associations in the world emerged in the early 1930s. Although this concept was preceded by guide dogs, which provide support for blind people, the results were so evident that the participation of dogs spread to other support therapies. According to the INEGI, 7.7 million Mexicans have some type of disability, this translates into mobility and communication difficulties and obviously impacts the quality of life and health of many people.

And it is that their curiosity and love goes so far that the dogs are capable of carrying out specific tasks according to the habits and needs of their owner. The five basic categories are:

Assistance dogs for limited mobility: They help people with motor disabilities by becoming their arms or legs. Its objective is to provide independence to carry out daily activities in any environment or context, either by acting as a communication link or by eliminating and/or avoiding obstacles to mobility.

Guide dogs: They assist visually impaired people by becoming their eyes. The furry ones have such a developed sensitivity that they are able to guide their humans, even in stressful situations. Being visually impaired makes everyday life challenging and having a 4-legged assistant can make the difference between a difficult day and an exciting day.

Assistance dogs for autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD): They help children and young people with autism or asperger by connecting them with the world and providing support in the event of an anxiety crisis.

Medical alert dogs: They are programmed to identify possible seizures in people with diabetes, seizures, diabetes, Lyme disease or epilepsy. The dog can notify with time in advance in

In the event that it is necessary to take action against hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia or absence seizures, through their barking, activating a device or bringing the medications that need to be administered at the moment.

Signal or alarm dogs: Their training is aimed at serving deaf people, so they use visible physical signals to warn about everyday sound stimuli and their origin. For example, a doorbell, a car horn, or a seismic alarm. As the training is personalized, basically, the patient and the puppy develop a unique language, this in addition to favoring communication, reduces uncertainty and reduces the isolation that people with disabilities generally face.

The most appropriate breeds for these tasks are usually the Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever and the German Shepherd, due to their size and characteristics. The selection of the candidates also contemplates their temperament and character; once their training has begun, their nutrition is essential at this stage due to the mental and physical wear and tear of their training, for this reason it is important to consider a food that provides them with all the necessary nutrients, in addition to giving them continuity when they are already in service and lead a life with relatively little physical activity but a lot of mental work to stay focused, an option that responds to their needs may be the range of Royal Canin® products with alternatives for preventive health care for these dogs.

In Mexico, there are few organizations with international certifications, the Owen I.A.P Foundation is one of them and it is also a pioneer in training for assistance dogs. This institution stands out because in addition to offering training, it has considered a comprehensive plan since the inauguration of a Canine Neurorehabilitation Clinic called Owen Care, where the physical and care needs of dogs in service and all those who require it are sought, as well as training for future coaches.

If you consider that this is not enough, he recently launched a program to create a temporary shelter that seeks to reintegrate homeless puppies with basic training that allows them to have a second chance with a family.

As you can see, there are many things that a dog can do and learn, but they will always be teachers to teach you to receive and give more love.

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By Lee Chun Hei