When it comes to the working class of dogs, there are special breeds who make a career out of helping those in need. Service dogs aid the physically challenged and offer emotional support in times of crisis. Yet there is one additional hero known commonly as, the therapy dog. Breeds of this nature are trained to provide support to people suffering from depression, PTSD, schizophrenia, autism, and other psychiatric challenges. In addition, therapy dogs are so emotionally intelligent that some can be trained to spot the onset of sudden major depression. Furthermore, some therapy dogs can be trained to operate a pre-programmed K9 rescue telephone to contact a suicide hotline.
The therapy dog’s primary function is to perform tasks the handler is unable to complete and to maintain that handler’s emotional state. The size of the dog is of no concern; but temperament, reliability, and intelligence must be intact given the specialized training. Here are our top 10 therapy dogs for treating the mind:
1. Standard Poodle
This highly-intelligent breed is easy to train and possesses a pleasing personality. Well-tempered and affectionate, the Standard Poodle excels in advanced obedience training. As loyal companions, they make brilliant therapy dogs for treating depression and panic attacks.
2. Labrador Retriever
Easy to train, the Labrador Retriever’s intelligence and gentle nature make it a wonderful therapy dog breed. There easy-going disposition is ideal for individuals suffering from depression or schizophrenia. Labradors help their handlers feel more secure and act as great distractions from their conditions.
This small-sized, family dog is known for its trainable personality and highly affectionate disposition. The Havanese is an ideal childhood companion for children with autism. The dog’s presence provides a focal point for the child and helps provide security. The Havanese is one of the most loving and loyal therapy dog breeds.
4. Miniature Schnauzer
As a cheerful breed of dog, this small-sized pooch is pack-oriented and loyal to family. The Miniature Schnauzer has a spirited personality which makes him an uplifting companion. With their pint-size stature, they make lovely sidekicks for kids and adults alike. This breed of therapy dogs is easy to train and a true people pleaser.
5. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Friendly and gentle, this breed of therapy dog has a notable intelligence and is easy to train. They have a natural family-oriented personality and lovable presence. The Cavalier’s small-sized frame makes it a fine housebound or small living quartered sidekick.
6. German Shepherd
The German Shepherd is an obedient and gentle breed, making it an easy candidate for this list. Known for their trainability and dependable nature, the German Shepherd is thought o have human-like intelligence. German Shepherd’s are perfect for people suffering from psychiatric challenges. As a pack-oriented dog, German Shepherds are a great fit for families living with autism.
7. Lhasa Apso
Originally bred by Buddhist monks, this Tibetan-based breed of dog is alert and wary of strangers. In fact, the Buddhist monks bred the Lhasa Apso to “sound the alarm” when intruders would enter the premises. Though skeptical of strangers the Lhasa Apso is incredibly loyal to the family. They are an entertaining breed, easy to train, and very demonstrative. As therapy dogs, they are ideal for providing uplifted companionship in troubled times.
8. Doberman Pinscher
Known for being competent guardian dogs, service dogs, and military dogs, the Doberman Pinscher is affectionate and trustworthy. Their commanding presence makes the breed excellent for those suffering from panic attacks or PTSD. When everyday tasks like walking to the neighborhood corner store are simply daunting, the sheer presence of the Doberman helps maintain a sense of security.
This Boxer is known for its remarkable level of companionship. Since they genuinely love being around humans, Boxers make perfect psychiatric service dogs. The breed is easy to train, loyal, friendly and makes a great fit for children with ADHD.
10. Border Collie
Arguably one of the top-most intelligent breeds in the world, Border Collies are friendly, intelligent companions. As a member of the working class, they are natural people pleasers and their innately intuitive personality makes them excellent helpers for people prone to panic attacks.