What is a Skilled Support Dog?

A Skilled Support Dog is a highly trained and highly skilled dog used to help a client better manage his or her daily lives and common tasks.  TDU's Skilled Support Dogs encourage Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) methods - treatment that uses trained therapy dogs to assist physical and occupational therapists meet specific goals or "measured results" important to a patient's recovery.  Skilled Support Dogs help return quality of life.  Typically, individuals who reside in their own private residence or at a group home request the services of a Skilled Support Dog.  Senior living communities and facilities that provide educational or rehabilitation services are also common placement locations.   Skilled Support Dogs have many proven benefits working with children and adults with emotional, behavioral and cognitive challenges, Autism, Down syndrome, or affected by developmental  or physical delays.

Skilled Support Dog - Key Benefits
Regain Health, Independence and Mobility

  • Functional Goals:
    Dogs help with physical rehabilitation to improve mobility, range of motion, balance, coordination and muscle strength, as well as visual or cognitive skills.  Skilled Support Dogs help return the client's quality of life.  Some methods used to meet Functional Goals include: 
    • Play Fetch:  Improves extremity coordination, coordination, timing and sequence
    • Walk the Dog:  Improves visual coordination and awareness
    • Brush the Dog:  Promotes range of motion, coordination and strength.
  • Motivation:
    Skilled Support Dogs encourage the client to engage in physical activities, often overlooking pain.  Dogs also help increase the desire to cooperate, and reduce distractions while increasing attention spans.
  • Reduce Fear of Rejection:
    Dogs help increase social behaviors, decrease stereotypical behaviors and decrease self-absorption.
  • Physical Assistance:
    Dogs are capable of directed or automatic retrieves; able to push, pull and carry objects; able to act as a brace for sitting, standing, or walking.  TDU's Skilled Support Dogs learn 40 different commands/abilities to better assist your daily activities.   Some common tasks include: 
    • Retrieval:  items placed at different heights
    • Attraction: encourage walking, communication or social interaction
    • Language development: to benefit Autistic children
    • Balance: walking or climbing stairs

The abilities of our Skilled Support Dogs can be customized to meet your specific needs.  

There is currently a 6-12 month waiting list to receive your Residential or Group Skilled Support Dog.  Email your request for a Needs Assessment Application today!