Animal-Assisted Therapy

Animal-Assisted Therapy

"AAT" dogs are used to help a patient better manage his or her daily life through the use of Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) - a form of treatment that incorporates a highly skilled and highly trained therapy dog to assist in the patient's recovery.   Our dogs provide support to a medical professional and strive for "measured results" in the patients' recovery. 

The use of Animal-Assisted therapy can greatly improve an individuals quality of life.  Senior living communities and rehabilitation centers that provide physiotherapy and physical rehab is where you will most often see our AAT dogs working.

Key Benefits of  Animal-Assisted Therapy

Regain Health, Independence and Mobility

Functional Goals

The use of Animal-Assisted therapy in physical rehabilitation can help the patient improve mobility, range of motion, balance, coordination and muscle strength.  We've also had success with a patient working to regain cognitive skills.  Our main goal is to return the client's quality of life. 

Here are just a few ways Animal-Assisted therapy is used to meet functional goals:

  • 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


AAT dogs encourage the patient to engage in physical activities - often while overlooking the pain associated with physical therapy.   A certified therapy dog team engaging in Animal-Assisted therapy can also help increase the patient's desire to cooperate, reduce distractions and increase the patients attention span. 

Physical Assistance

Animal-assisted therapy 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 Animal-Assisted Therapy dogs learn 40 different commands/abilities to better assist in a client's daily activities.  Some common tasks include:

  • Retrieval:  items placed at different heights
  • Attraction:  encourage walking, communication or social interaction
  • Language development:  to benefit individuals on the Autism spectrum
  • Balance:  walking or climbing stairs

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