Facility dogs work with professionals in a wide variety of settings, including but not limited to courthouses, schools, nursing homes, mental health facilities, oncology clinics, and occupational therapy. Facility dogs have been found to motivate and inspire, improve social behavior, encourage communication, and make people more comfortable and more positive. Facility dogs can be used to assist a group of people to manage daily tasks or participate in education, as well as interact and participate in courthouse settings.  They usually have more than one trained handler and need to be comfortable working with a large number of people or groups of people.

Specific tasks may include:

  • Providing light or deep pressure therapy
  • Engaging people by offering tactile stimulation to alleviate stress and encourage participation
  • Interrupting unwanted or disruptive behaviors
  • Helping an individual stay with a group by walking on a double leash
  • Acting as a motivator during therapeutic activities
  • Performing a brace for standing, sitting, or walking
  • Pushing or pulling objects with a person receiving therapy to encourage muscle activity
  • Performing directed or automatic retrieves
  • Carrying objects to a person receiving therapy
  • Taking part in supervised handling by a student or person receiving therapy

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