It is medically proven petting a dog slows your heart rate, lowers your blood pressure and releases oxytocin, which makes you feel good.
Comfort dogs are taken to hospitals, schools, nursing homes, hospice, memory care facilities and other special-needs organizations across the country to lift the spirits of the suffering.
Children enjoy petting the dogs and some even read stories to them. The dogs like to be read to and they just relax and listen. Enteracting with the dogs can take the children’s mind to another place that’s happy and comfortable. They can help calm things down by letting children pet them during tense situations.
The dogs are well trained and remain quiet and docile even if the room becomes noisy and crowded. They can be just as helpful to adults as well as children. They have been a major help to victims suffering from traumatic events. They are also helping veterans suffering from combat.
Any dog can do this work. It’s not the breed of the dog, it’s the will of the dog. Some dogs that are trained for this type of work had former lives as family pets.
When the trained dogs are at home, they are relaxed but when they have the special collar on, they know it is time for work. There is a special relationship between the dogs and their handlers.
When the dogs are working you watch their body language. They try to tell you how they feel and what they see. They need to be listened to.
Dogs have movable earflaps that help them locate the source of sound. They also have brains that can compute time differences between the sound reaching each ear. A slight change in a dogs head position supplies additional information that the canine can use to judge a sounds distance.
When a dog listens to your voice, he’s trying to identify familiar words or tones that he associates with certain things like finding something, getting a treat, or taking a walk, etc.
The muscles of a dog’s middle ear are controlled by a part of the brain that’s responsible for facial expressions and head movements, so when he tilts his head, he’s trying to perceive what you’re saying, as well as communicate to you that he’s listening.
Dogs with longer muzzles have difficulty viewing a person’s entire face and compares it to how our vision is obstructed if we hold a fist to our nose and view the world as a dog does. Dogs may tilt their heads to view a speaker’s mouth an aid in understanding what is being communicated.