How service dogs can improve mental health and wellbeing: The Power of Positive Play

by | Apr 16, 2024 | Belgium Malinois, Dogs, First Responders, German Shepherd Dog, GSD, Service Animals | 0 comments

As dog owners, we often underestimate the impact of actively engaging with our furry friends. But the truth is, positive interactions with our canines can lead to a plethora of benefits for both them and us. By playing games that exercise our memory, attention, and other cognitive skills, we not only strengthen our bond with our pets but also contribute to their overall well-being. We take this to the next level for our recipients and we will explore the importance of them actively playing with their dog and how it improves various aspects of their life. It can also help you to!

Playing games with our dogs is more than just a fun activity – it is a brain exercise that can have lasting effects on our mental health. By incorporating positive words, actions, and sequences into our training (which often looks like playtime), we are stimulating our brain and our canine’s brain: helping each of us develop important cognitive skills. Whether it’s practicing commands like sit, stay, down, or heal in different environments such as the park, sidewalk, farmers market, or outdoor cafe, we are providing our teams with valuable mental stimulation that leads to a happier and healthier life together

Furthermore, engaging in work activities disguised as play also benefits our dog in numerous ways. By challenging them to think critically and problem-solve during playtime, we are keeping their minds sharp and active. This type of mental stimulation can prevent boredom and unwanted behaviors such as destructive chewing or excessive barking. It’s more tiring than running around a field. Additionally, by actively playing with our dogs on a regular basis, we are promoting physical exercise which is essential for our overall health and well-being. Our recipients work with nutritionists, Chiroporators, and Doctors of Oriental Medicine/acupuncture and stay in constant mental health care.

Not only does playing games with our dogs benefit them mentally and physically but it also has positive effects on us as well. Studies have shown that interacting with animals can reduce stress levels and improve mood by increasing levels of oxytocin (the “love hormone”) in the brain. Our heroes have already performed at very high levels with their service branch, so this type of stimulation is perfect for many to heal. So the next time you engage in a game of fetch or practice obedience training with your furry friend, remember that you are not only benefiting them but also yourself….like our Heroes!

Actively engaging with our canines through positive play is more than just a way to pass the time – it is an opportunity to strengthen our bond while simultaneously improving both ours and our pet’s quality of life. By incorporating games that exercise our cognitive skills and provide mental stimulation into our daily routine, we are setting ourselves up for success both mentally and physically. So we do good as we feel good. Working and playing games with our dog is a net positive because we are enhancing well-being. We’re also reaping the benefits of a happier and healthier relationship between our recipeint and the community with whom they wish to contribute for years to come. At any given moment, our service dogs are ready to interact and show unwavering support and love. We are tapping into God’s intention for these animals. When Adam spoke with God, he called this anmial :Dog. In Hebrew this is כלב, and it is pronounced keh-lev, its literal meaning is “like the heart”. You see? Even in the original word for dog in Hebrew, these animals are pure, transparent, and lovable. Do you have a כלב? Tell us your dog’s name in the comments on facebook or Youtube!