Dogs are widely utilized to assist men and women who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. There are a number of specific reasons why dogs can help heal a person afflicted with PTSD.
Dogs are Vigilant in Watching Over Their Owners
One of the reasons dogs can assist in coping with PTSD arises from the fact that they are truly vigilant. Researchers have concluded that the vigilance of a dog, in relationship to his or her owner, is akin to soldiers and the buddy system in the military.
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A person who has a nightmare with a dog in the room can better appreciate the level of vigilance associated with a canine.
When a person wakes up from a nightmare, a dog provides cues and information to assure his or her owner was not experiencing something real.
Dogs can be helpful in this manner when it comes to assisting their owners suffering from the symptoms of PTSD.
A dog’s vigilance aids a person afflicted with post-traumatic stress in discerning what is a real issue and what is a symptom of the condition.
Dogs are Protective of Their Owners
Another attribute of dogs that contribute to their ability to aid in healing a person with PTSD is found in the fact that canines are highly protective of their owners.
Many dogs are literally inclined to fight to their very death if it meant protecting their owners from harm.
This type of protective behavior is highly beneficial to a person diagnosed with PTSD. The protective behavior of canines wards off perceived threats to an owner with post-traumatic stress.
Moreover, a person with this diagnosis is more confident to go about activities of daily living knowing he has a protective friend at his or her side.
Dogs Love Their Owners Unconditionally
A key problem many individuals with PTSD have is a perception that they are unloved. In addition, trust is a major issue for individuals diagnosed with PTSD.
Another one of the different reasons why dogs aid in healing a person afflicted with PTSD is the fact that canines love unconditionally.
A person with PTSD never has to question whether or not his or her canine companion loves him or her.
Further, a person with PTSD has a real difficult time maintaining, let alone establishing, loving relationships with other people.
A symptom of the condition is that individuals with PTSD perceive themselves as being unlovable. This line of negative thinking is discounted in the face of the devotion of a canine.
In addition, a dog is thoroughly trustworthy.
From this trust of a canine, a person with PTSD is able to begin building a foundation upon which he or she can start trusting fellow humans.
Dogs Understand and Remember Feelings of Love
Another way in which a dog is helpful in healing PTSD is that they are not turncoats. This is associated with the unconditional love of a dog towards his owner.
The reality is that even the best behaved dog is not perfect. He or she will cause problems and need to be scolded.
With that noted, a dog does not hold grudges or stop caring for his or her owner merely because he has been disciplined for doing something wrong. In other words, a canine has the ability to understand he or she has made some sort of mistake.
But, a dog also remembers and maintains the feelings of love he or she has for his human — and that his human has in return.
Dogs Encourage an Owner to Get Out of the House
Many people with PTSD hole up at home. They fear and dread going out in public and limit their time away from home. A dog aids in healing a person with PTSD by making it easier for a person with that condition to get out of the house.
By getting out of the home with greater frequency, a person with PTSD is able to engage in positive activities. This includes interacting in a positive manner with other people.
Getting out of the home provides a person with PTSD with ever increasing control over his or her life, all because of the supportive assistance of a loving canine.
With increasing regularity, specially trained dogs are becoming key components in the lives of individuals with PTSD.
These canines truly provide a person with PTSD the support and security necessary to begin living a happier, healthier life.
In fact, even pooches lacking in special training can prove to be utterly invaluable to a person with PTSD.
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About the Author
Jessica Kane is a writer for Handicapped Pets, your most trusted source for dog wheelchairs and harnesses.