The Place


Did you know service dogs can help with Deep Pressure Therapy?

Instead of a weighted blanket, how about a dog to help you with stress.
Posted at 1:22 PM, Mar 21, 2023

Deep Pressure Therapy also called DPT for short is a technique used to help with a variety of mental health issues such as anxiety, autism, depression, PTSD, Alzheimer's and chronic pain.

Heather Gibson with Big Hearted Breeders joined us along with Nova, a mini golden retriever and her owner Evelyn Eagar.

They say research suggest that when gentle pressure is applied, there is a soothing effect on the nervous system that helps reduce stress, pain and balance the body's regulation.

There are several options for deep pressure therapy, the most common being a weighted blanket.

When using a dog for deep pressure therapy you get the added benefit of being a pet owner which studies suggest can lower cortisol, improve happiness and even increase life expectancy.

There are several ways to use a dog for DPT including having them sit on your lap, having them rest their head on your leg or other area of your body and having them lay on your chest. Service dogs can do this on command with a hand signal or word like "pressure". For example a service dog working in public could stand with pressure behind the legs of someone waiting in line (as shown in a past episode of The PLACE) or lay on the person if they are having a panic attack which is how Evelyn has trained Nova.

Nova is a Mini Golden Retriever which is a mix of Golden Retriever, Cocker Spaniel, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Poodle.

At Big Hearted Breeders they specifically breed and work with puppies to be able to do Emotional Support, Therapy and Service work.

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