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What is a Companion Dog? How to Get One

2021-02-20


A companion dog, unlike a Service Dog, does not work or do a specific trained task to help its owner. They simply provide companionship as a pet. Companion animals are virtually distinguishable from a family pet. Although they don’t work, they do provide amazing physical and emotional health benefits.  

They may not be allowed public access, but they do in their own way, save people's lives. They bring such joy and happiness to their owner's lives, making life-changing differences.  

But! The owner must have a disability or disorder for the dog to be called a companion dog. Not just anyone can claim they have a companion dog. They bring amusement and support to somebody who meets the definition of disabled/handicapped. Companion dogs are also often used to help those who suffer from depression, anxiety, PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), or even people who suffer from substance abuse.  



How Do You Know You Need a Companion dog? 

You must be told by a doctor or another professional that you need a companion dog to help with your disability. If your doctor or psychologist for example thinks you need a dog to get through your everyday life, that is a companion dog.  

People with depression and anxiety usually love having a companion dog as the dog will bring them comfort and joy and a sense of freedom from their disorder. If you have anxiety or depression and you feel like a companion dog would be of great benefit to you, you should speak to your doctor and see if you can get one prescribed.  

If you feel a companion dog could be useful for you in your everyday life and it would help with your disorder, maybe speak to a doctor or professional to get one prescribed. Although, you must keep in mind that your companion dog is a living being himself. It still needs to be looked after like any other dog. If the owner is incapable of looking after another living being, maybe a companion dog won't be suitable. At the same time, a companion dog could also help the owner focus on someone other than their disorder or themselves, which could help them. It is a big responsibility which should be well thought about before a decision is made.  


Qualifying for a Companion Dog: 

Unlike a service dog, companion dogs do not need too many qualifications at all. There are no special qualifications for you to get permission for one, and there are also no special training or strict guideline to follow. The main concern is that your Companion dog is well-behaved and tidy.  


What are the best breeds for a Companion Dog? 

Most companion dogs tend to come from the 'toy group’ of dogs, like a pug or chihuahua, because dogs like Labradors or German Shepherds like to have a job to do.  

Here is a list of the most common dogs breeds for a Companion Dog: 


No. 1 Chihuahua 

Chihuahuas are suitable for any person and any living environment. They are small, which makes them easy to take places, and they develop strong bonds with their owners. You should socialize them with other people and dogs from a young age so they remain calm and well behaved.  


No.2 Pug 

Pugs are super cute; they are bound to always put a smile on your face! These small, friendly dogs are suitable to be companion dogs as they have a calm temperament and love attention, which is perfect as a companion dog will be with you for most of your day!  



No.3 Shih Tzu 

These dogs are bred solely to be companions! They are people lovers who love following their owners everywhere. They are also suitable for any living space due to their small size and are great with kids and other animals. 



No.4 American Staffordshire Terrier 

Although they are not toy breeds, they make sweet and affectionate companion dogs. These are a more ideal companion dog for an active person as they enjoy going for walks and hikes etc. They are a more medium-sized dog but still suitable for most living spaces.  



No.5 Papillon 

This is an adorable breed that is guaranteed to make anyone's day. They make an amazing companion dog as they have a playful nature and are so loving! They are also great for people who are active or want to be more active as they should be walked as often as possible for a calm demeanor 


No. 6 French Bulldog 

The perfect size and such a friendly pup! Although you should try to walk these dogs at least once a day, they are super easy-going and affectionate dogs, perfect for a companion dog.  


No. 7 Golden Retriever  

This breed is one of the best family pets and also one of the best service dog breeds, of course, they would be an amazing companion dog. This friendly, affectionate dog will do anything for its owners and always stick by their side. They will show amazing support which is what makes them a great companion dog.