Dogs to be used to help dementia sufferers

Many people across the world own dogs and, while a considerable number of these animals are just pets, some are working animals. For example, they can be used as guide dogs to help blind individuals.

Indeed, the idea of using such four-legged creatures to assist vulnerable individuals who would otherwise struggle to cope on their own is being expanded by a charity in Scotland. Voluntary organisation Alzheimer Scotland has come up with a project dubbed Dementia Dog and it is hoping to train animals to help people with memory problems, the Daily Mail reports.

So far, the scheme has been given £52,000 of state funding, but a further £130,000 is required to launch a full pilot version. Those behind the project hope that it will eventually allow many more people with dementia to retain their independence for longer.

Each dog involved in the initiative will receive six months of training using positive reinforcement techniques.

The animals will be taught to remind people to take their tablets, raise the alarm in emergencies, assist with undressing and help out around the home.

According to experts, the creatures can be taught to do anything that requires a pulling motion. So, when ropes are attached to cupboard doors and so on, they can easily open them.

Deputy director of Alzheimer Scotland Joyce Gray remarked: “We are really hopeful the dogs will not only be a huge practical help but also provide great emotional support. People with the condition can easily become isolated and the dog will be a constant companion, which will help them to keep social.”

Of course, it will be important for the animals’ owners to provide them with the right dog food to help ensure they remain healthy and happy. Thankfully, finding the perfect foods for such creatures is now easier than ever before.

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