Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Abilities Through Agility

Earlier this year, TheBark wrote an article about a group of therapists, (physical, occupational, and speech-language) that partner their patients with dogs.

The patients' goals are met as they train the dogs to run an agility course.
Photo found at Paws & Effect's blog

What an awesome idea!

The kids use gross motor skills to set up the agility course, and the kids follow the dogs as they go through the course. The physical therapists can integrate things that they need to focus on during this time. Maybe having the kids make sure that as they  walk, their heels touch the ground, stretching out the calf muscles of "toe-walkers" in a fun way.

Occupational therapists focus on the fine motor skills, like taking off the leash and collar and brushing the dog. These movements require great finger dexterity, and can normally seem frustrating, but when you are doing it for your furry friend it becomes less of a chore.

As the dogs are learning to go through the course, the children need to direct the dogs. Speech language pathologists can have the cues involve certain word sounds that the child is working on.

Photo found at Paws & Effect's blog

I think this whole thing is brilliant and would love to get in contact with the physical therapists involved. Maybe I could do a clinical rotation with them.

You should definitely read the article to learn more about the Abilities Through Agility program. It's a pdf so it takes a little while to load, but it's worth the few extra second wait.


  1. Sarah, just a heads-up--I've just received the Kreative Bloggers award, and yours is the one I want to pass it on to. I'd love to get a hypoglycemia-alerting dog--after 43 years of type 1 diabetes, I'm very hypoglycemia-unaware, which is a problem since I live by myself. My blog with the conditions will come out on Thursday, May 24.

  2. Some speech therapists have kids read to the dogs.

    1. Good point! I talked about reading to dogs in this post: http://animalshelpheal.blogspot.com/2011/08/reading-is-for-dogs.html


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