How Therapy Dogs can support people with Autism

Therapeutic Visitation Dogs

Autistic people often experience the world as filled with disorientating stimuli, like bright lights and loud noises. They frequently deal with uncontrollable nerve impulses. Having a trained and trusted companion can make a significant difference to how an autistic person is able to deal with their challenging world. There are many ways therapy dogs can make life more manageable for an autistic person.


Many people with autism suffer from dramatic emotional outbursts. Therapy dogs that have been trained to remain calm and supportive can greatly help to keep them calm or calm down after such a tantrum.

Reducing or interrupting repetitive motion

Repetitive behaviours and motions are common in people with autism. With a therapy dog to hug and pet there is often less time spent exhibiting these behaviours. Some therapy dogs can even be trained in recognising the onset of repetitive motions and interrupt them.

Keeping the person safe

Autistic people can have a tendency to walk off. Therapy dogs can be trained to bark and circle them and alert a carer. Self-harming can also be an issue for people with autism. This behaviour can be stopped by therapy dogs, who have been trained to recognise the onset of an episode and interrupt it by distracting the person.