Golden Retrievers have many natural characteristics that make them fantastic emotional support pets. Their unfailing loyalty and dedication, endless enthusiasm, as well as their affectionate nature all help to place them among the most beloved breeds on the planet.
But after decades of being popular family pets in homes, Golden Retrievers have made a significant impact in the mental health field. Their growing role as emotional support dogs is due to their unique sets of skills and qualities. Here are a few of the reasons that this breed makes excellent ESAs:
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Empathetic in nature.
The deep-seated empathy that comes as a natural gift for Golden Retrievers is one of the big reasons they excel in emotional support work. This makes them excellent companions for people dealing with such issues as depression, anxiety, PTSD, and many other mental or emotional challenges.
Have a consistent temperament.
Goldies are well-known for their gentle, steady temperament. This makes them great for children and families with children. Unlike other breeds that may have aggressive tendencies or erratic energy levels, these Retrievers are generally very cool, calm, and collected, even in high-stress situations.
This predictability makes them very comforting to people who struggle with emotional issues, providing a stable and reliable presence.
One of the things that most endear people to canines is the fact that most breeds are at least somewhat sociable with humans. For Golden Retrievers, human contact and interaction is something they love dearly. They are usually very approachable and they tend to thrive on social connections and activity.
This relationship creates not only companionship for the owner, but their Goldie also serves as a bridge to other humans, keeping human contact available while also helping those who struggle with social anxiety to open up more easily.
Lead an active lifestyle.
Making sure that your emotional support dog stays active is important to them living a long and healthy life. Since the bond between owners and these types of pets gets so much deeper, you want them to have a healthy life with great longevity. It also helps those to whom exercise helps manage their mental/emotional health.
Whether it is something simple like a walk at the dog park or a game of fetch, to something that gets the blood-pumping like going for a run, the active and energetic dispositions of Golden Retrievers tend to rub off on their owners and motivate them to get up and get moving.
Very intelligent and easily trained.
Anyone who has ever had or been around a Golden Retriever is well aware of how intelligent they are. When you add this to the fact that they are also instinctively people-pleasers, this means that they are much easier to train than many other breeds.
This makes them especially adept in emotional support roles where specific behaviors or tasks may be needed in certain situations. Their willingness to learn, coupled with their adaptability helps them continue to learn and grow their skills based on their owner’s unique needs.
Offer physical affection and unconditional love.
An emotional support dog should also offer physical comfort to their owner. Golden retrievers have soft, silky fur, warm against their body heat. The simple act of petting and embracing a dog can provide immense stress relief.
This is because the act of physical touch is known to release Oxytocin in the brain, a hormone which increases feelings of contentment and happiness, while also reducing stress. With their plush coats and natural love for attention and affection, Goldies are very therapeutic when facilitating this kind of activity.
But perhaps the most endearing thing of all about this breed is their undying love and loyalty. Once matched with their person or family, they will forever give you their heart. This unconditional love can be essential to someone in need of an ESA.
Goldies make great emotional support dogs.
Although many dog breeds function as very serviceable ESAs, Golden Retrievers really do stand out for a number of reasons. Their intelligence, empathy, loyalty, companionship, and many other qualities make them highly sought-after in the mental/emotional health field. And the role that Goldies are playing in supporting the well-being of thousands of people in this country alone can’t be overstated.