More and more studies are showing that having a dog can be extremely beneficial for kids with autism.
One study showed that 94% of families who had a child with autism and a dog reported that the child had bonded to their dog. Another study says that children who live with a dog in their family, especially prior to the age of 5, are more likely to develop prosocial behaviors such as “offering to share” and “offering to comfort.” Yet another study concludes that “participants with ASD [Autism Spectrum Disorder] demonstrated more social approach behaviors (including talking, looking at faces, and making tactile contact) and received more social approaches from their peers in the presence of animals compared to toys.”
Adding a dog to your family is a big decision, not to be taken lightly. The financial and time commitment must be seriously considered, as well as whether or not the child in question actually likes dogs. And according to Autism Speaks, many parents are surprised at how difficult it can be to handle a dog as well as their child in public.
If you’ve decided to add a dog to your family for your child with autism, you should decide whether he or she would benefit the most from a companion dog, a therapy dog, or a service dog. (Autism Speaks has a great article to help you decide here.) Once you’ve decided that, you may be wondering, “Which dog breeds are best for children with autism?” Here are the 7 most-recommended dogs.
#1 – Labrador Retriever
There’s a very good reason the Labrador Retriever has been the most popular dog in America for the last 27 years. Their calm, eager-to-please personality makes them not only a great family pet but a wonderful choice for bonding with a child with autism.
#2 – Great Pyrenees
Bred to guard flocks of sheep, Great Pyrenees dogs have a calm temperament and are very bonded to and protective of their families. Their large size also makes them quite sturdy.
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