More and more commonly dogs are being used to help people with different types of physical impairments and disabilities. These dogs, known as assistance dogs, can help people in their daily lives through doing common tasks that may be challenging to the owner. The Toy Fox Terrier with its small size, natural intelligence and need to be close to people is an ideal companion assistance dog and is becoming popular as a therapy dog as well. Of course assistance or therapy dogs need to be properly trained and not all dogs have the ability and temperament to take on such as demanding role, however many Toy Fox Terrier are now used as assistance dogs throughout the United States, Canada and even in other counties.
Assistance dogs can be trained to help elderly individuals or people with movement, hearing or visual impairments. Assistance dogs are not the same as seeing eye dogs and the Toy Fox Terrier is just too small to be effective as a guide dog. The role that an assistance dog plays is to be able to alert the individual of particular events such as a ringing phone or doorbell or to fetch and pick up objects and bring them to the person on command. Since the Toy Fox Terrier is able to lean an amazing vocabulary of human words they can be taught to retrieve specific items on command, which is a real asset to people that have difficulty in movement. To act as a person's ears or eyes the dog is taught to alert to a specific sound such as a ringing phone, then go to the human and attract their attention and then lead the human to the source of the sound. This can include the phone, the doorbell, the alarm on a clock or even the timer on the stove or a fire alarm. Training is done by professional assistance dog trainers and then the dogs are adopted by the individuals that require assistance. Besides just providing help around the house these dogs are great companions, spending time just being with the person and helping with self confidence and self-esteem as the individual is able to do more on their own with the help of their dog.
Therapy dogs are used in many hospitals, long term care facilities, hospices and nursing homes. These are specially trained and approved dogs that actually go and visit with clients, providing a loving friend for the patients to interact with on a regular basis. Therapy dogs are trained and certified through different agencies across the country but all are thoroughly tested for temperament and obedience levels. The Toy Fox Terrier makes an ideal therapy dog since they can be playful and clownish but also enjoy just cuddling up and spending time with a person. Their small size means that they are more practical for some patients to interact with than the large sized dogs that have more traditionally been used as therapy dogs.