Labradoodles as Pets for Children with Autism
Find out why a Labradoodle is an excellent companion for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Intelligent, sociable, and energetic, Labradoodles have the perfect temperament to accompany children with autism.
They’re happiest spending time with their family, whether sleeping next to your autistic child or curled up on the floor.
Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of choosing this popular therapy dog to help you decide whether it’s a good fit for your loved one.
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The Labradoodle is a crossbreed dog from a mix of a Labrador Retriever and a Miniature, Standard, or Toy Poodle.
It was first bred in 1989 to provide a guide dog for people with pet allergies.
With the loyalty and friendliness of Labrador Retrievers and the intelligence and less-allergenic coat of Poodles, Labradoodles certainly have the best of both worlds.
Dog breed group: Hybrid
Height: 21 to 24 inches
Weight: 50 to 65 pounds
Appearance: Floppy ears, varied colors, bicolor patterns
Coat: Long, medium, curly
Barking level: Infrequent
Bred for: Limiting allergies in hypersensitive and asthmatic people
Exercise requirements: 30 to 60 minutes or more daily
Life expectancy: 12 to 14 years
Advantages of a Labradoodle for kids with autism
Less allergenic than other dog breeds
Labradoodles generally have non-shedding or low-shedding coats, making them the go-to dog for people with canine dander allergies.
- No dog is 100% hypoallergenic. However, Labradoodles have very dense, low-shedding coats that help minimize dander.
- A dense, more tightly wound coat is more allergy-friendly than other coat types.
Loving, friendly, and loyal
Sometimes called “forever puppies,” Labradoodles have an outgoing, energetic nature.
They are such social dogs that love everyone they meet. They are wonderful therapy dogs with easygoing personalities.
- Labradoodles thrive as emotional support and service dogs as they are incredibly affectionate.
- They are sensitive to people’s emotions.
- They love to play, cuddle, and receive love.
Patient and tolerant
Labradoodles are gentle and loving dogs that tolerate awkward hugging and jostling, making them ideal companions for children with ASD.
- A standard Labradoodle is big enough to assist with mobility or balance issues.
Easy to train
Labradoodles are very intelligent. These adorable hybrid dogs are eager-to-please and highly trainable with no prey drive.
- Consistent training and mental and physical stimulation are vital in raising a dependable pet companion for your autistic loved one.
- Provide positive reinforcement to reward good behavior.
Disadvantages of a Labradoodle
Unpredictable coat type
Labradoodles have a wide variety of hair. Some are soft, straight, and smooth, while others are wavy, curly, or wiry.
Unlike other breeds, Labradoodles don’t exhibit consistency in coat results yet.
- If you’re getting a puppy, ask the breeder about the Labradoodle’s parents to get an idea of possible coat types.
- Choose a softer-coated Labradoodle instead of a wire-haired dog if your autistic child is sensitive to touch.
Lots of grooming
Labradoodles need more care than some dog breeds, especially if they have curly or wavy coats.
Most of them don’t shed. However, their undercoats can become tough to manage when matted.
- Brush your Labradoodle daily to keep its coat free of mats, knots, and tangles.
- Labradoodles have floppy ears prone to infections, requiring gentle cleaning every two to three weeks.
- General grooming once every six to eight weeks is necessary.
Labradoodle emotional support dog for autistic children
With its warm and outgoing personality, the Labradoodle is an amazing emotional support animal for children with ASD.
- Emotional support dogs (ESAs) are not service animals and do not require special training. They are prescribed by licensed mental health professionals, like psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists.
- A Labradoodle ESA may help ease your autistic child’s anxiety and improve their social skills through loving companionship.
Labradoodle service dog for children with autism
The Labradoodle is a highly dependable assistance dog. After all, this mixed breed was originally bred to be a hypoallergenic guide dog.
- Service dogs undergo extensive, individual training to provide day-to-day assistance. They can perform specific tasks related to a person’s disability, like providing deep-pressure therapy or tactile stimulation with paws to reduce anxiety.
- Service dogs have federally protected rights. While ESAs are generally not allowed in restaurants and shopping malls, service dogs can accompany their owners anywhere, including airplanes and non-pet-friendly housing.
Can I have a Labradoodle as a normal house pet for my autistic child?
A Labradoodle can offer valuable mental and emotional benefits for your autistic child even as a normal house pet. Proper house training and socialization will help you raise an obedient, friendly, and reliable Labradoodle pet.
What should I remember when getting a Labradoodle for my autistic child?
Remember to research thoroughly, whether you’re getting a Labradoodle from a breeder or rescue shelter. Get recommendations from a trusted veterinarian. A reputable, ethical breeder will choose dog parents with no known health issues to ensure healthy pups. To get a service dog, consult with a qualified mental health professional.
A Labradoodle can play an important role in the daily life of your autistic child.
With a gentle, affectionate, and social companion, your child will feel calmer, safer, and more confident to socialize.
Besides labradoodles, we also recommend a few other animals for autistic kids. Check out our best pets for a child with autism.