Shy Cheetahs are Given Emotional Support Dogs

There are many times in life where humans need the help and support that comes from having an emotional support dog in their lives. But did you know that other animals can benefit from the calming influence of these dogs? For the cheetahs that live at the Columbus Zoo in Columbus, Ohio, emotional support dogs have become a lifeline.

It’s true: cheetahs are beautiful, majestic wild animals. But what many people might not realize is that cheetahs also tend to be quite nervous. Their anxiety can reach such high levels that it becomes difficult for them to socialize with one another and it can also cause them so much stress that they do not procreate. This can become a serious issue over time, and it had zoo keepers at the Columbus Zoo looking for an innovative solution to their problem.

Columbus Zoo//Facebook

Enter the wonderful emotional support dogs. These incredible dogs are truly helping the cheetah population to survive and thrive through a very strong and quite special bond. Cheetahs are very shy by nature, so bringing in a dominant, confident dog can work wonders for the wild animals’ behavior. When cheetahs and dogs are paired together, the cheetah will naturally look to the dog to model their behavior and learning from subtle cues. Dogs are naturally happy and calm, and the cheetahs pick up on that quickly and it helps to build their confidence.

Typically cheetah cubs are paired with emotional support dogs while both are young so that they can grow up together. This helps the animals to bond and learn as they each grow up alongside one another. While these dogs are typically Labrador retrievers, there are many other breeds that work well alongside cheetahs after keepers can observe their nature and behaviors before introducing them to their wild animal counterpart.

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