Ranch Programs for troubled teens take a teen out of his natural setting and place him on a farm. Many Ranch Programs have horses and even horse therapy as a
part of the program they offer. There have been several studies on the calming affect an animal can have on a human. The premise of a Ranch Program is a back to
basics life style. It is almost like going back in time. All of the ranch hands/students have chores to do along with their daily studies. Ranch Programs are
usually smaller than a typical boarding school for troubled teens. There is more one on one available for the difficult teen.
There is much to be said about the lifestyle on a ranch or farm. The low stress, hard physical labor does much to calm a person’s soul. Working in the dirt,
taking care of animals, and staying busy doing positive things does wonders for a troubled defiant teenager. When it comes time for bed the teen is tired and ready
to sleep. The ranch setting takes one back to the lifestyle of many years ago. The actual communities where Ranch Programs are located can also be a bonus. When a
teen (especially one from the city) arrives in a rural farm community he is really out of his comfort zone. The people talk different, act different, and have
different priorities. Even the young people in a farm town seem strange to a person from out of town. The slow down life style of the small town seems almost
therapeutic itself. Once the teen is out of his or her comfort zone they are more teachable.
Animal Therapy programs for troubled teens are geared toward helping break through the tough outer shell most teens have built up. There have been some pretty
remarkable stories surrounding teens that have received help while helping take care of an animal. One story talks about a young man who was behind in school several
grades. He was given a puppy to take care of in the boarding school he was placed in. The puppy, along with some TLC helped him to get caught up in his academics.
His unruly disruptive behavior diminished as he accepted the responsibility to care for the dog. He soon learned that when he acted out, his dog became irritated
which caused him to think before he created problems.
Animal Programs are very similar to animal therapy. In some states the use of the word “therapy,” must be accompanied by credentials of the one overseeing the
program. The irony of the animal program is that the bond between the student and the animal is what makes it therapeutic. Obviously the animal doesn’t have any
credentials and it doesn’t take a professional to explain the bond they have developed. This may be the first time in the teen’s life that they have ever had to
take care of another living thing. In any circumstance the Animal Program and Animal Therapy Program have both proven to be effective options.