Therapy dog programs have been catching the attention of numerous schools across the country.
This is due to more and more people finding out how dogs can aid in reducing stress on both teachers and students.
The job of a therapy dog is different from that of a service dog. Therapy dogs provide comfort to people in terms of social, emotional, and cognitive aspects. Whereas service dogs help differently-abled people.
If you ask us, we would definitely love to have dogs in each classroom – you can just imagine how much the kids love it!
Even the National Institute of Health is in favor of therapy dogs in academic institutions since they enhance mood and reduce stress.
As dog owners, we already know this. And many know many benefits dogs provide to our health such as lowering blood pressures and stress hormones while increasing oxytocin.
When it comes to kids, it turns out our four-legged friends boost the social-emotional development of students when children bond with these amazing animals. This results in a sense of connection and confidence. This “social catalyst” effect establishes trust and empathy among young children.
Additionally, therapy dogs can help stimulate the reading skills, memory, and problem-solving capacity of children when they are free from stress and anxiety. This only means that the presence of these fur baby’s increase productivity and performance inside the classroom!
However, despite the benefits, there are also various concerns needed to be handled when having a therapy dog in the educational setting.
For instance, dog hair can trigger the allergy of students. Although they are guaranteed sanitary, children will still be advised to wash their hands before and after petting these dogs.
The cognitive benefits offered may be the complete opposite when students are afraid of dogs. This will only hinder their performance as well as their behavior in class. Other risks include distraction from lectures and their safety.
It is true that having a therapy dog in class is both comforting and challenging, but when both dogs and students are taught properly on interaction, there is a high chance that it can really improve their well-being!
How about you? Would you like to see therapy dogs in classrooms all over the world?