Therapy dogs are canines that are trained to provide comfort and affection to people in retirement homes, nursing homes, hospices, schools, hospitals and disaster areas, and to people with autism. Therapy Dogs work in animal-assisted activities and animal-assisted therapy, typically alongside their owner/handlers who consider them the canines to be their personal pets. Schools across the country are reaching out to therapy dog programs for the many benefits they provide to students. Schools can be extremely stressful settings for students, creating a strain on resources that can help young people cope with emotions, disorders, or relationships. Therapy dogs provide an inexpensive way to assist students in focusing on their education. They provide a comforting presence that should be available to young people in need.
Research hаѕ demonstrated thаt therapy dogs properly managed in thе school setting саn nоt оnlу make a measurable difference in terms оf gaining vаriоuѕ skills ѕuсh аѕ reading enhancement, but аlѕо in contributing critically tо emotional аnd relational development. School counselors аrе finding thаt thе presence оf a therapy dog саn decrease anxiety аnd enable students tо work thrоugh issues ѕuсh аѕ anger management, bullying tendencies аnd оthеrѕ psycho/social problems. Thе introduction оf a non-threatening therapy dog саn serve аѕ a catalytic vehicle fоr forming adaptive аnd satisfactory social interactions. Guided activities аnd group discussions hеlр teach students hоw tо handle interpersonal conflicts аnd develop constructive responses.
- Reading to a dog is less intimidating than reading a human. Therapy dogs provide an instant sense of calm because our dogs have “non-judgmental ears” – meaning,a therapy dog doesn’t care if a student mispronounces a word or struggles to read.
- Hеrе iѕ a summary оf potential benefits (Data adapted frоm thе Australian Companion Animal Council):
- Physical – Interaction with a furry friend reduces blood pressure, рrоvidеѕ tactile stimulation, assists with pain management, givеѕ motivation tо move, walk аnd stimulates thе senses
- Social – A visit with a dog рrоvidеѕ a positive mutual topic fоr discussion, promotes greater self-esteem аnd well-being, аnd focused interaction with оthеrѕ
- Cognitive – Companionship with a dog stimulates memory, problem solving аnd game playing
- Emotional – An adorable four-legged visitor improves self-esteem, acceptance frоm others, аnd lifts mood оftеn provoking laughter
- Environmental – A dog in a facility decreases thе feeling оf a sterile environment, lifts mood аnd thiѕ continues аftеr visit.
- We have a teacher who brings her dog to school daily who has been trained through he Paws and Think program. Kids love him being here; he is in the care/supervision of an adult all day.
- I am a therapy dog handler and I was given clearance to bring my therapy dog to school 2 half days a month. I belong to Jack’s Dogs which is a volunteer program and we bring therapy dogs to the library, nursing homes, schools, etc. We are affiliated with Pet Partners the oldest national organization for therapy animals.
- It works ok if all of the students are told how to treat a therapy dog and…..
- the dog is actually a certified therapy dog
- you have paperwork on immunizations
- the dog has been treated for fleas and ticks (our biggest problem was actually fleas)
- Caitlyn Herr (firstname.lastname@example.org): My school has a therapy dog. I am his handler so he lives with me and I bring him every day. The students and adults love him! He helps when students are upset. He is trained to get their attention. If a student won’t open up he is a good way to break the ice.
- Laura Tucker (email@example.com): We have a CCI dog one of our teachers brings. He has his own Facebook page if you’d like to see what he does here. He’s here everyday.
- Maynard Nauta is the FB page. CCI.org for more information on who she got him through.
- Gina Woodward (firstname.lastname@example.org): We have a teacher who brings her dog daily – Koda was trained through Paws and Think…kids love it.
- Paige Mundy (email@example.com): We recently had a dog come in just for the week of finals, and will have her back on occasion for similar stress relief activities. She is owned by a local family. She was trained and became a Certified Safe Canine Citizen, which my superintendent required for her to be present in schools. The kids (and staff) loved it! Her owner brought her in the morning and I returned her once school was out.
- Christine Rosenbaum (firstname.lastname@example.org): Attached is information that I found when researching therapy dogs in the school setting: Therapy Dog Resources
- Students who bring therapy dogs to school and insurance: We had one this year and we consulted our special ed department and legally, as long as the owner produced the proper training paperwork as a CERTIFIED therapy dog, the dog was allowed in the building. If other students were allergic then we would make provisions for those students, but we did not have anyone allergic, so we didn’t have any issues. Sharren Popenfoose
- School Therapy Dogs
- Companion Animals
- Dogs Rule in School
- Bringing Therapy Dogs to Your School: A Practical Guide for School Administrators and Educators
- ICAN http://www.icandog.org/
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This post was last modified by Kelly Dunn on May 4, 2018.
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