Dogs are increasingly being used to provide therapeutic assistance in early education settings, primary and secondary schools, and university classes to support students’ emotional well-being, promote a sense of belonging in school, lower stress and anxiety, and even help with learning.

One common way dogs are being used in education is as a part of the school Reading Buddies program, where children read aloud to a furry friend. This helps to improve the child’s reading ability and provides them with some much-needed confidence and socialization skills.

Dogs are also being used as part of educational programs to teach empathy, respect, and responsibility. These programs have shown to be particularly beneficial for children on the autism spectrum.

Dogs are also being used in educational settings to provide general emotional support for students who may be experiencing stress or anxiety. Having a dog present in the school environment can help create a calm and welcoming atmosphere and provide a sense of comfort for students who may be struggling.

Therapy dogs have a beneficial impact on emotional well-being and cognitive growth. Certain volunteer efforts are geared toward bringing the dogs into the children’s lives, whether it be at school or in their home, the dogs’ interaction with children improves their:

  • Reading abilities
  • Stimulates memory and problem-solving skills
  • Enhances executive-functioning abilities  

For children with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), dogs are an essential component of treatment. The unconditional love and companionship give children the attention, affection, and motivation they need to improve their focus and concentration.

For instance, in a study conducted on 90 children with ADHD who attended school in Chile, scientists found that therapy dogs promoted “improvements in attention and impulsivity” for the students (Scholastic).

For children with autism, the dogs should be calm and patient. Studies have shown that when a disabled person encounters an assistance dog, they experience lower stress and anxiety levels, resulting in decreased blood pressure and heart rate (Dog Channel).

Getting a therapy dog for a school

Organizations like have teams that provide therapy in many settings, including but not limited to airports, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, rehab facilities, mental health institutions, schools, hospitals, cancer centers, hospice facilities, college campuses, and can also provide therapy in patients’ homes. ATD (Association of Therapy Dogs) does not restrict where the teams visit. They may also choose to be members of local therapy dog groups, such as nationwide therapy dog initiatives with organizations like the Red Cross and READ.

According to an article from the National Association of Secondary School Principals schools also have seen a rise in mental health concerns for today’s youth. “Students enter our buildings with the weight of the world on their shoulders. With exposure to social media, cyberbullying, digital media, violence, and much more, our students experience overwhelming feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. With 1 in 6 US youth aged 6–17 experiencing a mental health disorder each year and suicide as the second leading cause of death among people aged 10–34, implementing a program to improve the mental well-being of our children is critical and necessary”.

What is a READ therapy dog?

Therapeutic reading programs with dogs have been around for many years, taking place in libraries and elementary schools. Certified therapy dogs are brought into these facilities to sit or lie quietly while their young human companions read to them.

How do class pets help students?

A class pet can teach children important values like compassion, empathy, respect, and responsibility for other living things and give them much-needed leadership skills and stress relief.

What are the benefits of having a pet in the classroom?

There are many benefits to having a pet in the classroom, including:

  • Providing children with a sense of responsibility and routine
  • Helping to lower stress and anxiety levels
  • Promoting a sense of belonging in school
  • Improving socialization skills
  • Helping with learning
  • Providing emotional support

Pets in the classroom can also help create a positive and welcoming atmosphere, which can benefit both students and teachers. In addition, having a pet in the classroom can provide opportunities for educational enrichment, such as teaching kids about animal care, biology, and ecology. Finally, pets can also serve as a fun and engaging way to get kids excited about learning.

What dog is best for mental health?

  1. Vizsla
  2. Labrador Retriever
  3. Yorkshire Terrier
  4. Pug
  5. Cavalier King Charles’ Spaniel
  6. Brussels Griffon
  7. Golden Retriever
  8. Corgi
  9. Irish Wolfhound
  10. Chihuahua

Dogs can help with depression through a variety of health benefits. For example, their closeness increases oxytocin production and serotonin levels, which decreases stress levels and lowers blood pressure. It also increases positive emotions and can make us more trusting of others around us.

Depression and anxiety often go hand-in-hand. Dogs provide unconditional love and acceptance and can help individuals cope with feelings of sadness and loneliness. They give their owners someone to talk to, cuddle with, love, and depend on for affection without judgment. 

Dogs also motivate people to get outside; they provide a reason to walk, go for a jog or meet up with friends. In addition, dogs serve as an essential motivator for increasing physical activity and exercise in the elderly, individuals who recently suffered heart attacks, and those with arthritis.

Owning a dog brings a sense of responsibility and purpose, which can improve mental health. Many people who have dogs take them on walks or runs to bond and release any pent-up stress or anxiety that may be weighing on their minds. In addition, having a canine companion provides individuals with a reason to get out of bed in the morning and can help eliminate feelings of loneliness.

Did you know that dogs help individuals with disabilities improve their quality of life? Studies have shown that when a disabled person encounters an assistance dog, they experience lower stress and anxiety levels, resulting in decreased blood pressure and heart rate.

Dogs are extremely helpful in improving social skills because they provide a reason to talk to people, interact with them and form relationships. Furthermore, they do this in a way that is not threatening or intimidating for the individual because dogs do not judge their owners but instead offer unconditional love, affection, and empathy.

How Are Dogs Used in Education?

In conclusion, if you consider using dogs in education, it is essential to do your research and make sure that you use a reputable organization that can provide well-trained and socialized dogs. It is also necessary to ensure that you have the support of your school’s administration and staff and your student’s parents.

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