Therapy dogs in schools have gained popularity in recent years as a way to support students' emotional well-being and create a more positive and inclusive learning environment. These trained and certified dogs provide comfort and a sense of relaxation and safety to students, staff, and faculty members.
Benefits of Therapy Dogs in Schools:
Emotional Support: Interacting with therapy dogs can reduce stress and anxiety. The presence of a friendly dog can create a calming atmosphere and provide comforting support for students during class.
Improved Mood: Petting or spending time with therapy dogs can trigger the release of endorphins and oxytocin, which are hormones associated with happiness and bonding. This can lead to improved mood and overall well-being among students and staff.
Reduced Anxiety: Many students experience anxiety related to academic pressures, social interactions, and other stressors. Therapy dogs can help alleviate this anxiety, making it easier for students to focus and engage in learning.
Enhanced Social Skills: Interacting with therapy dogs can improve social skills, as students may feel more comfortable initiating conversations with their peers while bonding over the shared experience of interacting with the dog.
Lowered Disruption: The calming presence of therapy dogs can help reduce disruptions in the classroom. Students may be more attentive and cooperative when a dog is present.
Positive School Environment: The presence of therapy dogs fosters a positive school environment. It can create a sense of community, improve relationships among students and staff, and promote a more caring and compassionate atmosphere.
Stress Reduction for Staff: School staff members also benefit from interacting with therapy dogs. They can experience reduced stress levels and improved job satisfaction, leading to a healthier work environment.
Before introducing therapy dogs into a school, administrators should work closely with professionals, such as school counselors, educators, and therapy dog organizations, to develop a well-structured program that aligns with the school's goals and priorities. Additionally, they should communicate with parents and obtain consent before introducing therapy dogs to the school environment.
Overall, therapy dogs can be a valuable addition to schools, contributing to a more supportive and positive educational experience for students and staff alike. We are excited to partner with Nor’Wester Therapy Dogs and their volunteers as a canine partner in education.
Nor’Wester Therapy Dogs uses registered therapy dogs to enhance our educational environment and to help motivate students to work on a wide range of academic skills. Therapy dogs support students individually or in small groups under the direction and supervision of the handler and in partnership with our classroom teachers.