Monday, September 4, 2017

Six Ways a Therapy Dog Can Help Children

Dogs Are Truly Amazing

Dogs have been shown to promote health benefits in humans. Anyone who owns a dog knows this to be true. They can increase self-esteem, increase trust and confidence as well as increase endorphin production. In many instances, therapy dogs have specifically been used to help kids. 

Therapy dogs and their handlers are now common in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and hospitals.

 However, did you know that they can also be found in schools?  Schools are using therapy dogs to improve the lives of children in a number of ways. Here are six ways that these helpful dogs can make life better for children.

How Dogs Help Children

Dogs are fun to have around even when they are supposed to be doing something serious like therapy. Here are ways that kids encounter therapy dogs. 

1. Literacy – Did you know that therapy dogs can help children to read? Those who have trouble with their reading are often afraid to read aloud in front of other classmates. But, they are more than willing to read in front of a four-legged friend. They are part of reading programs that bring dogs in to increase literacy by helping kids to work on their reading skills. Dogs tend to be very attentive and patient as kids read, and the children learn how to interact with animals at the same time.

2. Bullying – Some therapy dogs are used in schools as a part of a campaign to stop bullying. The dogs are used to teach character traits like compassion and fairness to kids in an effort to decrease bullying. Kids who had animals in the classroom were less likely to be part of disruptive behavior than those without one.

3. Calm fears – Children who had a visit from a dog or other therapy pet before a hospital procedure were calmer. We all know pets are soothing. For kids who have pets at home, the sight of one in their hospital room or a doctor’s office can provide a sense of trust.
Pediatric hospital uses therapy dogs to help kids smile, heal

4. Acceptance – When kids find it hard to talk to adults about issues, they can talk to animals. Because the animal doesn’t yell or show another form of displeasure, they develop a trusting bond.  This could help them open up in therapy in the future. Dogs want to please people by nature. So they remain devoted and focused on whomever they are with.

5. Social interaction – Therapy dogs can aid in the learning of social skills in kids. Because dogs are patient, they can be used to reinforce positive social skills like teamwork, empathy, and responsibility.

6. Exercise – Some children tend to isolate themselves because of underlying social issues. This means they are lacking in physical exercise. With a therapy dog, kids can get a bit of fresh air and have some fun at the same time. Running around playing with a therapy dog is exercise although it won’t seem like it.
Therapy Dogs helping children with Autism.

Kids and pets are both precious. Bringing them together in therapy can have so many positive results. 

Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.
Have a wonderful day.