March 23rd is National Puppy Day!! This is one of my personal favorite “holidays” because it recognizes the unconditional love between dogs and humans. With that said, we would like to discuss a creative and unique concept that combines behavioral health and puppers; Dog therapy! Dog therapy is effective in several different ways to help those in need and can be implemented in schools, hospitals, and/or through personal use for a sense of growth.
Here are just a few examples of how dog therapy can help:
1.) Helps promote confidence and academic success:
Being in school can be “ruff”. Students face a lot of pressure in school. Dog therapy has been proven to enhance academic performance and social skills. Think about it like this- if a child is afraid of reading to adults or someone else, they could read a story to a dog. Dogs aren’t too concerned with what the book is about or if you don’t know how to pronounce a word, so it is a great way to gain confidence and enhance reading skills. Dogs are also a great way to “break the ice” to ease social anxiety by being a focal point for conversations.
2.) Changes the dynamic of a hospital setting:
Regardless of the diagnosis, dogs can help. By providing unconditional love and lots of kisses, dogs can help patients feel better emotionally. Knowing that you are not alone during a battle makes everything better. Being with a dog can create a sense of ease and provides comfort. It can also release endorphins and lower blood pressure.
3.) Assists with seizures:
This, in particular, is a great assistance when working with seizure patients. These types of therapy dogs can be specifically trained to act quickly when someone is experiencing a seizure by barking to alert caregivers.
4.) Helps children establish responsibility and a sense of empathy:
There is no question that dogs require a lot of work! A dog needs to be fed, taken outside or on walks, and properly trained. This gives the opportunity for children to help out and take care of the dog. Because dogs have their own schedules, children will also learn time management skills and develop a sense of responsibility.
5.) Encourages physical activity:
Dogs love to play- and they have the energy! Dogs require a lot of attention and they have to get their exercise. Whether it be the act of throwing the ball or running around in the backyard, any extra exercise makes a huge difference in children’s lives. It also gets them out of the house and away from electronics.
If you are looking for a different type of therapy for your child(ren), this is a great method that is filled with unconditional love and cuteness!
For more up-to-date information on pet therapy and its benefits, be sure to connect with us on LinkedIn, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and use the hashtag #Humanus on Instagram, so that we can continue to help you help others!
Resources: http://www.nationalpuppyday.com, http://www.nationalpuppyday.com/about, http://www.pawsforpeople.org/who-we-are/benefits-of-pet-therapy/, https://childmind.org/article/animals-help-children-overcome-challenges/