The presence of therapy dogs in public education and healthcare institutions is becoming increasingly popular.
An increasing number of Child Development Centres, which focus on children aged 2-12 years, especially those with movement, speech, skills and abilities, have four-legged staff.
It is fair to ask: what is a dog doing in a child development center?
Dogs’ unconditional expressions of love for people – but also just their presence – bring joy and happiness to our daily lives.
Increasingly, dogs are being used specifically for therapeutic purposes to help children with a wide range of mental health conditions and emotional and behavioral problems.
This provides an excellent opportunity for children to interact with dogs as friends and to enjoy the many benefits of canine therapy.
Here are 10 reasons why therapy dog sessions for children:
It relieves anxiety in children and helps the shyer ones to develop. Children can experience the effects of stress just as much as adults. And dog therapy has proven incredibly successful as a method of treating children’s symptoms of stress.
For children who find it difficult to open up, or who are unable or afraid to talk about their feelings, they can help them to express their thoughts and emotions in words.
They help with self-esteem.
Playing a game or doing a task together, such as asking for a high five or leading on a leash, can boost confidence.
They help children who are sensory, especially tactile, to overcome sensory and tactile barriers.
They help children’s emotional development and regulation of their emotions.
Children with high motor needs are soothed by the presence and touch of the dog. Therapy dogs encourage children to calm down.
They motivate the children, because if the structure of the class and the tasks include rewards, asking for tricks after a child completes a task is a motivation.
They strengthen and support the bond between parent and child in parent-child sessions.
Shared, playful tasks support responsibility, but also help to connect with other children who find it harder to relate to other children.