As you will already know, at The Childcare Academy, we have our very own therapy dog, the gorgeous Bailey! Bailey is working very hard, doing his training as a good boy! Once fully trained, he will be participating in supervised play sessions with the children at our nursery. He will be specially trained to support any upset, anxious, or shy children, for example. But what exactly are the benefits of dog therapy for children?
Dogs can bring a significant level of joy to our everyday lives. After all, the love and companionship that a dog offers is a bond that cannot be broken. It really is unconditional.
With this in mind, dogs are increasingly being used in therapeutic ways to support children with a vast range of mental health conditions and children with emotional and behavioural needs. These conditions include anxiety, depression, Autism, ADHD and much more.
For children with these conditions, animal therapy can play a crucial role in helping emotional support and memory retention through play and responsibility.
First and foremost, what is dog therapy?
Children’s nurseries are just one setting where therapy dogs are used. Also, dog therapy sessions occur in schools, hospitals, outdoor environments, or a child’s home setting.
This provides an excellent way for children to interact with their furry therapy friend and benefit from the many advantages that come hand in hand with dog therapy.
What are the benefits of dog therapy to children?
Helps children with autism to grow emotionally
One of the main advantages of dog therapy is that it allows children with autism to learn how to handle their emotions and adapt well to different social situations. Children living with autism face many challenges daily, and dog therapy helps alleviate many of these challenges.
Helps to reinforce the bond between a parent and child
For children living away from home or in hospital for a long time, it can be difficult for a child to bond with their parents. However, shared experiences with a therapy dog can bring families together, creating fond memories for both the child and the parent.
Can help to alleviate stress
Children can experience the impact of stress just as much as adults. And, as a method for treating the symptoms associated with stress in children, dog therapy has proven to be incredibly successful.
Dog therapy allows children to spend time with a dog by enjoying several different activities, cuddling, and interacting with their furry friend. This acts as stress relief, helping children to overcome their worries.
Therapy dogs encourage children to be calm
A dog can instantly help to calm children and allow them to practice regulating their emotions. Children tend to relax and focus because they are gentle with the therapy dog during their time together. Often, children then go on to apply these skills in their everyday life.
Finally, most children get great pleasure from interacting with animals, especially gentle dogs that are fun and give unconditional love like our Bailey!