There’s a new student eager to learn in many UK classrooms – a furry, four-legged one full of unconditional kindness and curiosity. Schools across the country have been welcoming trained dogs as teaching companions, finding them to be a comforting presence that boosts learning. Keep reading to discover the many benefits of canine assisted learning.
Calming Classroom Presence
A main advantage of having a dog in the classroom is the calming effect they have on students. The dog mentor’s friendly face and steady, non-judgemental demeanour can be remarkably soothing for anxious or stressed children. Interacting with a calm canine gives them something positive to focus on, lowering blood pressure and levels of the stress hormone cortisol. With less anxiety hampering concentration, students are freed up for active learning. Teachers report their pupils seem more relaxed and receptive when a dog from The Dog Mentor is around.
Mood Lifting Motivator
You can’t help but smile and feel your mood lift when a wagging tail comes your way. Dogs in schools bring a lot of positivity and good humour into a classroom. Their playful attitude makes learning feel like fun, motivating students to actively participate. Laughter and activity stimulated by an energetic dog gets the brain engaged. Students delighted by their canine classmate are more receptive to instruction and demonstrate improved focus on the task at hand. It’s amazing what a dog can do for motivation and morale.
Many children struggle with social anxiety and have trouble making friends or connecting with teachers. Dogs are the ultimate social lubricant, breaking the ice and bonding classmates together through shared affection of their four-legged friend. Children tend to open up and talk more with a dog nearby. Canine assisted learning encourages greater interaction, and teaches social skills like empathy and being kind. With the social barriers lowered, students can connect and learn cooperatively more easily.
Some students see reading as a chore, but reading to a non-judgemental canine listener can make them enjoy it more. Dogs are used in many schools as reading companions, lying calmly as children read aloud to them. This gives pupils confidence and satisfaction in improving their reading skills, making amazing progress with vocabulary, fluency and comprehension. The dog provides comfort and reassurance to children as they learn, without ever getting impatient, bored or correcting mistakes.
Stress Relief Outlet
School days can be high-pressure, but having a furry school counsellor provides a healthy outlet for petting and talking through stress. Stroking a dog lowers cortisol and releases calming oxytocin. Children can vent their worries and frustrations to an attentive canine that makes them feel heard without judgement. With stress relieved through cuddling a caring companion, students can better concentrate on learning.
The many social, emotional and cognitive benefits of canine assisted learning make dogs a true teaching asset. Their friendly presence lifts moods, motivates, soothes anxiety, encourages social interaction, aids reading skills and provides stress relief. With a dog around, learning feels more enjoyable, students are happier and classrooms calmer. Every school should have a resident dog to spread their special brand of unconditional love.