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Therapy dogs

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A recent report highlighted children working with therapy dogs experienced increased motivation for learning, resulting in improved outcomes.

Therapy dogs are being used to support children with social and emotional learning needs, which in turn can assist with literacy development.

What are therapy dogs?

It's important to note therapy dogs are not service dogs. Service dogs are trained to provide specific support for individuals with disabilities such as visual or hearing difficulties, seizure disorders, mobility challenges, and/or diabetes.

The role of therapy dogs is to react and respond to people and their environment, under the guidance and direction of their owner. For example, an individual might be encouraged to gently pat or talk to a dog to teach sensitive touch and help them be calm.

Research into the effects of therapy dogs in schools is showing a range of benefits including:

  • increase in school attendance
  • gains in confidence
  • decreases in learner anxiety behaviours resulting in improved learning outcomes, such as increases in reading and writing levels
  • positive changes towards learning and improved motivation, and
  • enhanced relationships with peers and teachers due to experiencing trust and unconditional love from a therapy dog. This in turn helps students learn how to express their feelings and enter into more trusting relationships.

Please note that although we have therapy dogs working at school, they have special permission and training to do so. Including training for the owners.  No other dogs are permitted on school grounds. 

Loganholme State School already has two therapy dogs working as Reading Dogs with our students and are having great success. 

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Last reviewed 09 March 2020
Last updated 09 March 2020