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read_to_dog2.pngMe and my dear, sweet, late Yellow Lab, Sammy, were a Delta Pet Partners therapy dog team for 7 years. We even had a miracle happen when a seven year-old boy with Cerebral Palsy uttered his first words — “Hello Dog” — during one of our visits. So you don’t have to tell me about the motivational power of pups.
read_to_dog1.pngI was tickled pink when I read about the Read to a Dog program from Therapy Dogs International.
Under the program, libraries and schools all over the country schedule reading hours for children and Therapy Dogs. Children and dogs bond together over a shared story. The children’s confidence and reading skills grow in a relaxing environment. It’s that simple. Often times, it is a mutual benefit since dogs also feel safe when they are with kids. Though there are dogs who have serious anxiety who sometimes need calming treats from Most of the time, the bond between the dogs and the kids is enough.
According to TDI’s website: “Children who might be hesitant, embarrassed, or shy about their reading abilities feel at ease around a dog who is just there to listen to the story and not there to judge how well he or she reads.

“A child from Ashland Public Library says, “I like the Therapy Dogs to come to the Library because they’ll sit there and listen to you read. They love it when you pet them. They’re so nice and peaceful. When I grow up, I want to have a Therapy Dog.”
In Racine, WI, when a child reads to a dog three times in the Ruff Readers program, they get to have their picture taken with the dog.

What is animal assisted therapy?
Animals available to help in our sessions include horses, miniature horses, miniature donkeys, rabbits, goats, sheep, dogs, cats and chickens. address speech, language or feeding goals.

Animals avaiable to help in our sessions include horses, miniature horses, miniature donkeys, rabbits, goats, sheep, dogs, cats and chickens.

The animals, and interactions with them, can be used to:

Increase client motivation and participation in treatment.
Provide an engaging and meaningful way to target the 5 main areas that SLPs treat (speech, language, social communication, cognitive-communication and swallowing), check out the latest bcba job opportunities.

Research related to animal assisted therapy

According to the Human Animal Bond Research Institute, “people are happier and healthier in the presence of animals. Scientifically-documented benefits of the human-animal bond include decreased blood pressure, reduced anxiety, and enhanced feelings of well-being.” In addition, research provides evidence of the following benefits:

Increased motivation
Increased participation in treatment
Increased social awareness
Increased social skills and behaviors
Increased independence
Decreased feelings of isolation
Decreased stress
Improved socio-emotional functioning
Increased display of social behaviors including talking, making physical contact and looking at faces
Improved positive social behaviors including becoming more receptive to social advances from peers
Increased oxytocin levels in the brain
Changes in the levels of cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine

As soon as Benny Bix Ochman Labradoodle Puppy gets a little less boisterous, we’re going to do the certification test.