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Animal-assisted therapy using dogs: The benefits to children

By Corrine E. Oian

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Animal-assisted therapy, including dogs, has gained widespread support and has been implemented in many areas throughout the past few decades. Animal-assisted therapy was first recorded in England in 1792, where mentally ill patients were given small animals for which to care. Since then dogs have been used to aid in the well-being of adults and children. Many programs have implemented using dogs, horses, cats and more in their therapy programs. From using dogs in hospitals to provide emotional support and diversion to their patients, to dogs in the classroom to encourage reading skills and conflict resolution, dogs are getting to be a part of many people's daily lives.The paper reviews three main questions: 1) What benefits do animals provide children and adolescents? 2) What benefits have been reported about dogs in the school settings? and 3) How do schools address the difficulties ofbringing dogs into a school? Much of the research has shown that having animals in schools has benefited students. Educators have learned that having dogs in the schools not only calms students, but promotes positive changes in students. Students who were involved in the Reading Education Assistance Dogs program increased reading level, some by over two grade levels, in13 months (Intermountain Therapy Dogs, n.d.). Little empirical research has been done in the area of animal-assisted therapy involving children and dogs at this time. It is recommended that more empirical research be conducted on animal-assisted with dogs in a school setting.


Deborah Maron

Date 2007
Degree Master of Science
Language English
Notes This research paper is made available through MINDS@UW:
University University of Wisconsin- Stout
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Adolescents
  2. Animal-assisted education
  3. Animal-assisted therapies
  4. Assistance animals
  5. Cats
  6. Cognition
  7. Education
  8. Health
  9. therapeutic settings
  10. therapy animals