How Dogs Reduce Stress in the Classroom
Having a dog in the classroom enhances the classroom experience. Children are found to be more careful throughout the classroom not to step on a dog, and they have been found to be more careful with interactions with each other. Blindfolded kids were asked to stroke a dog when they do, it has been found that the brain releases oxytocin, which is a stress-relieving hormone.
An experiment of 80 kids has been conducted in the vialogue below, with the ultimate goal of determining stress levels with exposure to dogs. There were three groups of kids that were asked to give a presentation. The first group would be able to give their presentation with the presence of the real dog that they knew well, the second group would be able to bring a friend, and the third group would be able to bring a stuffed animal. The findings show that the group of children that had been exposed to the dog had the least amount of stress prior to and after the presentation.
Having dogs in the classroom has benefits throughout the classroom, acting as a stress reliever as well as a moderator (e.g. when children are more careful when the dog is around). But this advantage comes at a disadvantage as well. A dog will easily provide distractions in the classroom, with children paying more attention in the dog rather than the teacher. There are both positives and negatives when dealing with dogs, but they will always remain an animal that we as humans can connect with.