Reasons Why Dogs Should Be Allowed in School

Dogs have been described as man’s best friend for a reason. In fact, their loyalty and unconditional love are beyond description. Their unwavering devotion has been captured in various movies worldwide, warming hearts and inspiring new generations.

One good example is the story of Hachiko, the Japanese dog that waited for its owner at the railway station for years. Even though the owner had passed on, he refused to accept the reality and kept waiting for him. Days turned into weeks, months, and years, yet his steadfast dedication never wavered. Today, Hachiko is cast in bronze and remains a symbol of love and loyalty, reminding us that the bond between humans and animals can transcend even the boundaries of life and death.

This is just one story among many. Separating from your best friend can be a nightmare, especially for young kids. As such, the initiative by some modern learning institutions to allow class pets is not just inspiring but also heartwarming. The imagination of a classroom filled with wagging tails, unconditional love, endless smooches, and wet noses is almost SCI-FI-like, unreal.

Some studies have found the presence of these canines within the school environment beneficial to learners, teachers, and school communities. So, if you’re curious to know about the benefits of classroom animals and why pets should be allowed in school, keep reading!

Dog Allowance in Schools: Trends and Patterns

Allowing dogs in schools is a new trend. Green Chimneys is a pioneer in using animal-assisted therapy in the educational environment. The New York-based organization has transformed the lives of many students with special needs, emphasizing the need to embrace their approach. With dogs, the learners have overcome their learning difficulties and improved their social skills, established meaningful connections, and, most importantly, developed a sense of responsibility.

Another notable example is the PAWS to Read program in Canada. The national organization uses therapy dogs for children in Grades 1-5. While the initiative initially focused on special needs kids, Therapeutic Paws of Canada (TPOC) later rolled it out to all children with learning and concentration difficulties. The program is hailed for improving many kids’ reading skills, confidence, and self-esteem.

There are so many similar programs helping kids globally. Not forgetting the “Reading with Rover” community initiative in Washington State, USA, and Kempsey East Primary School in Sydney, Australia, among other noted ones. As stated by Penny Chow, the principal of Kempsey East Primary School, dogs create a relaxed and non-judgmental environment for children to thrive.

Why Should Dogs Be Allowed in School?

Well, we’ve seen that the use of service dogs in the classroom is increasing globally. Nonetheless, what justifies why dogs should be allowed in school?

There are numerous reasons to support and promote the trend. Some of the major reasons are:

Improving school attendance

School attendance is critical to any kid’s overall performance. When students no longer worry about leaving their best friends behind, they may be more motivated to attend school. In fact, most cases of absenteeism have been linked to anxiety or lack of motivation. While these are some of the most complex psychological issues to solve, the magic of having a dog at school seems to remedy them.

A dog’s constant attention, playfulness, and even licks create eagerness and eustress, which are vital for inspiring learners to attend school.

Reducing behavioral issues

Kids can sometimes act up for no reason. Pothers may be so unmotivated that they form bad habits. Such kids aren’t easy to handle, especially for teachers dealing with many learners. Studies have shown that when teachers allow such kids to bring dogs to school, they tend to calm down and become more responsible. Moreover, continued interaction with pets reduces aggression and other disruptive behaviors.

Children with a history of emotional breakdowns can find comfort in therapy dogs, helping them to stay calm when triggered. It doesn’t end there. Our canine friends can be used to teach critical behavioral skills to youngsters. For example, educators have successfully used dogs to teach patience, impulse control, and conflict resolution. These essential skills can improve any kid’s general life and future.

Fostering social and emotional development

While intelligence can take you far, social skills can take you farther. This is true in life and professional career. Having a dog is a two-way relationship. They’ll be there for you always, but you must set time for them too. A dog’s love is unconditional, but that doesn’t mean you don’t reciprocate it. By caring for their canine friends, kids develop empathy and compassion and grasp the importance of being responsible, kind, and considerate. They learn to put others ahead of themselves, which is not only fulfilling but also motivating.

Caring for animals and others comes with many more benefits. For example, it teaches you effective listening and problem-solving skills. Many kids have given up their own food to feed their companions. Resilience and self-discipline develop from much smaller acts of sacrifice.

Improved academic performance

Studies have found a positive relationship between having pets in the classroom and improved academic performance. When dogs are allowed at school, students tend to do well in their examinations and other aspects of life. Outcomes from Kempsey East Primary School in Sydney, Australia, provide a perfect example for educators and policymakers.

Researchers have observed that interactions with pets, especially dogs, improve students’ focus and attention span, leading to increased productivity and better academic outcomes. Moreover, a kid with a dop can study at odd hours and places, try new innovative ways of reading, and take greater risks with potentially higher rewards. However, care must be taken to ensure that kids aren’t over-consumed by caring for their dogs, neglecting their school work in the process.

Dogs as stress-relievers

Having dogs in the classroom can help students and teachers relieve stress. While it’s in everyone’s interest to keep learning spaces happy and enjoyable, academic pressures, e.g., beating deadlines and managing huge workloads, sometimes make it impossible. It can take a toll on even the most dedicated students and educators, ruining their mental and emotional well-being. Touching, cuddling, or playing with a dog releases endorphins, commonly known as “feel-good” hormones, helping alleviate feelings of stress and anxiety.

The Future of Dogs in Schools is Now!

As the research and emotional success stories continue to accumulate, it’s evident that dogs have an important role to play in education. If we’re going to ignore man’s best friend, it shouldn’t be in an environment they have proven so effective. There is overwhelming evidence that our canine companions can improve learners’ academic, social, emotional, and behavioral status.

Studies on dog allowance in the classroom are yet to scratch the surface, but early signs are impressive. We should embrace the trend to create inclusive, supportive, and engaging learning environments for our kids in a world where positivity is becoming rare daily.