Assistance Dogs Australia – Educational Support Dogs
Commencing high school can be a nervous time for students. At Coodanup College we have adopted a therapy dog program providing social and emotional support to students. Vino is an ‘Educational Support Dog’ and has been fully trained and accredited through Assistance Dogs Australia.
Research has shown that therapy dogs can reduce stress in physiological ways by reducing the stress chemical cortisol in the brain and triggering the release of oxytocin, which plays a positive role in social bonding (trust in humans). Research also suggests using therapy dogs to reduce the effects of traumatic events including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety. This phenomenon, known as the ‘Animal-Human Bond’, describes a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between people and animals.
The presence of our Educational Support Dog can also be linked to:
- Improvements in school attendance
- Increase in student confidence
- Increase in student motivation
- Increase in student participation
- A sense of connection in difficult situations
- Increase in pro-social skills.
Perhaps most importantly, Vino can help to teach our students mindfulness. He has the ability to listen and engage without judgement, ensuring that our students feel valued with a sense of belonging. This ability to focus on the present moment is possibly one of the greatest psychological benefits of interacting with a dog.