Spending time with a dog has been proven to decrease stress and depression by increasing the levels of feel-good chemicals - specifically, serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine - in the brain. Interaction with dogs increases relaxation, trust and empathy. It also decreases loneliness, improves communication skills and encourages social interaction in both adults and children.
How It Works
Happiness sessions will be 30 minutes in length and take different formats, dictated by the school and the needs of their class or an individual child. This can be anything from a class companion dog, to singing with dogs, offering exam time stress relief or working specifically with Special Educational Needs (SEN) children.
We work with the class teacher to design a session that works towards their learning objective and can offer it as a one off session or a regular visit. The session can form part of a class, a school assembly or afterschool activity.
What We Do
The Animal Agency supplies the canine companions. The dog’s temperament, obedience and patient nature is of utmost importance to us, each and every dog we work with has been put through a thorough assessment with our qualified dog trainer and behaviourist, Denise and been awarded a certificate of suitability. Each dog has also been given a clean bill of health by their vet and must provide an up to date vaccination book and pet passport.
Children enjoy the sessions and think they're fun. They look forward to coming to the sessions because they feel the dog is waiting for them.
Nervous children feel comfortable spending time with our dogs as the dogs don’t judge them.
Petting dogs can help with motor skills and is known to be a calming factor as it can reduce stress, blood pressure and anxiety
Children often feel safe when sitting with a dog from the programme
Working with a dog can boost the confidence of children and gives them an increased sense of pride
A child can feel like a leader by teaching the dog a skill and pretending (s)he is the teacher
Children learn to take turns while working with the dog
Children can learn kindness and empathy by petting and interacting with the dog
Communication skills can be improved by practicing commands aloud
Participants enjoy communicating with each other and talking about the session and the dog