How often haven’t we read about how having a pet at home is good for a child’s development and upbringing. It comes as no surprise then that a variety of schools have recently begun to experiment with a brand new project that involves dogs. The idea is to use them in the classroom to deal with the bullying phenomenon, to show students the true benefits of socializing with one another.
Unfortunately, bullying has become a problem in many schools. Pet Therapy could be one of the solutions to this unpleasant phenomenon. Dogs, because of their sensitivity, are able to create a special bond with humans and provide some very real therapeutic benefits. Psychologists at a seminar promoted by the European University came up with the idea of letting dogs into schools to help teach children about building relationships and relating to one another.
How can a dog prevent, or even just limit, the problem of bullying? Dogs are highly intelligent animals, they reason, think, have emotions and remember things. In short, they can act as emotional intermediaries and the presence of a dog in the school can put everyone in a good mood.
As the psychologist Giorgia Caucci says: “When a dog enters a classroom the dynamics inside that room change, there is more harmony, cohesion, a desire to work together.” This is how man’s best friend becomes a teacher, if you will, one that encourages children to cooperate with one another, to communicate, show empathy, learn about patience, sensitivity and the art of listening.
When a dog walks around the classroom with its big soft eyes and wagging tail, it puts an end to the desire some kids might have to be arrogant and aggressive. In fact, its love is contagious and so it opens dialogue, improves attention and increases curiosity, and the subject matter being taught is actually more easily understood and absorbed.
But there’s more. A dog can make a child feel emotionally safe, and this helps it to relate to the world around it. This is true also for the more timid children, who seem to find the courage to get involved in activities they might otherwise have avoided.
And speaking of activities, playing is a very basic part of life. Playing with a dog at school stimulates social interaction and self-esteem. During break and while involved in recreational activities, kids learn to vent their exuberance and share it with their companions.
A pet in the classroom really can have a very positive effect on the behaviour of a room full of children. It imbues each and every one of them with a sense of responsibility and increases their sense of belonging. We at Ferplast firmly believe in this project and hope that many more schools will follow this innovative lead.