Therapy dogs to reduce student stress?
Being a university student can often be stressful, especially around exam periods. There are great ways to cope with stress and anxiety: exercising, eating well, listening to music… What about spending time with therapy dogs?
More and more North-American university campuses such as Georgetown, UBC and Stanford have been offering therapy dog sessions to support students and improve their wellness. Cuddling and playing with a canine companion – even for 15 minutes – have a positive impact on stress, negative feelings and energy. As reported by a recent study from the University of British Columbia, spending time with therapy dogs increases happiness and benefits both female and male students equally.
However, researchers recommend that universities use them during increased stressful periods because the stronger positive effects of these sessions are temporary.
According to Margaret Govea, Office of Medical Student Wellness Director at Stanford University, the best therapy dogs are born with strong qualities of empathy and calmness. Labradors, Golden Retrievers and Corgis are among the most common breeds used in therapy sessions because they are particularly receptive to training.