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Therapy dogs can reduce students stress during exams

We often think of stress as something negative and 'stressful,' but stress can also be positive and provide us with increased motivation and concentration. During exam periods, students can benefit from positive stress, but prolonged negative and excessive stress levels can have an inhibiting effect on performance, both during exams and in the preparations leading up to them. The fact that therapy dogs reduce students stress during exams has been confirmed by the students themselves.

stress during exams

How can dogs help students achieve healthy stress levels? Therapy dogs or exam dogs don't possess a magic wands, but by being present during the exam period, these dogs can have a stress-reducing effect on students, both during exam preparation and right before an exam. Just 10 minutes of interaction with a therapy dog significantly reduces stress levels and improvs the students mood. Enhancing mood, in combination with reduced stress, can have a significant impact on the students and their performance during or before exams.

The effect of interacting with a therapy dog isn't everlasting, but it can have a lasting positive influence on a person for several hours. This means that by interacting with a therapy dog at the right time during the exam period, it can contribute to increased motivation and concentration in the lead-up to the exam, as well as during the actual exam.

therapy dog reduces stress

But can any dog have a positive effect?

The choice of the right dog and the proper setup of the interventions are crucial. How the dog behaves towards the students, how the interaction is facilitated, in what environment, with how many students in a group, time limitations for the dog, and more, will all affect the impact of the interaction. A dog that displays signs of negative stress, avoiding social contact and only tolerating it, will be perceived negatively by the students. A calm dog that seeks contact and clearly shows an appreciation for the students will have an increased positive influence. Therefore, it is important to have the right expertise when working with animal-assisted interventions.

Dog showing signs negative stress

How to prevent a dog from showing signs of negative stress?

The dog must undergo a mental test or suitability assessment by a professional with expertise and education in behavioral biology. Additionally, the dog must be well-trained to understand what is expected of it. The owner and the dog have to practice a routine for such visits where the situation is predictable for the dog. Even dogs that enjoy social contact with humans can experience negative stress in the form of frustration, caused by anticipation and overstimulation due to the environment. The owner must be trained to read the dog's signals and subtle signs of stress to take appropriate actions with the dog while avoiding any negative impact on the intervention.


Visiting team dogs

For you who want to work with your dog and do not have a profession in education or the healthcare sector. Visiting dogs work both on a voluntary basis and with paid assignments.

school dog and therapy dog course

For you who have a profession in education or the healthcare sector and want to implement your dog in your work.

suitability assessment of dogs

Before you start your education, your dog needs to undergo a suitability assessment to determine

if it will thrive and has the right qualities to work as a visiting, school, or therapy dog.


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