Now in its fifth year, this week we celebrate National Boarding Week – a week of fun activities designed to celebrate and promote boarding school and communities around the world. This year’s celebrations will focus on the importance of health and wellbeing.

I have heard many times that the mental health of young people in boarding schools is under more pressure than day schools; this presumption is made as children are away from home and feeling a lot of pressure to do well inside and outside the classroom. There are many reasons why a good boarding school environment today is positive for the mental health of young people, with schools looking at innovative groundbreaking interventions and practices that prioritise their pupils mental health.

Research has shown that therapy dogs in an educational environment can reduce stress and anxiety and help provide a sense of connection in difficult situations. The human-animal bond is a unique and dynamic relationship between people and animals that is influenced by behaviours considered essential to the mental health and emotional wellbeing of both human and animal. It is proven that utilising this special bond in the right way within educational environments can significantly benefit students who may be struggling with a range of mental and emotional challenges – especially in a boarding environment and away from their families or usual support system.

The Canine Assisted Wellbeing Group delivers a range of interventions to boarding schools across the UK delivering specialist interventions and training in-house teams as affiliate members.

The unique human-animal bond utilised buy our assistance dogs and practitioners can help to:
Create a homely environment
Reduce the feeling of being homesick
Reduce anxieties and worries
Create a relaxed environment to promote conversation
Improve motivation
Improve overall emotional wellbeing
Reduce stress around exams
Help to ease transitions.

The positive effects of having dogs in boarding schools is clear to see; children are visibly more relaxed around the dogs and are able to open up about their emotions. This has shown to enhance their emotional wellbeing ensuring their experiences at boarding school are happy and productive.