Our team at Canine Assisted Learning have hugely positive results reducing anxieties in the young people we work with. Our dogs have a calming presence and can be used as both a distraction and a source of comfort. Alongside our consultants our dogs are able to help support young people develop strategies and manage their anxieties. Creating a therapeutic bond with our dogs has led to many young people to be able to open up, trust others and to make a step to challenge negative thoughts and feelings.
The support that CAL school dogs offer is not limited to just the classroom but extends to helping the young people they work with in social situations including school trips.
The human animal bond helps create a unique bond between the child and dog which can help lower anxieties which in turn can help children in situations they find stressful and overwhelming. During school trips our dogs can be used to help the children reduce their anxiety levels and regulate their emotions.
One teacher tells of how one of our CAL teams helped a child grown in social confidence:
“Josh found going out of the school building a terrifying experience. He would become incredibly anxious, have panic attacks, he would scream, shout and even become violent to avoid any trips out. Through working with Daisy, over time he was able to visit the local shop and even buy some sweets – this is a huge breakthrough for Josh and we are hoping he will be doing more trips next term”
One of the things Josh found difficult about social situations was other members of the public getting too close to him. He described Daisy as his “plough”. Daisy walked next to Josh and people understood that they shouldn’t get too close and quietly moved out of their way. Josh would sometimes get panicky about asking people to move and when he did start feeling his anxiety increase, he would talk to Daisy whilst gently stroking her.