Date Approved

6-13-2017

Embargo Period

6-14-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

MA School Psychology

Department

Psychology

College

College of Science & Mathematics

First Advisor

DiHoff, Roberta

Subject(s)

Psychiatric service dogs; Stress in children

Disciplines

School Psychology

Abstract

Having a dog in school can seem exciting for many students, but can these furry companions actually help students attain higher levels of academic success? The benefits of therapy dogs in an educational setting can be seen in many research studies. Dogs in the classroom can be used to calm fears, relieve anxiety, and teach skills to students (Lessons Learned from Dogs in the Classroom, 1996). Even though there is much evidence of the positive benefits of therapy dogs in a school, many schools still choose not to have therapy dog programs. This thesis looks at the benefits of therapy dogs as well as the risks of having them in a school. I created a short survey that could be answered by whoever has the most involvement with the dog therapy program in school, which can help provide answers to the positives and negatives of the dogs. Preliminary data from the ten different school districts surveyed will be discussed. My thesis will help provide evidence if the dogs actually do help students achieve better academically and assess the risks of having a dog in a school can bring.

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