The therapy dogs in this video are helping children improve reading skills. Their names are Scarlet and Sailor. Both are therapy dogs. Sailor started his therapy dog training when he was 18 months old. It took 12 weeks.
The first practice was visiting a nursing home. Visits provide dogs in training to become acquainted with a variety of sights, smells, experience. At the end of the 12 weeks, the dogs are evaluated.
Then once a year, the therapy dogs are re-evaluated to ensure they are still interested in the work they are matched with. Some of the handlers may not pick up signals that perhaps their dog is not as interested in the activity as they used to.
The training emphasizes that the dog chooses what they are interested in. Scarlet and Sailor happen to love children. That’s why they are matched with the program to help children improve their reading skills.
How therapy dogs help children improve reading
When children need help with reading, depending on how the help is presented, it may or may not add to the confidence of the children. However, if a child is reading to a dog, he automatically feels calmer. Dogs do not correct you. They are just present, happy to have you talk to them.
Anita Stone writes in The Bark that some younger children may think that they are teaching the dog to read, which probably helps them increase confidence. The children think that they are reading for the sake of the dog, and it’s not about themselves. Imagine how this takes all the pressure off of the children.
There is no risk of embarrassing themselves in front of a classroom, no risk of humiliation. As children improves their reading skills, their grades are also positively affected. You can learn more about this program here. You are welcome to share your experience with therapy dogs at the bottom of this page.
If you enjoy this video, here is another video of therapy dogs working at Betty Ford Center.
Article source: Anita Stone in The Bark