Frolic – Why Kids Need Dogs
Frolic - Why Kids Need Dogs
By Mary McGranahan, Biscuits & Bath Intern
Have you ever been stopped by a kid on the street while walking your dog? Has your dog ever scared a kid by jumping on them to play? Both high energy and friendly, dogs and kids are a perfect match. Here are some reasons why children should experience dogs in their life.
Children are going to run into dogs their whole lives, especially children who are living in New York City. It is important for them to know how to approach dogs or react when they are approached by them. If they learn to read the nonverbal cues a dog gives, they will be able to tell which dogs are safe to pet and which dogs are best left alone. They will also know how to control their actions around dogs. Sometimes excited movements and affectionate gestures, such as hugging, that are natural to a child, may frighten a dog and cause them to lash out. Children who know how to properly greet dogs will be opening their world to many happy new encounters.
Dogs are great at giving unconditional love and encouragement. Children benefit from the nonjudgmental nature of a dog’s love. It boosts their self-esteem. Studies have found that children who have trouble reading or verbally communicating will talk and read to dogs. They know dogs cannot understand if they make a mistake so they feel comfortable around them. Children also gain confidence from being made responsible for the care of a dog. Even completing the smallest task, such as filling the dog’s water bowl, makes a child feel accomplished.
A child gains leadership skills through teaching a dog. The child has to give the dog commands. The child also learns how to say yes and no to the dog. In leading a dog, the child is gaining confidence in their ability to lead others.
Having a dog can help a kid come out of their shell. People like to approach dogs on the street and dogs like to say hello to new people. A kid will learn how to socialize as he or she is doing the same for the dog. This is especially evident in kids with Autism, who are more likely to introduce themselves and respond to questions when they have spent time with a dog.
Empathy and Compassion
Children learn empathy and compassion through interacting with animals. Dogs are reliant on the help of humans to meet their needs. Through feeding, bathing, and walking a dog a child is learning to take care of others. In return for their care the dog gives them love and companionship. This teaches them that, not only is caring for others right, it is also rewarding.
The simple fact is, dogs make kids happy! When a kid interacts with a dog their brain releases serotonin and dopamine, both chemicals that make you happy. Blood pressure drops as well. When a child plays with a dog they are getting exercise and all the good endorphins that come from it. Dogs are therapeutic for kids who have PTSD, OCD, anxiety, fears, and developmental delays. They are used in hospitals and on college campuses to help students deal with grief and anxiety.
Children who have spent time around dogs will feel safe and be more empathetic, confident, and happy. To learn more about how you can give your child and their friends great experiences with dogs check out frolickids.com, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 212-401-3015.