Professors like my husband benefit from dog-induced stress relief as much as students do.
Many colleges and universities are experimenting with new ways to ease the stress of exams for their students. The point of such activities as dance breaks in the library and yoga classes late at night is to help students cope with the extreme anxiety of finals. From oxygen bars to simultaneously dropping 10,000 rubber balls from a roof, it seems that no idea is too odd to consider. Things have sure changed a lot since I was in college and our only organized stress relief was the 9 o’clock scream.
I wish that I could have benefited from the technique I consider best of all—bringing in therapeutic dogs. It is well documented that dogs reduce stress and elevate moods, so I love that colleges are recognizing this and using that knowledge to help their students. Students who are away from their own pets as well as those who have never had a dog but always wanted one all benefit from visits by playful, affectionate dogs. Since the only way that university administrators could reduce stress more would be to cancel exams, I applaud their efforts to bring dogs in to help students.
Karen B. London, PhD, is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer whose clinical work over the last 17 years has focused on the evaluation and treatment of serious behavioral problems in dogs, especially aggression. Karen has been writing the behavior column for The Bark since 2012 and wrote The Bark’s training column and various other articles for eight years before that. She is an adjunct professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University, and teaches a tropical field biology course in Costa Rica. Karen writes an animal column, The London Zoo, which appear in The Arizona Daily Sun and is the author of five books on canine training and behavior. She is working on her next book, which she expects to be published in 2017.