In part 1 of this series highlighting the amazing benefits of growing up with a dog, I shared with you a litany of health and psycho-emotional benefits reaped by children who grow up with a loving family dog. But that’s far from a complete list of boons bestowed by man’s best friend.
Growing Up with a Dog Help Disabled and Behaviorally Challenged Children
The fact is that kids with disabilities and behavioral problems stand to gain a whole range of additional benefits from growing up with a dog. For instance, studies have shown that with proper supervision and management dogs can help soothe hyperactive and overly aggressive kids.
They can also help kids with learning disabilities in a number of ways. By providing an outlet for play and exercise a dog can help a child stay alert and focused throughout the day.
Not only that, but simply by exerting a calm and soothing presence dogs can often help such children learn how to calm themselves, helping them to better deal with the ups and downs of their disorder.
So-called “reading dogs” are a perfect example. They help kids with reading disabilities make progress by offering a non-judgmental ear for the struggling child.
Even with severe disorders like autism dogs can help by providing a soft, fuzzy, living bridge to the wider world.
After all, since autistic children often rely on nonverbal cues to communicate – just as dogs do – learning to connect with one can help the child to make more sense out of her relationship with people.
In short, the list of benefits is long. And it does not end with the child.
Binding the Fabric of Family Harmony
As if all this weren’t enough to get you excited about having raising your child with a dog as a sibling, there’s more.
Studies have also shown that dog ownership has a long list of wholesome effects on overall family harmony. It turns out that families with pets tend to spend more time hanging out with each other as they have an ongoing source of fun activities enjoyable by all.
Not only that, having a dog also provides a wide range of opportunities for conversations about a host of important life topics.
Even Adults Reap Special Rewards
Adults themselves are not left out of this trove of benefits. Aside from the obvious blessings of a richer family life, friendship with a dog can also lower cholesterol, blood pressure, as well as stress and tension, resulting in a significantly reduced risk of heart disease.
And for those struggling with PTSD, whatever its source, an avalanche of new studies unequivocally demonstrate a dramatic reduction in depression, nightmares and the litany of related symptoms that makes PTSD so stubbornly resistant to conventional treatment.
Bottom Line – Your Doggie is Worth the Effort
Given this astounding array of benefits it seems more than a little worthwhile to ensure that you adequately prepare your dog for your child’s arrival. Not only will your dog not be at risk of losing her beloved home, she will also be in a position to share the bounty of her blessings with you.
Want to learn more about preparing your dog for the arrival of your baby? Check out my book: Good Dog, Happy Baby