Can A Pet Dog Help A Child With ADHD?
ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It affects millions of children all over the world and can continue into adulthood. It tends to run in families and is the most commonly diagnosed mental disorder in children. Children with ADHD have trouble controlling their impulses. They have trouble concentrating at home or at school and may be hyperactive. it is more common in boys than girls.
The symptoms of ADHD in children can be grouped into 3 categories Which are hyperactivity, impulsivity and Inattention.
There is no cure for ADHD but the condition can be managed. One of the ways of managing it is with an emotional support animal. Research shows that having a pet can be extremely helpful for children who suffer with the condition.
How Emotional Support Dogs Help Children With ADHD.
Therapy dogs are trained to play this role with children.
They offer unconditional love - no matter how a child is behaving, the dog will be there to snuggle up and comfort the child.
No matter what has happened, the dog is always ready to move on to the next activity without recrimination.
Caring for a dog can help teach the child responsibility and time management. He will have to plan ahead to make sure the dog is fed and cared for.
Playing with the dog is it great outlet for excess energy. For the first time, the sufferer will have a companion who doesn't get tired of a game before he does.
Stroking a dog can reduce feelings of anxiety or stress.
Dogs can make it easier to socialise. They attract attention and this sometimes leads to further interaction such as starting a conversation.
One of the symptoms of ADHD is a lack of empathy. Spending time with and caring for a dog will help the sufferer develop empathy
Preparing For The Arrival Of The Emotional Support Dog
The dog can bring enormous benefits for the child. But the dog is still a dog and will have needs of its own. Someone will need to take responsibility to make sure the dog is regularly fed and watered and gets the other care it will need.
The relationship will have a greater chance of success if adequate preparation is made for the dog’s arrival.
Many kids become excited at the prospect of owning a dog. They are thrilled for the first few days but may quickly lose interest when the reality of caring for and cleaning up after a dog sinks in.
This is especially true for kids with ADHD.
The dog project needs to be carefully planned and it's a good idea to include the child in the planning process.
A list should be made of all the accessories which will be needed for the dog’s welfare. Your child should help decide where they are going to be stored and whose responsibility it will be to use them. A list of the chores associated with the dog should be made and the individual tasks allocated.
You need to understand that you are the backup plan for these chores if your child doesn't carry them out.
Your child may be adamant that he will take complete care of the dog, but his focus may let him down.
Are Some Breeds Better For This Role Than Others?
The temperament of the individual dog is more important than the breed. Obviously, you shouldn't choose a small delicate dog but the dog’s character and personality are the most important factor.
Check the animal shelters in your area for a suitable dog. There might be an opportunity do spend a significant amount of time with the dog before you bring him home. You will have a chance to see how the child and the dog get along together.
A pet dog may not be the best choice for a child with severe impulse control issues. Children who are aggressive or who could hurt a pet without really meaning to are also not suitable call for this method of assistance.
If you are considering this course of action discuss it with a professional ahead of time.