Dogs are man’s best friend. Dogs have been living closely with human for centuries. Do dogs help people and can they actually alleviate stress in humans. In my report I will give a show five different examples of dogs who assist people while alleviating the stress in their humans. These dogs are very different and assist their humans in very different ways. I will give evidence to confirm that these creatures alleviate our stress and provide us a better quality of life.
- Police Dogs
Police dogs lower the stress levels of their partners, according to the article “The Role of police dogs as companions and working partners” by Lynette A Hart and R Lee Zasloff. Police officers who work with canines spend time with them on the job as well as when they’re off duty. Police dogs have a close relationship with their partners in crime. Police dogs in California usually live at the officer’s homes as a member of the family. Being so close to their human counterparts, these canines serve as a source of social support and protect against stress and loneliness in the workplace. New guide dog owners experience an increase in confidence and self-esteem. Increased exercise in owners as well as increased psychological and fewer minor health problems was directly related to the adoption of the companion dog, in a study over ten months, compared to those without a dog. Police dogs contribute additional motor and sensory abilities resembling their use by people with disabilities. They are appreciated in their field for offering a source of less than lethal force that may even be more convincing than a weapon. They are effective deterrents as well and very effective for searches. These partners can apparently even enhance the officers perceived ability and capacity to conduct police work. Both Siegal, working with the elderly, and Angelo working with people with AIDS, noted companion dogs can help to buffer stress: in their study, when life stress increases, owning a dog reduces the influence of stressful life events on the human. It’s been documented that officers with police partners exercise more routinely. Police have a very stressful job and having a companion was found to minimize work stress. Police dog teams are being integrated into many community policing programs within the United States. These friends of ours not only reduce our stress but work directly alongside of us professionally.
- Chemical Detector Dogs
According to an article on Science direct.com by Kenneth G Furton, Dogs can also be used to detect chemicals for government agencies, such as explosives and drugs. Based on tomb evidence, the use of dogs as chemical detectors goes back to their use as hunting dogs twelve thousand years ago. Dog handler teams have been used exclusively by the military to locate explosives; this has been going on since world war two. The civilian use of dogs began with tracking individuals and locating drugs and bombs. This civilian use has expanded to include detection of guns, contraband food, gold ore, pipeline leaks, melanomas, brown tree snakes, and the use in the dog scent lineup for forensic evidence. Accelerate detector dogs, dogs trained to detect flammable and ignitable liquid residues, have become widely utilized in the last ten years and their alerts have been proven reliable to be administered as evidence. Using dogs for search and rescue has now become widespread and routine, this also includes such things as termite infestation inspection, screw worm detection, and finding the last missing person after the world trade center bombing. Narcotic detector dog studies have shown that dogs likely use volatile odor chemicals associated with drugs rather than the drug itself. In the case of cocaine, Methyl Benzoate, a cocaine decomposition product, was found to be what the trained narcotics detector dogs detect. One of the advantages of detector dogs is the speed of detection which is significantly faster than instrumental methods. These dogs are not only saving and improving the lives of their owners but society as well. We are safer after a detector dog has done his job. They not only alleviate the stress of the humans they are around every day but society can feel a little less stressed knowing we can count on these animals.
- Therapy dogs
According to an article on science direct.com by Andres Hoffman, Companion animals may serve to lower levels of stress and anxiety in clinically depressed patients in inpatient settings. Studies done between dogs and depressed patients in an impatient setting yielded very interesting results. Several authors noticed lower blood pressure in patients when a companion animal is present during stressful activity. Stress parameters such as cortisol has been shown to decrease after a fifteen-minute dog interaction. More drastically the patients waiting for electroconvulsive therapy were found to have a significant reduction in fear after spending only fifteen minutes with a therapy dog. A study conducted in an acute psychiatric facility setting found significant reductions in anxiety after thirty minutes with a therapy dog. Moreover, in adults using wheelchairs, implantation of a service dog has shown to decrease depressive symptoms. Studies supporting the benefits of companion animals have emerged which mostly focused on cardiovascular studies. For this reason, Dopamine, Cortisol, pulse, and blood pressure have been measured over time to change after only fifteen minutes of dog interaction. These findings are not only highly significant statistically but also very significant clinically. These therapy dogs are proven to improve the health of the people they interact with. These dogs relieve stress, anxiety, depressive symptoms, and fear while simultaneously improving the medical status of the human they serve.
- Seizure Alert dogs
It has been recently documented that dogs have a remarkable ability to anticipate human seizures According to the article “Seizure-alerting and response behaviors in dogs living with epileptic children” by Adam Kirton. Evidence suggests that some dogs can be trained to anticipate seizures and that owning one of these seizure-alerting dogs (SAD’s) may actually reduce seizure frequency. In dogs living with epileptic patients, seizure alerting behavior may develop spontaneously. In studies regarding dogs living with epileptic children the accuracy of alerting behaviors was high and anticipatory behaviors were never demonstrated without a subsequent seizure. They protected their kids. “A Sheltie Spitz cross would forcibly sit on her toddler and not allow her to stand prior to a drop attack. An Akita would push her young girl away from the stairs fifteen minutes before a convulsion. A Golden Retriever could anticipate nocturnal events from sleep by up to twenty minutes. A Rot Rottweiler would lick his toddler’s feet with absence seizures but forcibly position himself on either side before a drop attack. A Great Pyrenees would attach itself to its three-year-old at the exclusion of all else, including eating and drinking, hours before she had a generalized convulsion”. These are all instances where dogs anticipated the seizure but also protected the child they were with. Owners of seizure sensitive dogs have even reported that licking may stop or even prevent their seizure. Lab results argue that not only is it safe to own a seizure-sensitive dog, but that such a dog may even improve quality of life.
According to an article found in Harvard Health Publishing by Christine Junge and Ann MacDonald, there is a new therapist who is available in the library to be checked out, a four year old Shih-Tzu named Cooper. Cooper has his own office equipped with a couch, water bowl, and toys. Cooper works with “Caring Canines”, a nonprofit therapy dog organization, when he’s not at Harvard, that’s where he received his training. This is not just a shaggy dog tale, studies that go back to the early 1980’s support the idea that dogs have huge health benefits for people. Pets have been shown to improve recovery from heart disease, lower blood pressure, even reduce rates of allergies and asthma in children. Pets also improve self-esteem and psychological well-being. Dr. Francisco explains that Cooper is on duty to help students, staff, and faculty members who need a little stress relief. Employees at Harvard can spend up to thirty minutes at a time with Cooper by showing their I.D. at the desk. Visitors at the library check Cooper out the same way they do a book, except that he stays in the area all the time. Cooper even has his own entry in the library catalogue; he is categorized as an anti depressive agent and an anti-anxiety agent. Yale Law School was the first to come up with the idea for a library based therapy dog.
Dogs are amazing creatures. Not only do we believe so emotionally but science backs it up. These companions go to work with us, assist the clinically depressed, anticipate and protect from seizures, and locate drugs and explosives, all while alleviating stress. Dogs are a fascinating species. They respond to human emotion and facial cues, but we react to them too, not just with the love we feel but Medically and professionally. This species is not only fun and loving to be around but necessary to make human life better.
Furton, Kenneth G., and Lawrence J Myers. “The scientific foundation and efficiency of the use of canines as chemical detectors for explosives.” Talanta 54.3 (2001): 487-500. Accessed 20 July 2019.
This article gives examples dog’s abilities to detect Explosives. It also gives other examples of these abilities such as detecting drugs and bombs. This shows that dogs have been working closely with the military. This article is from Science direct, a scientific Journal therefore it is reliable.
Hart, Lynette A., R. Lee Zasloff. “The role of police dogs as companions and working partners.” Psychological Reports 2000, 86, 190-202. Accessed 20 July 2019.
This article talks about the close-knit relationship between cops and their canine partners. It mentions having a canine partner can encourage regular exercise thus minimizing work burnout. It also mentions the dogs offer a sense of less than lethal force which is often better than using a gun. This article is from psychological Reports, psychology is scientific and reliable.
Hoffman, Andreas OM et al. “Dog-assisted intervention significantly reduces anxiety in hospitalized patients with major depression.” European Journal of Integrative medicine 1.3 (2009): 145-148. Accessed 20 July 2019. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1876382009000419
This article mentions studies done on dogs spending time with depressed patients in an inpatient setting. It mentions the patients stress was reduced after spending time with the dog. The health of the patient improved after the interaction with the dog. This article is from Science direct, a scientific Journal therefore it is reliable.
Junge, Christine, Ann Macdonald, Eds. “Therapy dogs offer stress relief at work”. Harvard Health Publishing. Harvard University, 29 Oct. 2015 Web. Accessed 27 July 2019. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/therapy-dog-offers-stress-relief-at-work-201107223111
Harvard offers a therapy dog who is available for checkout in the library. People can spend up to thirty minutes with the Shih-Tzu named Cooper. Cooper is available to students as well as the staff. This website was inside a Harvard Publishing article, I consider Harvard University to be reliable.
Kirton, Adam, et al. “Seizure-alerting and-response behaviors in dogs living with epileptic children.” Neurology 62.12 (2004): 2303-2305. Accessed 20 July 2019. Accessed 20 July 2019.
This article talks about the amazing ability of dogs to anticipate seizures in children. It mentions that not only do they anticipate the seizure, they pin the child down depending on the type. This article mentions that licking prior to a seizure may even prevent it from taking place. This study was done by Medical Doctors, this article was found in a neurology Journal. Neurology is Scientific.