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Pets with benefits: petting dogs is a stress-buster and improves thinking

Pet your stress away! For college students under pressure, spending time petting a therapy dog can work as the best stress-buster.The study was published in AERA Open, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association. According to the new Washington State University research, programs exclusively focused on petting therapy dogs improved stressed-out students’ thinking and planning skills more effectively than programs that included traditional stress-management information. The study demonstrated that stressed students still exhibited these cognitive skills improvements up to six weeks after completion of the four-week-long program. “It’s a really powerful finding,” said Patricia Pendry, associate professor in WSU’s Department of Human Development. “Universities are doing a lot of great work trying to help students succeed academically, especially those who may be at risk due to a history of mental health issues or academic and learning issues. This …

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