What to Read Next

Dogs help schools lick bullying problem

Cynthia Ross Cravit
November 3, 2011

We hear about it all too often: The damaging -- and sometimes tragic -- consequences of bullying. Read how some experts are using canines to teach compassion.

Dogs can make us happier and healthier. Beyond the joy of companionship, studies have shown that dog ownership is associated with lower stress, blood pressure and cholesterol. Owning a pouch also helps to prevent illness — and when you do become ill, helps you to recover more quickly.

On top of all that, dogs can sniff out cancer and warn of heart attack, epileptic seizures and hypoglycemia.

So when it comes to the battling the bullying epidemic in our schools, who else to call in but our best friend? Dogs are already being used in the classroom to give assistance to children with autism, for instance, and to help with reading and writing programs. And now, in some North American schools, canines are being called in to teach compassion and social responsibility.

An example. In a program called “No More Bullies” volunteers accompanied by trained dogs teach kids about fairness and empathy. “The animals are the glue that helps the children stay focused and understand the message,” Jo Dean Hearn, an ex-teacher who developed the program, told USA TODAY. “Children can easily identify with an animal. And it’s easy for them to transition when we ask them to consider how an animal feels (if ill-treated) to how the kid sitting near them feels (if poorly treated).”

Pooches and peer pressure


“No More Bullies” is just one of several dog-centered programs being used to help create a kinder and more supportive school climate — which, experts say, goes a long way in preventing, and stopping, bullying. Last year, for example, the Yale University School of the 21st Century and the Pet Savers Foundation launched a program called Mutt-i-grees to help kids learn how to be more kind to one another and animals.

Another program, Healing Species, uses rescue dogs to help children and teens recover from abuse and learn self-esteem, empathy, and other fundamental values. Currently, programs that use dogs to teach kindness and integrity are being used in about 900 elementary schools in the U.S.

Watch this clip on how canines can help to reduce stress in the classroom:

READ MORE about how animals can make a difference to our health.
READ MORE about ways to prevent bullying.

Photo ©iStockphoto.com/ Erna Vader

Copyright 2011 All Rights Reserved - ZoomerMedia Inc.

Get vitamins here. Change lives everywhere.

For kids like Rosemary, proper nutrition makes a big difference. See how you can help kids everywhere just by buying your vitamins at Walgreens.

Don't Let Your Bundle Of Joy Cost You A Bundle.

Expenses can add up. Take advantage of a top rated 0% APR credit card and don't pay interest for up to 15 months. Learn more & apply securely here.

A beacon of design.

On set of the Lexus film “Beautiful Contrast” in Paris. Directed by Philip Andelman. Photo by Stephane and Julien.

“I HATE Annuities. And You Should Too.”

If you have a $500,000 portfolio & own an annuity, you have a lot at stake. Download “Annuity Insights” by Forbes columnist Ken Fisher’s firm.

The Payday Loan Killer: Lending Product Solution

$25K for $494/mo, 5 yr repayment,  $0 down payment. Get up to 5 offers in minutes. Quotes are free!

Read This Before You Buy Medigap Plan F

Plan F is the most popular Medicare Supplement plan, but there's another Medigap option you should consider.

Florida Keys Vacations

Official Tourism Site. Escape To The Warmth Of The Florida Keys & Relax

Banks Are Worried Homeowners Will Do This.

Homeowners are surprised and furious. If you owe less than $625,000 on your home, you better read this.

Drive part-time, full-time, or anytime with Uber!

As an Uber independent contractor you can get paid to drive your own car! We connect you with riders, and you work when you want to.

Compare rates. Save big.

We compare rates with those of our competitors, so you don't have to.

Novant Health E-Visits

Have the Doctor at your fingertips. Visit novanthealth.com/evisit.

Did You Know Every New Car Has a Secret Price?

Don't pay MSRP! Save yourself both time & money on your new car purchase. Join 97,000+ others this month and find your lowest price for your new car!

Luxurious, garage townhomes in Old Town Warrenton

Warrenton Crossing features luxurious 3-level and all-brick, 2-car garage townhomes located in Old Town Warrenton. From the upper $200s.

How to Choose the Best Student Loans

The fun of summer vacation is often dampened by thoughts of student loan debts. See which loan is the best for you.