We connect wellbeing dogs with communities to improve social and emotional balance.
We are an organisation that helps introduce a wellbeing dog into settings such as schools, hospitals, aged care and justice communities. We work with your community to design long term, sustainable programs to integrate your dog. We aim to achieve as many mental health benefits as possible.
Dogs Connect was first set up in school communities throughout Victoria. We have introduced wellbeing dogs in over 30 schools and all of them have spoken of improved attendance and an openness to learn since their dog joined the community. Students and staff are happier and they have noticed less anxiety among their community.
We are now implementing our world-first wellbeing dog program into other settings such as aged care, hospitals, prisons and emergency services. The wellbeing dogs we work with are selected for each environment. Every program we build is in line with the International Standards for Animal-Assisted Intervention.
We are not a therapy dog program. We aim to create a permanent connection between a community and their wellbeing dog which leads to positive emotional and social impacts. We help communities think differently about how to achieve wellbeing.
How can a wellbeing dog help in my community?
There is increasing evidence about how a well-trained dog can help in a whole range of settings. Scientific evidence shows that being near a dog can reduce stress and anxiety and decrease the heart rate.
For children, animals can help with emotional regulation, social connection and communication. They can help engage students in many curriculum areas by supporting children in feeling less self-conscious than they may feel around teachers and peers.
In adults, dogs can help with trauma, anxiety, the escalation cycle, leadership and communication. They can build empathy, awareness of others and self, increase social regulation and decrease reactivity.
We measure the impact of all our Dogs Connect programs and work closely with LaTrobe University to continually reflect on and refine this process. We use a variety of qualitative and quantitative data to help evolve it for the future.
The benefits of the Dogs Connect program
The Dogs Connect program makes your community feel more supportive, connected, positive, nurturing, and welcoming.
This program merges the instinctive love that people and animals have toward each other, providing comfort in a modern society rife with stress and anxiety.
Disconnect turns into strong connection on many levels. This connection flows through the entire community, not just through direct interaction with the dogs.
We help you find opportunities to enable connection and support in an authentic, mutual way.
We link our programs to strong scientific theory and a wide range of evidence so that personal and professional growth is supported and planned for with confidence and competence.
We offer in-depth opportunities for learning in order to bring social and emotional balance on a whole community level, as well as a personal level.
How the Dogs Connect Program works
Our programs are designed around the needs of each community. We work with you to determine your goals, timeframes and how we are going to measure success.
We can help you with any or all the following:
- Source and supply a suitable dog.
- All legal considerations including best practice/risk assessment documents and how to align with existing policies, missions and vision statements.
- Training your wellbeing dog including working with staff members who will home the dog.
- Communication with the community including initial home surveys, newsletters and social media.
- Community preparation to enable a harmonious introduction for your dog. This can include presentations, staff meetings and discussion forums.
- Working out a timetable so you can ensure all members of the community can spend time with your wellbeing dog.
- Sessions on social and emotional learning to help you learn how to benefit from the connection between your community and your wellbeing dog.