A Captive Audience — How Audience Dogs Are Calming Nerves and Honing Presentations

guide to dog adoption
guide to dog adoption

Though most people understand the love that people feel for their dogs, they can also help reduce anxiety and help people who are afraid to give a public speech.

They are very calming and can help in high-stress situations. Animal lovers will all tell you how much they love their dogs and how great it is to come home to someone who loves you unconditionally. Because dogs deal with human emotions and conditions so well, they have been used for many years in therapy. Then, someone discovered the power of using dogs as a practice audience and the term audience dog was coined.

How Audience Dogs Are Used

Audience dogs are used in many ways. According to Caron Martinez, the director of the Kogod Center for Business Communications, “being with the audience dog makes you happy and relaxed and you do a better job.” Because of this, many colleges allow their students to practice their speeches in front of a group of dogs before they must go in front of their peers. They can practice over and over until they feel like they are ready and their speech is perfect.

Audience dogs are also helpful in hospitals and courtrooms where the level of stress is very high. Just petting and spending time with some furry friends can help even the most stressed person relax a little bit. For those of us who love dogs, it will bring a smile to your face, no matter how upset we may be.

These dogs can also help greatly with confidence, which is another reason that they are so good at helping with public speaking, as well as with lawyers and doctors who need to appear much more confident than they might feel.

How Do Audience Dogs Help?

So, how exactly can audience dogs help? They are there to provide companionship and unconditional love. Just petting a dog has been to shown to decrease anxiety and promote relaxation. Feeding a dog treats while giving a speech will help to take your mind off of what you are actually doing, no matter how much it scares you.

Dogs are so good at helping with anxiety and depression that they are used a lot with people who struggle with deep depression and even the military uses them with their veterans who come back from war. They have been used in therapy for years because of their calming effect. Taking care of a pet gives many people who struggle with thoughts of suicide a reason to live.

Dogs are also patient and don’t mind listening to the same speech over and over while you practice. They are perceptive with, not only what you are saying, but how you are saying it. They are really good at reading body language which can be helpful as you practice your speech.

Though audience dogs don’t need any training, certain dogs do better at the job than others. Martinez says, “we’re looking for dogs who are very secure, who are loving, who will maintain eye contact.” The dogs are given treats and plenty of attention for their work, though there are times that they struggle to sit still and listen. Even so, their very presence can be quite calming for a nervous speaker or doctor who is struggling with their case.

Audience dogs are becoming very popular. Just like dogs have always been used in therapy, they can really help students and people struggling with a lot of stress. Nothing can make a person feel better than a fluffy puppy to hold and cuddle! If you are struggling with stress or even anxiety over public speaking or your job, you may want to look into audience dogs.


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