How dogs are acting as athletes’ secret weapon for the Olympics | TeamDogs

How dogs are acting as athletes’ secret weapon for the Olympics

Support dogs are boosting athletes’ emotional well-being

Leila Marshall

Posted 2d ago

(Image: Getty)

By Chloe Bowen

The Olympic Games are upon us. Athletes have been training incredibly hard for this moment and the immense amount of pressure to succeed isn’t easy for anyone. But Allianz support dogs have been supporting their emotional well-being while on this journey. 

A squad of Emotional Support Dogs is being used to boost confidence and physical performance for this year’s Olympic athletes by reducing anxiety and increasing confidence and feelings of well-being. 

Interacting with a therapy dog increases serotonin and dopamine, creating a sense of calm and allowing athletes to focus. 

Therapy dogs offer lots of love and affection which releases oxytocin, amplifying feelings of self-belief while helping to keep loneliness to a minimum. 

Leticia Bufoni is representing Brazil in this year’s Olympics. She has been training in Los Angeles but says with no family around her, she had the fear of being lonely. The adorable dogs have been helping Leticia with her emotional support as she trains in skateboarding. 

She said: “Talking about mental health is hard. I get so nervous before competing – it’s a lot of pressure. 

“When I have a dog, everything goes away. Thinking about the Olympics, the training, the sponsors and medal, everything goes away. I feel so relaxed and I definitely don’t feel lonely.  

“This experience reinforced that I really need to work on my mental health. I realised that as long as my head is in place, everything else works.” 

Other athletes taking on the benefits of emotional support dogs are Vanessa Low and Dashawn Jordan, who speak highly of the idea here

For more information visit Allianz Support Dog Squad and follow @ALLIANZ on Instagram.