Canine cuddles: Swiss university introduces campus dogs for stress relief

Canine cuddles: Swiss university introduces campus dogs for stress relief

Attending lectures and writing exams is always a stressful part of studying at university. To combat this, specially trained social support dogs have been introduced at the University of Fribourg to promote the well-being of students, lecturers and other employees. 

University of Fribourg offers cuddle sessions with dogs

Since the beginning of March, two dogs named Guccy and Yoma have been available for some furry hugs and stress relief at the University of Fribourg. The Bichon Frisé and St. Bernard are specially trained social support dogs that are accustomed to intensive human contact.

As part of the pilot phase, the pooches are available for 30 minutes a day in rooms specially prepared for cuddle sessions. Only up to eight people are allowed to interact with the campus dogs at a time, so as not to overwhelm them.

Four-legged friends have a positive impact on students

“Surveys among students showed that they had difficulties with stress and dealing with the pandemic, and so we thought about what measures we could implement,” said Fribourg University Rector Katharina Fromm to 20 Minuten. Past studies have proven that the calming presence of therapeutic dogs has a positive impact on students before writing an exam. 

The hope is that four-legged friends will do the same for those at the University of Fribourg, while also increasing self-confidence and promoting conversations and interactions between individuals. Since the project started, several students have had cuddle sessions with Yoma and Guccy, and according to Fromm, the feedback has been great so far. 

Simone Jacobs


Simone Jacobs

Editor for the Netherlands at IamExpat Media. Simone studied Genetics and Zoology at the Univeristy of Pretoria in South Africa before moving to the Netherlands, where she has been working...

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