We love working with young people of all ages and abilities—particularly those who have special educational needs and; social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. We are proud to be able to say that we achieve consistent positive results with the people we work with. Here are some examples:

Aiding Attainment in Literacy

Photo of a boy reading with a dog - Results of dogs improving literacy - canineassistedlearning.comWhile our presence in classrooms has a hugely positive general effect, we get some of our most important results when working one-to-one and specifically targeting a pupil’s weaknesses—in particular literacy.

We have seen children who had fallen far behind by previously refusing to engage in reading activities improve by a great degree and—perhaps more importantly—genuinely start to enjoy reading and the world of books. Working to dispel stubbornness and non-compliance, we help young people look forward to reading, to be proud of their achievements and become excited about choosing their next book.

There have been many studies looking into the positive effects that therapy dogs can have on the literacy levels of children and we have seen the results of these for ourselves. We have worked with children of many ages, backgrounds and abilities, and we’re proud to be able to say that all of them have increased their reading accuracy and their reading comprehension ages as a direct consequence of our attendance.

Results of dogs improving literacy - canineassistedlearning.com

 

Improving Overall Academic Achievement

Our presence really can transform a classroom, making otherwise challenging pupils pay attention, focus upon their work or open up about anxieties. Even classes that suffer from considerably disruptive elements can become oases of calm learning with our help. The unique effect that our team has upon pupils is a great boon to their concentration helping them make significant improvements in their academic levels, across the board.

Classrooms that often have violent and aggressive outbursts towards staff members and peers have shown a decrease in outbursts when the school dog is present, therefore helping to provide a positive environment for learning. Animals in the classroom have empirically been proven to enhance humane attitudes toward animals and these more humane attitudes persisted in a one year follow up.
(Ascione & Weber, 1999)

A good example of how our services can make a dramatic difference concerned a very aggressive, verbally abusive child that completely refused to work on a SATs revision paper. Working with our dog closely at their side, this child finally became composed enough to finish their task. We also attended the same child before and after their exam to help them overcome their anxieties and achieve the best outcome they could.

Helping to Develop Social Skills

Photo of a girl reading with a dog - Results of dogs improving literacy - canineassistedlearning.comIn social situations where a young person might be reluctant to participate our dog can act as a bridge, helping to facilitate good communication and interaction.

We have achieved consistent results even with children that are likely to become overwhelmed in social situations and those that have a tendency to run off. For example, before we worked with him, one young person’s anxieties and inappropriate behaviour made even a simple trip to the park impossible. With our help, this child overcame their constraints and improved so much that it meant they could take part in and enjoy such activities regularly. This was a huge achievement for that particular child.

In another case, one child refused to engage in classroom events and would sit under a table every day for hours at a time, often leading to escalation. With the introduction of our team, the child started to interact positively and even began to look forward to coming to school. Eventually, their behaviour improved even when we were not in attendance. Each week, the child was excited and proud to share their recent achievements with our team and we were very happy to be part of their success. Over time this child’s academic progress start so show significant improvement as our team meant they were engaging with and completing the learning tasks asked of them.

Boosting Self-Esteem and Confidence

We have helped many young people increase their confidence and self-esteem. Our therapy dog naturally encourages children and reassures them at times that would usually be difficult or stressful for them. Events such as visiting a busy town centre or meeting with family members when in difficult home situations can become more relaxed with our services.

Many of the young people we work with have problematic issues in their lives and they sometimes find it difficult to talk to and trust adults. Our services provide a unique way for them to open up, to talk about and work through any issues they might be facing. We believe that this is a fantastic and important approach to therapy, and it is one that can achieve outstanding results among some of our society’s most vulnerable members.

We have seen that young people are drawn to our dogs, even pupils we are not due to see often come and seek our teams out during rest periods and breaks so that they can spend time with the dog and open up about issues that may be affecting them. We have a strict safeguarding policy and procedure ensuring any disclosures or sensitive information we are told is handed over to designated people within the school we are working at immediacy.

Teaching Responsibility and Respect

In all aspects of the work we undertake, the young people are taught to respect our dogs and to become used to considering their needs and feelings. We do our best to instil a sense of companionship and care as we feel that, by understanding our dog’s needs, young people can also develop a more empathetic approach to interacting with their peers, family members and other people.

Improve Negative Behaviour

Some of the settings we work in have a high rate of outbursts from the young people which can lead to physical intervention and restraints. On the days that the school dog is in these environments there has been a significant reduction in incidents on the days the dog is in attendance.