There has been an incredible amount of interest in dogs in schools following the below and other similar articles discussing the benefits of ‘well-being dogs’ in schools.
Sir Anthony Seldon has recently stated at a conference about the need to improve young people’s sense of wellbeing that “Every school should have a dog or another pet to reduce stress in the classroom”
We fully support Sir Anthony Seldons’ comment that “The quickest and biggest hit that we can make to improve mental health in our schools and to make them feel safe for children, is to have at least one dog in every single school in the country,” However this needs to be done in a safe and regulated way. School assistance dogs are trained for the job from a young age, there is a huge difference between them and a pet dog.
We recognise that many schools are reaping the benefits of having a canine companion on site and that it has made an enormous impact on both staff and students well being, dogs can have an incredible impact on young peoples emotional wellbeing and academic achievements however having a dog in school needs to be done correctly and cautiously taking in to consideration all aspects of health and safety of the school dog and pupils
Canine Assisted Learning are at the forefront of this new wave of support in schools providing a training programme for a school dog and handler team which enables them to deliver safe and effective animal assisted interventions keeping everybody involved safe. A dogs well-being is at the core of our ethos, if a dog is unhappy or stressed it has the possibility to react in a way that perhaps isn’t usually a behaviour trait seen which could have devastating consequences.
Canine Assisted Learning provide ongoing onsite training for schools that would like to work with dogs. Our affiliate programme allows schools to bring their own dog onsite and provides specific training in dog safety, dog handling and dog behaviours. We also support staff in utilising the canine human bond so that everyone is able to gain the maximum benefits from this therapeutic intervention in a safe and effective way.
In answer to the question should all schools have a dog as a stress buster the answer is YES but in a safe and regulated way.
If you would like to find out more about how CAL can help set up a safe school dog programme please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Nici Maxwell and Victoria Plumer