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School Dog Training Programme

The CAL school dog training programme is designed for educational establishments that would like one of their members of staff to work with their own dog to become and become an effective canine assisted intervention team.

The benefits of the human-animal bond are vast and we are seeing more and more positive success stories from schools, organisations and individuals working together with dogs that we have helped train and support.

 CAL School Dog Training – Setting your school dog up for success.

Our ongoing training programme for schools provides a safe and effective means for animal assisted interventions in school. The programme not only focuses on the training of the dog but of the school handler too.  This ensures all necessary health and safety considerations are met: this includes understanding of complex canine behaviour in a learning environment, safe and effective implementation of interventions and crucially,  the welfare and safety of the dog, children and everyone involved with the programme.

The programme is tailored to the requirements of each individual team and school. Before any training begins there is a detailed assessment to understand the suitability of the dog for the programme.  

Once successful, the dog will take part in stage one of the programme –  a five stage course Introduction to Animal Assisted Intervention in Education which will take place for two intervention handlers and two support handlers.

A bespoke package will be put together for the school based on their requirements and objectives.  Stage two of the programme includes ongoing support and guidance from implementation of the programme to managing the dog’s timetable and workload along with specialist resource support and training.

We carry out termly visits to observe and review how the programme is working to ensure good practice and effective performance.  We provide feedback at each visit along with recommendations for further training, skills and strategies for both the key handler and the dog to ensure continuous improvement for the success of the programme and a positive impact within the school.

In addition to the above, the affiliate programme also includes a certificate once stage one of the programme is complete, a school dog jacket and school dog public liability insurance and all set up materials.

Over the years we have extended this service to include a similar set-up in care homes, mental health settings and for individuals – most commonly counsellors/mental health practitioners who would like to involve a dog in their own personal practice and work.

We are also able to offer an international training package for training and support in any of these areas across a range of countries.

Dogs in Boarding Houses

We are aware that the mental health of young people in boarding schools can be under more pressure than day schools;  this presumption is made based on children being away from home and feeling a lot of pressure to do well inside and outside the classroom. There are many reasons why a good boarding school environment today is positive for the mental health of young people, with schools looking at innovative groundbreaking interventions and practices that prioritise their pupils mental health.

Research has shown that therapy dogs in an educational environment can reduce stress and anxiety and help provide a sense of connection in difficult situations.  The human-animal bond is a unique and dynamic relationship between people and animals that is influenced by behaviours considered essential to the mental health and emotional wellbeing of both human and animal.  It is proven that utilising this special bond in the right way within educational environments can significantly benefit students who may be struggling with a range of mental and emotional challenges – especially in a boarding environment and away from their families or usual support system.

Canine Assisted Learning delivers a range of interventions to boarding schools across the UK delivering specialist interventions and training in-house teams as affiliate members.

The positive effects of having dogs in boarding houses is clear to see; children are visibly more relaxed around the dogs and are able to open up about their emotions. The unique human-animal bond utilised buy our assistance dogs and practitioners can help to:

  • Create a homely environment

  • Reduce the feeling of being homesick

  • Reduce anxieties and worries

  • Create a relaxed environment to promote conversation

  • Improve motivation

  • Improve overall emotional wellbeing

  • Reduce stress around exams

  • Help to ease transitions  

Dogs in Care Homes

An affiliate dog in a care home environment can prove to be a very positive calming influence and support to residents.  Our Canine Assisted Wellbeing Team always receives a very warm welcome when we visit the homes we work with, and our dogs help lift the spirits and emotional wellbeing of the residents we support.  An in-house dog offers very similar benefits and provides continuous support and encouragement for all residents and staff.

Dog in Private Practices

We are able to offer training and support for individuals wanting to incorporate their own dog as part of their everyday working life and professional services.  This would involve a bespoke package tailored to your specific needs with ongoing support as needed. This can include a wide range of environments such as play therapy, occupational therapy and counsellors.

Dogs for Individuals

Many independent counsellors, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists and mental health practitioners have seen first hand the benefits and value of having a professionally trained dog to support their work.  Having their own affiliate work helps them to establish on-going support to their business and the individuals they work with.   Working with the Canine Assisted Wellbeing Group means they have on-going training and support for their dog ensuring the health and safety of the dog in the working environment and everyone they would come into contact with on a professional basis.

If you would like more information about how to work with the Canine Assisted Wellbeing Group team to have your own affiliate dog please get in touch with us here.