Readers Comments

We are very interested in hearing about your experiences and views on dogs in the classrooms. If you have any comments, anecdotes, or questions please post these in this page.

5 Replies to “Readers Comments”

  1. I am a a member of a pastoral team based in a primary school also a Thrive practioner. I work with pupils ranging from 4yrs -11yrs. For the last 4yrs I have been involved with the charity dogs helping kids based in North Devon. Currently a member of DHK and her dog a Labradoodle come into school once a week and work with a group of around 6-8 children. I can not express in words how amazing this has been and the difference Teazel the Labradoodle has made to the whole school. Dogs helping kids use highly trained dogs and all dogs are assessed regularly by qualified dog trainers. Any dog that becomes an officilal DHK dog has spent 18/24 months in training and has to pass many assessments. Teazel works with children who have behavioural issues also children who lack in confidence and self-esteem or children who may have social and emotional difficulties.
    What have we seen- motivated children, improved behaviours, self-esteem and confidence grown, a calming affect, keen and eager children who are now focused and enthusiastic about attending school. Speech and language improvement, knowledge and understanding of all living things. Improvement with reading abilities. Parents linking theiir childs improvement in learning with working alongside Teazel. I could go on and on. Teazel makes you smile and when the children see her they instantly beam, she and her owner Gail are a very important part of our school and the work achieved so far has been astonishing. On a daily basis I work alongside children who have many issues it could be behavioural or emotional and at times these children can be quite distressed but bring in Teazel and you see an instant change in their face in their emotions and how they act. The dogs have an awesome calming effect and really make the kids feel great.
    Four years on and I now have my own dog Honey a Goldendoodle, she comes into work with me three times a week. Our school saw the impact Teazel being in the school for just an hour a week had and we decided that we could offer more intervention to more children having a dog who attends school more often. Honey is currently doing her training with DHK so does not work in group sessions as yet but works with me on a 1-1 basis. Honey has been in school since she was 4months old so has grown up with the children and as the school as her secound home. She is now 14months old and has passed all training to date.

  2. My name is Lucia and I am the SENCo at Kirkstone House Junior School in LIncolnshire. At present we do not offer animal therapy or animal care courses in school, however I do bring my dogs into school to see the pupils. They are standard size long-haired Chihuahuas – Rufus and Milo.

    I have noticed that one child in particular who has severe difficulties with self-regulation of emotions can remain calm and peaceful when Rufus sits on her lap. Another child has a speech impediment and is reluctant to read aloud. I asked to read to Milo last week and she appeared less self-conscious.

    We have a high number of children in school with ASD and I have decided to informally introduce the dogs (on the curriculum) on a weekly basis and start a new reading programme to see if our slower readers become more fluent.

  3. I am the Lead Teacher at Hope House, a school for children and young people with autism. Last summer we opened our Animal Unit where we provide animal care courses and animal therapies for our students. We recently began trialing ‘reading to dogs’, which has been extremely successful with students of all ages.
    One 15 year old boy, who refused to engage with books, now reads regularly to Honey, our resident Labrador. He often reads for 40 minutes at a time and his confidence, fluency and enthusiasm for books has improved dramatically. He also has the benefit of extra sensory feedback therapy as the dog insists on draping herself over the boy’s legs as he reads!
    Most of our students, who can display very challenging behaviour, spend their transition time at the start of each day in the Animal Unit where they feed, muck out , groom, or sometimes just sit and interact with a dog. The routines and interactions lead to a very calm, ordered start to their school day. If a student becomes anxious or has a behavioural ‘wobble’, then we often use the Animal Unit as a distraction. After spending some time stroking a guinea pig or grooming a donkey, their anxiety levels reduce and they are able then to carry on with their learning.
    Our Animal Unit has made a major impact on the lives and learning of many of our students, a fact that was recognised and praised by OFSTED!

  4. Poppet a labradoodle has been coming into our school since she was 6 months old. She is a friendly face for all the students, inspiration for others and a calming influence for some with behavioral challenges. Poppet also works as an effective distraction with pupils not realising activities around her is often also work!

  5. We have had ‘Poppet’, a labradooddle coming to into school everyday since she was 6 months old. She is a friendly face for all the students and provides inspiration for some and a calming influence for others with behavioral challenges. Poppet also works as a distraction so many pupils do not realise activities around Poppet is work!

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