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Dogs in schools

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by hhhh, Aug 24, 2018.

  1. hhhh

    hhhh Lead commenter

    I'm not sure where to post this, but as the person who told me about it was dealing with behaviour issues I'll ask here...

    Apparently schools are now using dogs. Sometimes for behaviour issues, sometimes for children with particular needs, sometimes as 'Literacy' dogs.

    Does anyone use one in their school? Where do they come from each day-is there a designated teacher who has them, or does a specialist worker bring them in?

    Just interested, schools have changed a lot-when I started teaching, things were very different from when I finished, but this sounds like a very positive change. I'm biased as I love dogs though.
    pepper5 likes this.
  2. StarbucksCovfefe

    StarbucksCovfefe Occasional commenter

    The ones I've read about belong to the head teacher!
    hhhh likes this.
  3. hs9981

    hs9981 Established commenter

  4. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi hs9981

    Thank you for the link.

    I have had a quick look on the site and it looks very interesting. I can see how a trained dog in a school would be able to assist with behaviour and literacy.

    I haven't come across any dogs in schools yet, but this will probably increase across the country.
    hhhh likes this.
  5. Skeoch

    Skeoch Lead commenter

    Some cultural sensitivity required on occasion, however. Not all cultures see dogs in that companionable, friendly way: some see them as unclean.
    Vince_Ulam and pepper5 like this.
  6. rustyfeathers

    rustyfeathers Occasional commenter

    Also an issue if any students have allergies (though I love dogs and, if I could, I'd DEFINITELY have a couple come to work with me!)
    hhhh, Vince_Ulam and pepper5 like this.
  7. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    I haven't gone onto the site and read the details, but I can see how dogs could assist in calming children and giving them focus.

    According to one detail I rewd, however, is that each dog is trained for three years for their role.
    hhhh likes this.
  8. install

    install Star commenter

    Great idea. More pets in schools.
    pepper5 and hhhh like this.
  9. hhhh

    hhhh Lead commenter

    They say Apple etc allow pets, so I'd have loved to bring in a dog of my own. Might have lowered blood pressure when dealing with 11C on Friday afternoons.

    But I'd really like to know about so-called 'professional' dogs-I've googled literacy dogs, but does anyone actually use one? How do they actually support reading? Does it work?

    I was hospital visiting a few weeks ago and saw dogs visiting wards-patients were from a variety of backgrounds but they all seemed to love it-I don't know if the dog was one of those 'low allergy' ones you hear about these days, so maybe schools use these, though most police and guide dogs are, as far as I know, not low-allergy breeds and are used by lots of people from all cultures?
    pepper5 likes this.
  10. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi hhhh

    Look at the link on post 3 I.e. about Dogs Helping Kids.

    A lot of what you ask is explained on the site.

    It takes three years to train a dog before it can work in a school so a lot of thinking and hard work goes into it.
  11. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I've heard of literacy dogs, where children read to the dog as they find them less judgemental than a teacher. (Not sure what that says about the teachers in the school, but hey ho!)
    I've also head of ASD schools who use pets to try and promote empathy and calmness.

    But when you write 'behaviour issues' I can't get the image of police gods out of my mind. A sort of 'behave yourself and follow instruction, or I'll release the dog on you!' kind of situation. (I know that's not quite how the police say it, but am not experienced enough in such things.) So kids stop their fight, because a dog has jammed it's jaws around the kid's arm. Or the kid stops scaling the fence to run off because the dog has grabbed said kid's ankle with it's teeth.

    I'm sure it isn't quite what you meant...
    pepper5 and digoryvenn like this.
  12. digoryvenn

    digoryvenn Lead commenter

    What's the point of reading to a dog?! How can a dog correct pronunciation or explain the meaning of a word, sentence etc, or encourage expression!

    "Less judgemental than a teacher", that's so funny caterpillar as dogs can't pass any judgements at all!!

    What about those poor children who are scared of dogs? Their school day would be a misery. I am scared of dogs and would be really uncomfortable in a workplace where there are dogs. Don't tell me I would be able to overcome my fear. So condescending!

    Totally unecessary.

    I recently went to an interview where there was a school dog, it belonged to the HT! It didn't seem to be doing anything at all. There was a notice pinned to a door, it read: 'Please be aware the school dog is about!'

    I hate gimmicks!
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2018
    pepper5 likes this.
  13. hhhh

    hhhh Lead commenter

    Yes, was just wondering if anyone had any real world experience and how it was going. I genuinely appreciate all ideas as I am interested ; I know my post is hardly as important as someone who is still a schoolteacher wanting to know about specific things, but I'm liking all responses as I am grateful for people letting me know about this. Thanks everyone.
    pepper5 likes this.
  14. hhhh

    hhhh Lead commenter

    I hadn't thought of it this way, but there were time in my career where I would have actually liked a dog trained to protect me and from what I've heard, there are now more, not fewer, attacks on teachers. I'm told that when stroppy parents come in for meetings, they are more polite and less aggressive with staff when dogs are in the meeting room. That story is fifth hand though!
    I have heard of sniffer dogs in schools, but again I didn't mean using dogs in this way.
    pepper5 likes this.
  15. hhhh

    hhhh Lead commenter

    I've had dogs who passed judgment-my niece's dog used to growl when she spoke to her mum in a stroppy manner. I think assistance dogs are quite widely used now-an ex-colleague who went back to uni said that some students had assistance dogs in the room in every seminar, plus I worked in an office with a guide dog, so having dogs in workplaces/study places isn't new, the only thing I was wondering is specifically how they're used and how helpful they are.
    pepper5 likes this.
  16. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Not a clue myself...can't get my head round it either, but that's the theory.
    I would have withdrawn immediately. I'm absolutely terrified of the things.
    pepper5 likes this.
  17. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    I haven't read the information on the site Dogs Helping Kids, but the first thing that comes to mind is that of course a dog isn't going to be able to help with pronunciation or to explain meaning of words or context. Perhaps the dog is there simply for company and encouragement for the child and to give the child some self worth or confidence. I would imagine that there an adult present in the sessions as well.

    It is an interesting question on how effective dogs are in schools hhhh. Your question is important - it is interesting to think about. I had never heard of Dogs Helping Kids and I am going back to read their web site later.

    The point I keep thinking about though is the dogs are trained for three years and it is not a case of just showing up with a dog at a school. The dogs probably are selected carefully for temperament and the adults working with them will have had training and of course the children who will be working with the dogs and adults have to be happy doing so and it discussed with parents/carers.

    Not everyone likes dogs and many people are terrified of them as CTB states she is and those views have to respected.

    So much thought would have to be given about the use of literacy dogs in schools and about what objectives could be met with them and how to be sensitive to all needs in the school.

    Perhaps someone with direct experience will be along shortly.
  18. sadscientist

    sadscientist Senior commenter

    Strictly speaking, it is dog saliva that is considered unclean - a reasonable assumption where rabies is endemic. Admittedly many people extend that to the animals themselves.
    pepper5 likes this.
  19. Velvetbexy

    Velvetbexy New commenter

    As someone who has seen teacher colleagues of mine use the reading to dogs idea I can say that for some children, it works. It is based on the idea that the child has less inhibitions when reading to a dog (or another animal if it can sit well). It is also useful for children that find it hard to relate to adults in general (ASD/emotional) etc.

    I think some need to be a little open minded here. As teachers we talk about hooks and ways to get children interested and for some children (not all of course).
    pepper5 and patternandsurface like this.
  20. patternandsurface

    patternandsurface Occasional commenter

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