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Welcome to the madhouse! It's a dogs life

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by TeachingBabylon, May 24, 2019.

  1. TeachingBabylon

    TeachingBabylon New commenter

    So, going to use this forum as something of a therapy session, giving an insight into the goings on I witness weekly and always asking the same questions - is it me that's mad or is this all actually quite normal?! Been a while since I experienced 'normal' so just want to check!

    Dogs. Do teachers bring dogs into your school? Like, just pets. Not guides, or specially trained pooches for theraputic reasons. Head has apparently told some staff members who have asked that they can't bring a dog in (these staff did not yet currently have a dog, but were thinking of getting one!) More on HT later, but this to me seems like one of his more sensible decisions. However, one member of staff regularly brings a dog in, and another has just got one, whom now seems to be resident in the classroom daily and is often walked at breaks by pupils, age range 10-12.

    This all seems bonkers to me. Kids who are allergic/afraid should surely not be subject to a dog, on the whim of a staff member who doesn't have a dog-sitter?! It is a workplace.

    I like these people personally by the way, but feel it is a sign of the current climate (shambolic, lacking in leadership etc etc) that usually clear-headed people are losing the plot! And the head either probably hasn't a foggy about it, or is choosing to ignore it. This is more likely though, since he himself walks his own pet round, minus a lead, and has been known to enter the canteen at supper time, faithful friend in tow!

    Or maybe it's just me. Anyway, I feel better after that. Any thoughts greatly appreciated!

    Until the next installment - trust me, I am not short on material!
  2. towncryer

    towncryer Lead commenter

    Nothing wrong with pets in the class in my opinion. My infant head had a lovely golden Labrador which sat patiently by her desk all day, I don't remember being allowed to touch it bit I liked the dog being there.

    Kids should not be afraid of dogs so this is part of their education.Certain cultures believe that dogs are dirty and the kids get all silly when in close proximity to a dog...so a great opportunity to teach that dogs are not in fact dirty and will not harm if treated in the right way,

    Having said that I don't think that a dog should be acquired just for the purposes of being an anti stress school dog. An animal gets stressed in overcrowded situations and it is unfair to bring one in just for the purpose of being petted and played with constantly by the kids. This thing needs monitoring carefully with advice from your local pet rescue so that all can benefit and the welfare of the dog is taken care of.
    agathamorse likes this.
  3. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    How do you know they are not there for therputic reasons? We have had depressed or anxious staff allowed to bring small, quiet dogs to school, at the recommendation of OH
    agathamorse likes this.
  4. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    I wouldn't take any of mine in! I'm a highly experienced dog-owner and also have certificates in canine psychology and obedience-training and there is no way on this earth you can guarantee your dog won't ever bite or scratch anyone. And mine are only small to medium dogs. A big dog can, however unintentionally, do a lot of damage. Even chewing someone's bag.

    When the excrement hits the whirring thing? Whose fault? No chance. The HT will soon backtrack. It's a Health and Safety potential nightmare.

    I love my dogs and wish everyone did but no way would I take them to school. Not unless it was for an animal care lesson and I'd had a risk assessment signed off.
    bevdex, Jamvic, agathamorse and 2 others like this.
  5. Bedlam3

    Bedlam3 Star commenter

    "Supper time"?
    An independent bording school?
  6. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    I dislike dogs and feel that they have no place in schools unless brought in for a special purpose such as an assembly on guide dogs etc. Likewise I would rather go hungry than eat in a restaurant that advertised itself as 'dog friendly'!
    1 person likes this.
  7. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    One of the teachers at my last school brought his dog in. His classroom was adjacent to a field and he built an outside run for the dog. It was never n the building and there were plenty of offers to take it for walks at lunchtime.

    The business manager brought her two in from time to time. They were indoors all the time and frequently escaped from her office. They didn’t discriminate about where they chose for a toilet and I got fed up of negotiating puddles and piles down the corridor to my department.
  8. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    I think any school needs to think things through very carefully, and there should be a risk assessment on record.

    I am allergic to dogs, so whilst I've no objection to well-behaved dogs, I have misgivings about anyone having to be in the same room as a dog. And that shouldn't be "we'll take it out if there's someone with an allergy" - I have always felt awkward about asking, and in the case of children, they may not realise that that's the cause of their headache.
  9. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Post number 4 says it all really. It is a health and safety issue and you can never guarantee the behaviour of any dog.
    Jamvic likes this.
  10. HolyMahogany

    HolyMahogany Occasional commenter

    I am not in favor of dogs in the school - I assume that the owner has insurance to cover any potential injuries and in the event of an incident would pay up without question, and would face appropriate disciplinary action - Injuring a child or colleague = gross misconduct.
    Also that they would not allow the dog into anyone else's classroom with out their permission.
    On the whole dogs are usually as good or bad as their owner. I do a lot of walking and most dogs and their owners are delightful and a pleasure to meet. However I once had to fend of an aggressive dog. The owner expressed their surprise saying she had not expected to meet anyone. I pointed out that it was a public footpath.
    Sometimes the dog is more intelligent than the owner.
    sabrinakat, Jamvic and grumpydogwoman like this.
  11. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    I used to give educational talks for an animal charity. My dog at that time was not kid friendly. Schools were always, always, disappointed when I arrived without a dog.
    I am all for pets in schools. I think properly trained visiting dogs/pets are a must. I have known visits from owls, birds of prey, ferrets and snakes.
    I used to work in an agricultural college where there were horses and dogs trotting around all day. Staff brought their animals to work. I loved it.
    Yet, I'm not sure if teachers should be bringing dogs to school all day, every day. For reasons outlined in post 4.
    If you want to discourage them get them to read this:
  12. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    At a school I visit regularly, there are always a couple of staff dogs around.
    Children walk them at breaks and some children relate better to the dogs than they do people, which helps them cope with school. The school has very large grounds and so some children can have a good half hour walk by themselves with the dog if they need a bit of space. Children who dislike dogs or are afraid of them, never need to have much to do with them, so no problems there.
    Mostly they are senior staff and the dogs spend a fair bit of the day in the staff member's office, but follow them about the school as well, including in to the dining hall.

    It is an independent, but not boarding, school and no one seems to bat an eyelid.

    I think it depends on the dog and the school.
  13. HelenREMfan

    HelenREMfan Star commenter

    What a world we live in. Is it not enough that schools have been encouraged to be soulless 'sausage- machine' (Pink Floyd graphics for The Wall become ever more accurate and relevant as time goes on) Re all these folk who are 'allergic' what do they do when out and dogs are in the vicinity/go to people's houses where dogs might reside etc? I agree that the owner of the dog must have it under control at all times ie not free to roam corridors and 'perform' etc. From the description of dog-friendly schools mentioned above from the care taken I would have no issue whatsoever at having any of those dogs around.
    Schools have been allowed to develop into mini dictator states where people cringe and go around speaking only in hushed tones. Where are the 'maverick' characters that kids used to be taught by and usually remember with great fondness or enthusiasm years later? I bet many modern teachers will not fit that category at all.
    Am sure if a child in a school has such a serious allergy to animals that would cause any serious reaction, then the management would know and then the rest of the kids in that school would miss out on the opportunity having a part-time pet would bring.
  14. TeachingBabylon

    TeachingBabylon New commenter

    Interesting range of views. To add to the post -

    1. Newest addition is a very young puppy, still in training, of all types. Wondered myself about how wise it is for it to be in contact with lots of different, excitable young children on a daily basis.

    2. It's definitely not for theraputic reasons - there just isn't anyone at home during the day to dog-sit.

    3.Whilst being walked by a pupil, it crapped in the playground - you can imagine the hysteria this caused among the 10 year olds on walkies duty!

    4.This is not under the umbrella of any kind of official school move - remember, the HT told other staff members they could not bring a dog in. This owner just didn't ask first.

    5. It has taken to the ankles (in a nippy, nibbly sort of way) of another colleague, who admittedly isn't a dog fan, when she entered the class.

    All in all this is perhaps more common than I thought. What are the "bring your dog to work" numbers like among other professions?
  15. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    The only point that causes any concern at all is your last one. It shouldn't be nipping at anyone's ankles and the owner needs to have a cage or similar to keep the puppy out of the way in lesson time.
    The best way to be able to do anything in teaching. If you ask first, you risk being told no. If you just get on with it, people either turn a blind eye or see the benefits and leave you to it.

    It's clearly something that bothers you though, so maybe raise it in a staff meeting under AOB.
    Though if, as you said in your original post, the head often has his own dog in tow, I can't see you getting anywhere.
  16. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Outside - not a problem. People's houses - ask politely if the dog can be put in another room (and hope the chairs aren't covered in dog hair).

    And is a non-serious reaction, like having to work with a headache all day, not a problem? It's also quite possible that a non-serious reaction will not be known about, particularly with a younger child.

    (I teach adults, including quite a number with disabilities. I do slightly dread the possibility of having a blind student with a guide dog, at which point I would have to dose up, try and make sure it sits well away from me, and be glad that it will only be for a couple of hours.)
  17. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    My son was attacked by a dog. He would quite reasonably have freaked out if he'd had to be at school with one. I'm allergic to dogs. I can choose not to go to someone's house where there is a dog, and I usually would, since I don't liked being licked/jumped on/farted at etc., but school pupils do not have that choice if a dog is brought into school.
    sabrinakat and blazer like this.
  18. Grandsire

    Grandsire Senior commenter

    A HT I once worked for wanted a family pet but had no one at home during the day so we had to have it as a school dog: lots of hype, lots of training, but the chosen breed was not noted for a calm temperament and this one seemed particularly exciteable, so it never became safe enough to be left in classroom. We also had kids who were severely allergic to dog hair, so how that worked I don't know.

    I'm not particularly fond of dogs in general, and hate all the jumping up and slobbering some of them do when they meet a stranger. I'm far more at ease with cats, and prefer their usually calm and watchful attitude to strangers. In fact, I have only rarely met a cat I couldn't quietly approach and make a fuss of.

    At my own primary school, a neighbour used to have two tabby cats which would stalk in when the doors were open on sunny days and sleep under our chairs while we worked quietly. Too much noise and they'd leave, so it was a great way to calm a classroom!

    I often think one of my cats would be ideal for an establishment like a school or a care-home - she's deaf so sudden noises don't scare her, she rarely goes out, she relentlessly charms everyone who turns up at the house, and no amount of fuss is ever too much.
  19. TeachingBabylon

    TeachingBabylon New commenter

    As a foot note to this, this morning a larger staff dog who was out on a walk attacked a smaller staff dog, with the small dog needed a vets trip and a hefty bill. Thankfully no children witnessed it, could have been quite distressing for younger ones.
  20. vannie

    vannie Star commenter

    This is what my dog would do. He’s a killer. Sometimes I dream about unleashing him on my class.

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