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School Therapy Dogs

School Therapy Dogs


In March 2022, we welcomed Buddy and Luna into our Grace Mary family. 

Why are the dogs in school?

To work with children and staff within the school to create a positive impact.  By working alongside the dog and learning how to become a good trainer,  both staff and children experience the values and techniques that help develop:

- Communication

- Self control and confidence

- Discipline and Resilience

- Empathy and Relationships

- Focus and Concentration

- Stress Coping Strategies


What do the dogs do on a daily basis?

- Greet children and adults on the gate in the morning

- Specific nurture sessions (no more than x2 children)

- Listen to the children read

- Support children who are struggling emotionally

- Visit classes to check on how children are getting on with their learning

- Sleep!


Who do the dogs work with?

The dogs only work with up to 2 children at a time alongside the trained member of staff. We work with all children but especially those who:

- Struggle to come in to school

- Lack confidence

- Are feeling sad or emotional

- Need calming down


What training have the dogs had?

Both dogs have had training with The Dog Mentor Organisation and The Kennel Club. Both dogs were assessed by the Dog Mentor Organisation and both passed the school readiness assessment.


Which staff members are trained to work with the dogs?

Mr Cains takes care of Buddy outside of school hours. Miss Sturmey takes take of Luna outside of school hours. Both of these members of staff are fully trained to work with the dog mentors. Mrs Smith and Miss Garner are also trained to work with the dogs.


What rules should the children follow when working with the dogs?

The children have learned a set of rules that they must abide by when working with or interacting with the dogs. These rules ensure that the dogs remain happy and calm throughout their working day.


When working with the dog mentor

- There should be no more than two people around me at a time.

- Always ask before stroking me.

- If given permission to stroke me, you must lower yourself to the ground.

- Strike me from the chest or shoulder down to the tail.

- Never reach over the top of my head.

- You should not ruffle my fur.


Moving around the school

- Always walk around the school sensibly.

- Don't reach out to touch me when I'm passing.

- Use indoor voices

- Try to keep my name inside your head rather than shout it out.

What do the dogs look like now?