I’m Bertha a female Labradoodle and I was introduced to the school environment on a part-time basis from July 2019 and I’ve undergone regulated training with Canine Assisted Learning.
I’m joining the school environment for the following reasons:
- To support attendance: There is a greater enjoyment of being in the school environment, improved attendance and a willingness to participate and Bertha will be on duty on the school gate.
- To support behaviour: Researchers report that students can identify with animals and, with empathy for the dog, can better understand how classmates may feel.
- To support emotional development: Dogs can be a friend for students to talk to about their problems or to help students to calm.
- To support social development: Dogs are especially useful for building self-esteem; learning about positive and negative reinforcement, responsibility and boundaries. With the presence of a ‘calm and well-trained dog’, students find social support and peer interaction.
- To support reading: Students who might be embarrassed to read aloud to the class or even adults are likely to be less scared to read to a dog. It might be less stressful to read aloud to a dog than to a teacher or a peer. Dogs are used to encourage struggling readers to practise reading aloud.
- To support individuals: The dog can work with students on a one-to-one basis (under adult supervision) to support students going through upsetting/difficult times or even those who are scared/phobic of dogs.
- As a reward: Dogs will be gentle and loving, but at the same time be enjoyable. Students could be rewarded with spending time with the dog, walking, grooming, playing with or training her.
My wellbeing will be monitored throughout the training programme and an appropriate timetable will be developed to support my growth and development. A policy and supporting risk assessment will also be in place.