You may be aware that there is a growing movement to introduce the concept of “Well-Being Dogs” into schools. Well-Being dogs are being used as a source of comfort and relaxation for children and adults who may need “someone to talk to,” or just someone who will accept them and offer comfort or a calming influence in their lives. There is much evidence that children who struggle with relationships or with managing their own emotions gain a great deal from spending time with a pet. Children can benefit educationally and emotionally, increase their understanding of responsibility and develop empathy and nurturing skills through contact with a dog.
We know that this pandemic has had a significant impact on many of our pupils emotionally and socially. Therefore, I am delighted and excited to tell you that the school governors have agreed to the concept of a school Well-Being Dog.
Over the past few months, staff have carried out research to find an appropriate breed of puppy with the right temperament and is suitable for interaction with children.
On February 9th, we will be collecting a golden retriever puppy who will be trained to be a well-being dog. We will be bringing our new dog into school and, eventually, once the dog is used to the environment, introducing him to the children. Children will also receive training on how to care and behave safely around dogs. The breeder selected is a registered and accredited breeder with the Kennel Club and has vast experience of breeding and training dogs.
As a school, we have discussed the practicalities, both for the animal’s sake and for the sake of the children and adults in the school, including everything from risk assessments and insurance to dealing with training, doggy toileting and children’s allergies. Also, we will be working with an accredited and experienced dog trainer Emily Freeman from Clever Canines. Emily is a fully qualified member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers and is one of Bridgend’s top 3 dog trainers.
Our aim is that all children across the school who wish to have contact with the dog will have an opportunity to have quality time with him. From the start, we would like the children and the whole school community to be given the opportunity to be involved.
To reassure you, our dog will not be around the school off the lead while he is training and will be trained to a high level. We are very mindful that introducing a dog into the school setting should not be a distraction to the children’s learning but to enhance our school ethos and the experiences we offer. Attached you will find answers to several questions you may have, and our risk assessment can be found on the school website. If you have any questions or queries regarding the introduction of a school dog into our environment, please do not hesitate to contact the school.