School Therapy Dogs
School Dog's become part of the daily school life for both the students and teachers. the school dog can participate in classroom activities and work with individual students and groups. they can provide emotional support for the students and assist students developing new skills at both young and older ages. Research from National Institutes of Health shows that Therapy Dog programs provide significant benefits for students – both physical and emotional.
Dogs are friendly, great companions, good listeners that make no judgements – children bond easily with them helping them feel more connected and confident.
Studies have shown a decrease in both blood pressure and stress levels during Therapy dog visits. Having a Therapy dog present in the classroom promotes a positive mood and provides significant anti stress effects on the body, reducing anxiety and depression which in turn enables the children to focus on learning.
Did you know that having a dog present in the classroom promotes many significant benefits?
Physical benefits: Interaction with therapy dogs have shown to reduce blood pressure, lower stress levels as well as provide physical stimulation with Deep pressure therapy. They can help reduce the feelings of depression and anxiety which enables them to focus on their learning better and more effectively throughout the day. They also relieve stress through exam periods.
Social benefits: When a Therapy dog visits it promotes greater self esteem and focused interaction with other students.
Emotional and mental benefits: As well as all the physical benefits they can provide, they also help lift the mood in the classroom, often provoking more verbal communication between other students and teachers as well as laughter. They bring Smiles, Joy and Love. They provide Interactive Games where the dog is involved creating a bond.
Cognitive benefits: They can help improve students reading skills, stimulate memory and problem-solving skills, and even optimise their executive-functioning skills. The dog enables the child to feel more involved and confident in themselves whilst doing a task.
Students are able to bond easily which can simply help them feel more connected and confident. This leads to a reduction in negative behaviour and aggression in the classroom as well outside of school.
Therapy dog's have been active in schools for some time now with many teachers, trainers and parents witnessing the amazing effects therapy dogs have on students.
As you can see, the list of benefits of Therapy dogs in a classroom can go on and on! While Therapy dogs might not be the best solution for every school, it is clear that there are a variety of different situations in which a Therapy dog can be extremely useful and beneficial.
What will my dog be trained to do and how will they support the students?
Below is a list of training aspects that your future Therapy dog could provide (This list is a selection of our most popular areas throughout our training, so it is not limited to)
“In a recent Education Health Care Plan review, a student when asked what was important to her, responded that she saw Scout as a ‘friend’, and that training him was one of her achievements this year. The student has substantial communication difficulties, however clarity of speech has improved through work with Scout. Shy by nature, the student will request time with Scout daily, providing frequent opportunity to communicate with another, aiding confidence and self esteem. He has a large role within the school. He plays as a motivational tactic for pupils that struggle to come to school. For others he is their first point of contact when they arrive into school, providing them with a boost to a positive emotional state.”
- Simon Payne, Mill Ford School, Plymouth
"Blu is fantastic at keeping the students calm and relaxed during stressful situations and is such a big character around the school. More recently, Blu has been accompanying students on off-site visits to Decoy Park, Paignton Zoo and Woodlands to name a few places.Blu is amazing at what he does and loves being in school to ensure he gets his daily cuddles. He is an invaluable members of the school community, with teachers, trainers and parents witnessing the amazing effects our therapy dog has on the students"
- SFIT, Chris logan
What happens after I have applied?
We already have successful partnerships with more than several schools in Devon, with more wishing to join our programme.
The majority of our schools have their own full time dedicated Therapy Dog and some have visits from our Community School Dogs.
If your school is unable to commit to your own dedicated Therapy Dog, Bale's Buddies can offer hourly or daily Animal Assisted Therapy Sessions.
The process starts with an initial consultation, followed by a full assessment of both the setting and handler (who is normally a teacher at the school) to gain an understanding of needs and options for the school.
If successful, we source a puppy from one of our trusted Portuguese Waterdog breeders. We use Portuguese Water Dogs due to their hypo allergenic coat, to avoid aggravating any pupil's/staff allergies. We can also have labradors or Retrievers in school if requested by handler/school. If you already have a Dog that you want to get certified as a Therapy dog for your school, then please contact us for more information.
The puppy will join the handler's family and after vaccinations training begins.
Training takes approximately 2 years with weekly sessions and reports. The Bale's Buddies team are always on hand to answer queries and progress is measured with regular feedback and assessments.
For more information please feel free to contact us using the form below, by phone, email or via our Facebook page we are happy to answer any questions. We can also put you in touch with one of our current Schools who would be happy to share their experiences and the benefits they have seen from having a Therapy dog.