Dougie joined Primley Wood Primary School in January 2021. He’s the youngest member of school but probably the most popular! Find out more about him here and over on our Facebook page.
What is the role of a School Therapy Dog?
A school therapy dog is part of the day-to-day school environment, helping children to learn about caring for animals and in so doing learning to care more for themselves and each other.
The school therapy dog is also a way for children to feel rewarded, particularly when they get to walk the dog on it’s lead or take part in its training.
Helping to break down anxiety at school
For children who may have any anxieties or worries, a school therapy dog helps to break that down just by being present. As well as being someone that the child might feel more comfortable opening up to (or might feel more relaxed when they’re in the room), a visit from the school therapy dog can be the highlight of someone’s day and give them the lift they need to make different choices or be able to better cope with what life is presenting that with right now.
What sort of dog is Dougie?
Dougie is a Goldendoodle. He’s hypoallergenic and doesn’t shed. He’s calm, caring and well-behaved (when he’s not rummaging around in the bin in Mrs Kenny’s office).
How does the dog provide ‘therapy’?
As well as being able to provide the emotional wellbeing that people can develop from spending time with any animals, having a school therapy dog gives children a sense of responsibility and pride. For those without animals at home, or for whom school can sometimes be a challenging space, it gives them an opportunity to shine and recognise that in themselves. On top of that, it is also fun to play games together!
As well as learning the basics like ‘sit’ and ‘stay’, Dougie has to undergo intensive training for his role as School Therapy Dog. The children are key to his training: they learn how to act around him and in turn it helps him to know what to do around them. Training takes many months and as well as being familiarised with the people, noises, smells and daily routines of school life, Dougie also has to undertake School Dog Training by a professional dog trainer for a number of months. We’re told there isn’t a written exam which is good because he would probably eat the paper!
If you have any questions about Dougie, please do visit the School Office. You can also follow him on our Facebook age and on our Gallery page!