All About Our School Dog
Rosie Red is our school dog. She is a a fox red Cockapoo and has been attending our school since she was just 11 weeks old. Rosie Red has been at Harpenden Academy since October 2018. Just like all of our new children, it took her a little while to fit in. We spent the first couple of weeks showing her around the school site - it's amazing how much there is to see. Rosie Red especially likes snoozing in Mrs Davies' office.
Eventually Rosie Red will undertake training to work with children who have special needs, or who are upset in any way and in need of calm, comfort and space before being able to tell an adult what has upset them. This training requires the dog to be over 1 year old so this won’t be happening for a while yet. However, before then she and Mrs Davies must attend Puppy training classes and also school dog training classes which will happen inside school over a period of months. Until she has completed our puppy training she will not interact with the children on an individual or small group basis.
Once fully trained, Rosie Red will spend her days visiting the classrooms and listening to readers from across the school. Sometimes she will even help us out by looking after anyone who is feeling a bit sad - a little stroke and a look into those big brown eyes is enough to make anyone feel happy again.
There are many benefits to having a school dog, including:
- a calming effect on pupils, particularly those with behavioural or learning difficulties
- improved behaviour and concentration, reduced stress and improved self-esteem
- encouraging expression and participation in more withdrawn children
- fostering a sense of responsibility
- motivating pupils to think and to learn, as most children have a high level of natural interest in, enthusiasm for and enjoyment of animals
- encouraging respect and thereby improving pupils’ relationships with each other, parents and teachers
- teaching children to nurture and respect life
- helping work undertaken with the most vulnerable children, and educational improvements with low achievers
- helping children build confidence in reading.
Please see separate article link below.
We are aware that some parents, teachers and children may be unsure around dogs and we have organised a series of school assemblies to take place by Dogs Trust and indeed the puppy trainer so that all members of our community are aware of what to do and more importantly what not to do around a dog. Our dog will also be available to work with children (and adults) who have had bad experiences with dogs or other animals.
With parental permission, over a period of time children who react fearfully to dogs will be supported in approaching, handling and gaining confidence in managing their fear. While the dog’s main place of residence will be an office area, which is secure and separate from the classrooms, children will able to interact with the dog under strict supervision at certain times of the week as long as parental permission has been given. The dog will not be given access to other visitors without supervision or mutual consent. Please understand that we will do everything we can to reassure children who are fearful and that under no circumstances will they be forced to meet with the dog.
Whilst moving around the school, Rosie Red will be kept on a short lead and will always be with an adult. We have chosen a Cockapoo as the most appropriate breed of dog for the school. The breed has been carefully selected because of its ideal temperament and because it is used widely in the field of therapy and support (e.g. hearing dogs). Cockapoos are also used successfully in other schools as they are, by nature gentle and friendly creatures.