West Gate School

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Learning for Life

School Dog

Meet Crash. He started school as our school dog, on October 3rd 2016 when he was 9 weeks old.  Crash is a golden retriever.

               

 

Crash was born on 1st August 2016 in a litter of 11 puppies. He was bred by a Kennel Club approved breeder. A golden retriever was chosen for their calm, gentle, friendly and loving temperament. They are a breed known for being assistance dogs.

Crash attends weekly puppy training classes run by a Kennel Club approved dog trainer. The training helps Crash to learn his manners: how to greet people, where and when he can play and when he needs to be calm and quiet, what to chew (and what not to chew!)

Over the weeks he has learnt and settled into the school routines. He has become familiar with sights and sounds of West Gate including the school fire alarm.

Crash’s role in school is varied within and outside of the curriculum. Whilst Crash is in school he visits classes where the students learn about how to handle and care for a dog. He is also used as a behaviour incentive and reward for some students. Staff, visitors and students also come and visit him in the office.

We firmly believe that working with dogs will provide our students with many benefits, including building confidence and self-esteem. Dogs are used to provide consolation, comfort and as a breathing space. Students cannot fail in any way in their relationship with a dog: they do not judge or condemn, and offer unconditional affection.

Crash is supervised at all times. Some staff have volunteered to be trained as a handler and this is part of a detailed risk assessment that covers every aspect of bringing dogs into school.

We do of course recognise that not all students, staff and visitors like dogs, may be afraid of them, may have an allergic reaction to them, or for other reason cannot come into contact with a dog. This is carefully and sensitively managed.

Crash is already providing valuable support for our students and he brings a great deal of enjoyment for everyone too!