What is a Therapy Dog?
Trained dog(s) will be part of the wellbeing and engagement approach at Clarinda Primary School. Research shows that therapy dog programs provide significant benefits for students as the dogs are trained to use their social instincts and learned social skills to provide health, social-emotional, and cognitive benefits. Just being in contact with a therapy dog calms children reducing feelings of anxiety and enabling children to focus on learning. The dog(s) will also provide social-emotional support to staff and the wider school community when appropriate.
Are Honey and Sampson safe around children? Yes, both dogs have grown up with children. Both the owner and dog have completed the Therapy Dog and Handler course which covers dog behaviour and signs of stress in dogs. To be accepted in this course, both Honey and Sampson have been through a range of temperament tests. Both dogs will always be under the control of a handler.
What if my child is allergic to dogs? Honey and Sampson will be well groomed and bathed regularly. Children who are allergic to dogs do not have to have contact and the school will monitor this closely.
Will Honey and Sampson live at the school? No, both dogs will return home each night with their handler.
How healthy are Therapy Dogs? Both Honey and Sampson are fully vaccinated and up-to-date with all flea and worm treatments. If for whatever reason the Therapy Dog is unwell, they will remain at home.
Will the Therapy Dog disrupt the classroom? No, Honey and Sampson will be with their handler at all times and is not permitted to wander around the school unattended.
Honey and Sampson will have a range of jobs at Clarinda Primary School. They will be working 1:1 with students to listen to them read, or help build confidence, persistence and regulation, as well as working in small groups with the handler at recess and lunch, to build social skills of all students.
When the handler is in the classroom, Honey and Sampson will be settled on a mat in a ‘down’ position unless otherwise directed.