School Dog Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q Who is the legal owner of the dog and who pays for its costs?
A The legal owner of the dog will be a nominated member of staff who has volunteered to care for the dog out of school hours and will bear the costs associated with it; the school budget will remain unaffected.
Q Is the dog from a reputable breeder?
A Yes. We have researched breeders and have chosen a reputable breeder. The dog will be Kennel Club registered
Q Will the dog be a distraction?
A The dog will be kept in the office area. The office is separate from the classrooms / playground area to ensure it only comes into contact with children who are happy to have contact and have parental permission for this, under strict supervision. We will be careful to ensure that time spent with the school dog is shared among the children fairly. We will also ensure that children who do not have permission for direct contact with the dog are still able to participate in a number of ways.
Q Has a risk assessment been undertaken?
A Yes, we have carefully considered having a dog in school and sought advice from many sources, including other schools that successfully have a school dog. Mrs Chapman and Mrs Gent have visited a local school to see a working school dog in action.
Q Who is responsible for training?
A The nominated member of staff will be the legal owner of the dog and as a result, will be responsible for its training. Appropriate professional training will be obtained and the dog will work towards a PAT PRO (Pets As Therapy) assessment.
Q How will the dog be toileted to ensure hygiene for all?
A In the interest of health and hygiene our school dog will be toileted in a sectioned-off area of the school site where children have no access. Thus there will be no chance of the children coming into contact with faeces.
Q Will the dog be allowed on the school playground?
A The dog will only go onto the playground under close supervision and within a specific area eg the Sensory garden or gazebo.
Q How will the dog’s welfare be considered?
A The dog will be walked every lunchtime. Parents will be able to give permission in advance to allow their child to be able to walk with a member of staff and the dog during that time. This will also be used as a behaviour reward, in line with our behaviour policy. The dog will be kept in the admin area/HT office and will only have planned and supervised contact with children and visitors. The dog will be carefully trained over a period of time and will have unlimited access to food and water. We will work closely with other professionals to ensure the dog’s welfare is always carefully considered.
Q How will this be managed where children have allergies?
A We already manage a number of allergies at school and this will be no different for children and adults that are allergic to dogs. Individual needs will always be met and we are happy to work with parents to put additional control measures in place for individual allergies.
Q My child is frightened of dogs; how will you manage this?
A Access to the dog is carefully managed and supervised and children do not need to have close contact with it unless permission for this has been given. We hope to work closely with parents of children who are fearful of dogs to alleviate their fear and to teach them how to manage this.