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Oakwood Junior School

"Every child is a learner and can achieve"

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Our Well-Being Dog

The value of pet therapy is widely accepted as a powerful aid to communication and motivation. Research has shown that companion dogs can improve the well-being of children, reducing their anxiety levels by making any environment, but in this case, the school environment a happier and more enjoyable place to be. Dogs can be a great comfort to children who are upset in any way and in need of calm, consolation, comfort, or distraction before being able to communicate with an adult the nature of their distress. Children therefore can benefit educationally and emotionally from a school dog. A dog can motivate and encourage participation, increase understanding or responsibility, develop empathy and nurturing skills and improve both behaviour and self-esteem.


“Dogs are a powerfully cost-effective way of helping children feel more secure at school and a low-tech approach to reducing anxiety”.

Sir Anthony Seldon (Vice Chancellor University of Buckingham).


To improve the reading confidence of our students

Students who have found it challenging to read aloud in front of peers can be supported to read to a dog instead. Its non-threatening, friendly response will lead to many children being able to transfer their growing reading confidence into their classroom over time.


To reduce anxiety

It has been found that children who feel unable to speak directly to a member of staff about their concerns have been able to talk to a Well-Being Dog about what’s on their mind. They can tell it their fears and a member of staff is then able to offer appropriate support where needed.


To improve the ability to think of others

Having a Well-Being Dog allows children to develop empathy skills. Children are supported to follow care routines and guidelines for the dog, teaching them to put it’s needs before their own.

Children understand the need to use a calm and quiet voice and small movements in order to get a positive response from the dog thus emphasising the need to consider how their reactions make other people feel.


To provide companionship and a friendly welcome to school

Many children display high levels of anxiety when coming to school. The offer of quality interaction time with a school dog can support those children and give them a reason to attend school and fulfil their potential. A Well-Being dog provides children with a non-judgemental response to everything they do and say enabling them to grow in confidence with their peers.


"A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself."

 Josh Billings (Author)