The Dog Mentor
The Dog Mentor programme has built upon the benefits of the human-animal bond by providing children positive experiences with dogs that can help them educationally, developmentally, emotionally and socially.
Over the last five years The Dog Mentor programme has been proven to have a positive impact on children in all areas including self-esteem, behaviour, peer relationships and better engagement skills. These improvements then result in improved academic achievement.
Winnie the Cockapoo joined us in May 2019 when she was just four months old and completed her Gold award with the Dog Mentor programme in January 2020 (on her first birthday!).
Hello, my name is Winnie and I work at Langafel. I am part of Mrs Baldwins family and can normally be found in the office we share. I am very good at making everyone feel welcome at Langafel and helping children to feel calm and reassured. I really enjoy getting visits from the children and like it when they help to care for me and walk me around the school grounds. I especially like it when I am given one of my special doggy treats! I can’t wait to meet you when you start school.
A poem for Winnie
By Penguin Class 2020
Winnie is a playful dog,
who runs and jumps like a frog.
Her curly fur is fluffy
and she never looks scruffy.
She is jet black,
and we hope she comes back.
We love you because you're kind
and your nose helps you to find.
You have shiny, sharp claws,
on your soft, furry paws.
Seeing you makes our day
and we love you in every way.
Any behaviour is a form of communication. It is essential to understand what the behaviour exhibited is communicating. The key difference in achieving improved communication is not in the message that is being promoted, it’s in how the message is promoted.
We apply Winnie in school as a tool to impress on people this message. Using a trained dog, we are able to change any environment as a positive distraction. This enables us to work with anybody to enable them to understand the positive skills of communication.
On a practical level, we enable all pupils and staff in the school to: -
• change their mindset into a positive one at all times.
• improve rapport skills within the school environment.
• understand that behaviour is a form of communication.
• realise that mind and body communications affects our behaviour.
• experience life and process it via all five senses.
• improve personal growth and development in a way that affects all aspects of their lives such as in-work, at-home and external relationships outside of school.
The overall target is to improve the personal development for all staff, parents and pupils so that they are more productive in a positive learning environment.
This will lead to greater achievements both at home and in school. More specifically: -
• raising standards and accelerate progress.
• improve the quality of teaching and learning across the entire school.
• improve the conditions for learning.
• to improve skills such that the impact has a lifelong affect.
The Human-Animal Bond
Science has learned that dogs not only understand human emotions but that they also have emotions. Research shows that all dogs develop the same emotion range of a 2½ year old child. This means that dogs have all the basic emotions of fear, joy, distress, excitement, anger and love.
Why is Winnie at Langafel
To work with children and staff within the school to create a positive impact. By working alongside the dog and learning how to become a good trainer, both staff and children experience the values and techniques that help develop:-
• Self control and confidence
• Discipline and Resilience
• Empathy and Relationships
• Focus and Concentration
• Stress Coping Strategies
Rules to Remember
Winnie loves being at school and enjoys all the attention she receives from the staff and students but it's always good to remember to follow these rules when meeting any dog.
How to behave around Winnie in school: -
• Always ask the handler if you can stroke
• Don’t get too excited – always approach dog calmly
• No loud voices
• No screaming with excitement to see dog
• Try not to run
• No eating around dog
• Always wash hands after being with dog
• Always make the handler aware if you are allergic to dogs
• Always let the handler know if you’re worried about meeting dog