School Dog

Jeske (Jes) is our trainee Educational Assistance Dog. She is 2 years old and is working towards Assessment six of the School Dog training programme, with the charity Dogs Helping Kids:

So far she has successfully completed five assessments with the charity, as well as passing basic and advanced puppy training. This training programme tests her suitability to assist children through eight assessments of increasing difficulty. In addition to this, she also undertakes training classes with a local APDT trainer.

At the moment Jes has very little interaction with the children, working only with one child from Year 6 each day, for a short time. These children are learning about the five freedoms of animal ownership and are helping to teach Jes the correct way to interact with children, as well as teaching her how to listen to children read. The charity believes that this gradual introduction to working with children, results in calm dogs, who see the school environment as their second home.

Jes has been taught many cues by our School Bursar (her handler & owner) and has learnt how to walk with a loose lead, how to respond reliably to recall cues, how to settle despite distractions and also how to respond to a cue to instantly go down even if being called/enticed away from her handler. She is also being taught to actively listen to children reading to her and most recently is being taught to read a few simple words herself!

In addition to training Jes, our Bursar also runs an education programme devised by the charity called ‘How to Speak Dog'. This teaches the children how to interpret dog body language, as well as how to behave around dogs. The objective of this programme is dog bite prevention as well as responsible dog ownership.

Should Jes successfully complete the two-year training programme, then she will have learnt to ‘listen’ to children read, be able to read simple cue cards herself and be comfortable chilling out with children in a classroom. She will also be a certified Educational Assistance dog.

The cost of Jes’s training is partially funded by corporate sponsorship from Gentle Dog Food.  Gentle believe that dogs deserve food that’s as close to their natural diet as possible.  They use the very best, freshest ingredients, with their simple rule being: that if we wouldn’t eat it ourselves then it doesn’t go in.  Their food is cold pressed, rather than being cooked at high temperatures.  Their food is free from gluten, artificial flavourings, artificial colouring, preservatives, gm products and animal experimentation.