Meet Mabel, Our School Dog in training here at Maple Cross JMI and Nursery, she is an educational assistance dog in training. Her training last three years and won’t fully start until she completes her entry exam at one years old.
She is a ‘tri-colour’ Beagle who is owned by and lives with our Headteacher Mrs Trickett, but comes into school most days. Some days she goes to work with Mr Trickett in London or is looked after by Mrs Trickett’s dad! She attends weekly puppy classes and 1:1 puppy tuition as well as a strict regime that Mrs and Mr Trickett are following at home. She also attends DHK headquarters in Devon for regular training days too.
The full training from 12 months and completion of the entry exam takes in excess of 18 months and includes six rigorous assessments in order to meet the standard. Mable is based in Mrs Trickett’s office and has her own crate and set of toys, but will often be seen on a lead with Mrs Trickett in classrooms and around school after the children have gone home.
Mabel will be used as a dog to educate, provide therapy and listen to children read. It has been proven that working with a dog improves children’s social skills and self-esteem. Many studies have been undertaken that give credit to the benefits of dogs in the school. We also place great emphasis on using Mabel to educate children about how to approach, act around and train dogs. There is no better place to educate our children on how to treat animals than that of the school environment. Animals in schools can encourage children to respect all life, teach responsibility, motivate those children who are often not that attentive, help calm children down and improve academic achievement.
In addition to this, if children are wary of dogs, they can be supported in approaching, handling and gaining confidence in managing their fears, through the presence of a specially trained dog in school.
Mabel has been fully risk assessed but if you have any questions , concerns or reservations then please do contact the school for further information.