School Based Assistance Dogs

Whilst most of what we do with the training of School Dogs is detailed under “Owner Trained”, it is important to understand that there are wider issues to having a dog in School, full or part time.

A worry that we have is that there are many instances of pet dogs being brought in which creates a number of issues, some of which are:

 Insurance: Not all Pet Insurance provide liability cover on School Premises and not all Local Authorities will accept liability for dogs on premises.

Welfare: What facilities are there for the dog to exercise during the day or safely relieve itself away from where the students have access?

Precedent: If one member of staff brings in their dog will that create a precedent for others?

Risk assessment: Has the proper Risk assessment been signed off and communicated, so that any mitigating actions can be taken?

Added Value: What value is the dog trained to add to the life of the School?

Helpful Hound Henry training in a classroom

How We Help

When Helpful Hounds works with a School/College/or other Educational Establishment to embed an Assistance Dog we will:

  • Help develop a proposal which will identify why an Assistance Dog will add value and what tasks it will be trained for.
  • Identify the correct breed of dog to suite the School and tasks required.
  • Help to agree the breeder and the puppy within the litter.
  • Introduce a Standard of Practice for School Dogs
  • Work with the School to appoint a Guardian who will look after the Assistance Dog out of School time.
  • Introduce Agreements to define the responsibilities of The School, the Guardian, and Helpful Hounds.
  • Advise on the preparation of a Risk Assessment.
  • Review current insurance position to suggest whether further advice is necessary.
  • Provide an Assistance Dog coat for work times, including, if accompanying Students on external visits.
  • Advise on the welfare of the Assistance Dog, in School (e.g., Rest place, exercise, access policies, sustenance, relieving etc,)
  • Suggest timetable approach with examples.
  • Help with training and understanding of Staff and Students about the dog.
  • Carry out regular assessments (or on demand) to ensure the Assistance Dog is not stressed or has an injury or disability.
  • Meet with School Staff, regularly to establish how the whole project is working and to identify any changes.
Helpful Hound Henry at a school

“Having had Scoot at Toynbee school has made a very real difference to the lives of many pupils in a variety of ways. Scoot is based in the resource provision for pupils with visual impairment and this in itself has enabled all the pupils to become very familiar and comfortable with having a dog around.”

Read more about Scoot’s impact >


If you are interested in discussing how your school could be involved, please fill in the form below and we will get back to you.