Dogs in schools programs

Dogs in schools programs

School incursions that support those challenged by anxiety, school refusal, stress, confidence and interpersonal skills.

Our aim is to create an atmosphere where students feel safe to share their experiences and where our tutors and assistance dogs are able to encourage them to implement strategies that help them deal with challenges.

School incursion delivery:

  • in schools, libraries and communities centres
  • Age group: P-12
  • 8 sessions, run consecutively
  • Start and finish within the same term
  • small groups -10 students maximum
  • all programs are delivered by trained tutors who have the skills to modify each program to the learning needs of the group. 

Download a copy of our brochure

School-Programs-2021.pdf School-Programs-2021.pdf (11MB)

A variety of programs to choose from

1.  Communication on the inside and out

Throughout our programs we teach students to develop an awareness and understanding of verbal and non-verbal communication indicators. We work with indicators as tone of voice, body language, facial gestures plus vocal conversations. Our program also highlights the inner voice that we all experience and how we can channel our inner voice from hearing only negativity into positivity.

2.  Friendship and responsibility

Through our programs, we teach children a sense of empathy by understanding the needs of a dog and the relationships that can be formed between animal and human. This understanding that dogs need emotional support and caring helps students to respond to the needs of the dog and in turn, begin to understand that life is about positive experiences and relationships whether with humans or animals.

3.  Beyond lockdowns

For many children the covid epidemic has led to a time of great change, uncertainty and anxiety. This can be excruciating and scary for our young people. It can be a paralysing feeling. It can mean more incidents of school refusal, disconnection to education and loss of motivation. Through an innovatively designed Dog Assisted Learning program, we can work with the family, the student and school to minimise those feelings of anxiousness and trepidation and refocus back on connection and happiness at school.

4.  Grief and loss

During our life, we all, unfortunately, experience loss and sadness. It is the grief that can take over our wellbeing and we begin to experience negative feelings and emotions. The inclusion of our trained tutors and support dogs helps the participant to relax and open up about the feelings they are experiencing. Our Animal Assisted Intervention dogs offer a non-judgemental space that can relax and encourage a participant to process their feelings and begin to understand how to function and grow alongside these feelings.

5.  Reading tails

We love books and we want young people to feel the same. Focused on building confidence and reducing anxiety for reluctant readers.  Reading Tails uses the fun of Dog Assisted Education to support reluctant readers by creating a comfortable space, short bursts of reading, providing incentives, allowing students to select their books, discussing the books being read and making reading a social experience. Reading Tails is an ongoing club format, run in a library setting, usually on Saturdays or Sundays. We create a program to work with the library's specific needs therefore prices vary - contact us for a quote.

6.  Our library community 

“Libraries offer people a “third place”, separate from home or work, and are anchors of community life, facilitating creative interactions between people” (Oldenberg, 1991). We want to encourage young people to utalise that 'third place' for their own wellbeing. Libraries play a vital role in our community, they are fundamentally important informational, educational, cultural, and social institutions. This 8 week program encourages students to feel a sense of that community by gathering, exploring and interacting with our Animal Assisted Education dogs and their local or school library. 

7.  Flexible thinking

This is our most flexible program. Although this program does not have a pre written curriculum, it is supported by our pedagogy text, which guides the tutors to run activities that respond to your students needs through AAI play and learning. The focus of this program is to help your students gain a feeling of calm and confidence, so they can walk back into the classroom with a positive mindset.

View our Booking Details

What Teachers Say About Our Programs

We have been working with the Canine Comprehension team for a couple of years now. I cannot speak more highly of their professionalism, knowledge, compassion, skill, connection, organisation, communication and understanding. Sarah Macdonald is an exceptional professional - with humans and canines! Her knowledge of dogs, the school system, people of all ages and how they all fit together is remarkable. Her understanding cannot be understated. We contacted Sarah with a challenged teenager and a new pup he wanted to take to school. Sarah engaged with my son, his new pup quickly establishing rapport and trust. The pup responded quickly and positively to the training. Sarah then connected with school, a new experience for them to have a dog in the school. A profound respect was quickly established and the dog went to school with my son for over a year until he finished VCE. Sarah was there the whole way with us. I cannot more highly recommend Canine Comprehension.

Wow. Simply wow.

What Students Say About Our Programs

I can calm myself down in mindfulness. I can get happy with Chachka and I can leave all my bad days behind.

- Student, Grade 5

I can leave all my bad days behind

A Success Story

Working with a child who has a moderate to severe intellectual disability

James attends a special development school and has a moderate to severe intellectual disability, paired with a rare genetic disorder which presents as severe episodes.

James has shown continued improvement in his emotional regulation and has been engaging in more programs on a regular basis. He is expressing himself using verbal language more consistently and often asks when he will be seeing the dog again.