Frequently Asked Questions
This is a dog (and its owner) who has completed the 2 year DHK School Dog Training Programme and passed 6 increasingly difficult assessments with the charity during this time to officially certify as a DHK School Dog. Once certified, each DHK School Dog must undergo an annual assessment in their place of work, until its retirement. A dog is approximately 3 years old when it officially certifies with the charity. Our DHK School Dogs are trained as both educational and therapeutic aids.
This is for the safety and welfare of both dog and child/teenager. It would be very dangerous for a dog to work with either children or teenagers in a busy, ever changing educational environment, if the dog has not been trained, assessed and certified to do the work it is there to undertake. Just because a dog is a good, friendly, ‘all round’ dog, does not make it right for that dog to work in an educational establishment without having undergone extensive training first. For a puppy or a dog who has not been trained and assessed to work in such an environment, it would be a very unfair and stressful thing for a dog to do. The welfare of each of our DHK School Dogs is of paramount importance to our charity and we will never compromise on this.
Schools, colleges and a small number of libraries across the country. We work in special schools, behavioural schools, private schools and mainstream schools.
We have DHK School Dogs across the country – the furthest one is in York going right down to Cornwall, and we have also branched into Wales. At this current time we have no DHK School Dogs in training or working in Scotland.
The owner must first attend a one day workshop with the charity on ‘Preparing for and Learning about School Dogs’, before they take on their puppy. We would like to have known each DHK Attending School Dog from a very young age – preferably 8- 12 weeks old. The dog must reach a very high level of dog training during the first year of it’s life and attend two intensive training days at the DHK HQ in North Devon and then pass the DHK entry test to be eligible to join the 2 year DHK Attending School Dog Training Programme.
These are run throughout the year at the DHK HQ in North Devon. We run a minimum of 5 one day compact workshops each year and the dates for the following year are organised in December. We also run personal workshops throughout the year, but these very much depend on how booked up they become. We are normally full on all of our workshops by the summer of each year. Please email the charity direct if you would like further information on how to book these educational workshops.
Sadly no it does not. Your dog must pass the DHK entry test and have reached a high level of positive dog training to be eligible to join the DHK School Dog Training Programme.
Between 5 and 10 puppies every year into the ‘Puppies in Training Programme’ which is part of the Attending School Dog Programme, and approximately 4 dogs every two years into the ‘Visiting School Dog Programme’. To be eligible to join the Attending School Dog Programme you must take your puppy on after you have attended the charity’s one day workshop so we can be with your dog every step of the way from 8 weeks old. If you already have your puppy then you would only be eligible to join the Visiting School Dog Programme and we would prefer to meet your dog before 6 months of age. We will consider dogs up to a year old to join the Visiting Programme, but you must first prove to the charity how you have trained and brought up your dog. Once we have reached the maximum number of dogs for the programme, we will be unable to take in any more dogs into the programme that year, even if it is only half way through the year. The School Dog training places are highly sort after, and we can never guarantee you a place on one of our training programmes. Please note – we are currently not taking any more dogs into the Visiting School Dog Programme until 2019 – please check back then for possible spaces.
We are a very, very small, self funding charity and receive no Government support or funding. As such we only have very limited funds and no paid full time staff. If you would like to donate to, or fund raise for our charity, we would love to hear from you!
Unfortunately no, you will not be able to. It is really important that we meet you personally first on a one day workshop and discuss everything about our charity and how we feel the puppy should be introduced into the school/college environment. From the very first day the puppy goes into a school/college, their welfare must be of paramount importance. We want to be with you every step of the way from when you first take on your puppy, so we know the puppy has not had any bad experiences, or been overwhelmed to much in the school/college environment, or stroked incorrectly by another member of staff or child - which sadly is very easy to do. Our DHK School Dogs are so incredibly important to Dogs Helping Kids, and we want to make sure that we do the best for them that we possibly can, and as such their happiness and well being are our top priority.
No, unfortunately not – we are very strict on the age limit.
A DHK Attending School Dog has grown up in the school/college environment from a very young puppy (approximately 12 weeks old), under the guidance of the charity, and attends the same school/college every day with its owner. They are owned by a member of staff, normally the Head, Deputy Head, SENCO, or a behavioural member of the teaching team. The DHK School Dog training is run alongside the dog growing up in the school/college environment and once certified with the charity (normally after 3 years), the Attending School Dog has become an integral part of the teaching staff. A Visiting School Dog does not start in an educational establishment until certification (around 3 years of age) and is not owned by a member of staff. The owner of the Visiting School Dog volunteers their time to work their dog with children or teenagers and normally visits the same school/college once a week. There will be a 4-6 month integration process once the dog is certified, before the dog can officially work as a DHK School Dog in an educational setting. Please note – we are currently not taking any more dogs into the Visiting School Dog Programme until 2019 – please check back then for possible spaces.
Unfortunately this is not how our charity operates. All Attending School Dogs are based in the school or college where their owner works full time. All Visiting School Dogs visit the same school or college each week near to where their owner lives. We are unable to provide DHK School Dogs 'ad hoc' to help with reading or visit a group of children, as our DHK School Dogs are only eligible and insured to work at their allocated place of work.
Sadly no it does not, as not all dogs make it to the end of the programme. A dog can fail an assessment once, but twice would mean they could no longer continue with the programme. Approximately 75% of the dogs who join the programme become Certified DHK School Dogs.
At the DHK HQ in North Devon.
For an Attending School Dog the first 4 take place in North Devon; the last two take place in your school or college. If your dog is in training to become a Visiting School Dog all 6 assessments take place in North Devon.
We only use kind, hands off, positive reinforcement dog training methods, also known as ‘force free’ dog training. We are also clicker trainers and as such all of our DHK School Dogs are clicker trained from a young age. If you have trained your puppy or dog using old fashioned compulsive dog training methods, or if you believe in the pack leader/dominance theory, then you will not be eligible to join the DHK School Dog Training Programme.
We only recommend dog trainers who are DHK Approved Dog Trainers, and who have also been officially assessed by and are members of a professional dog training body. We recommend the following dog training organisations to source a really positive and kind dog trainer – The Association of Pet Dog Trainers (A.P.D.T.), Gwen Bailey’s Puppy School, Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Trainers (VSPDT), or The Institute of Modern Dog Trainers (I.M.D.T.).
All of our DHK School Dogs have worn harnesses from puppyhood. We do not believe in the use of choke (check) chains, slip leads, half checks, haltis (or any other similar equipment such as the canny collar) and prong collars. If you have used one of these on your dog, you will not be allowed to join the DHK School Dog Training Programme.
This is discussed during our one day workshop as we run an accredited membership scheme and an in training membership scheme. We do request a minimum donation each year to be made to the charity, and also request that each school/college undertakes fund raising events annually for our charity.
Unfortunately we are unable to do this.
Our DHK School dogs are not for sale, nor do we feel that this is the right way to have a dog working in your school or college. Each of our DHK School Dogs are privately owned by an individual who has undertaken all the training with the charity. A dog is not a computer or a table, but a living, breathing, sentient being full of emotion and feelings, and as such cannot be bought ‘ready to go’ for this purpose. If you are thinking of doing this, then you do not have the welfare of the dog as a high priority and we would highly recommend that you do not have a dog working in your school or college.
Unfortunately only DHK staff are allowed to observe a DHK session. This is due to safeguarding issues, and also the fact that each session is a very private, personal session and having an unknown person in the session would have an impact on the outcome. If you want to meet one of our DHK School Dogs and their owner, we would highly recommend you attend one of our workshops.
Unfortunately no – the owners are not able to provide advice or recommendations on School Dogs as this is provided by the charity. If you want to know more about our DHK School Dogs please attend one of our workshops.