School hoping to train new reading dog puppy

PUBLISHED: 08:00 10 June 2015

Old hand, school dog Rafi, with the new puppy, Zuri and pupils James, Tommy, Molly and Emily.

Old hand, school dog Rafi, with the new puppy, Zuri and pupils James, Tommy, Molly and Emily.

Archant

A new cuddly friend has joined Flax Bourton Primary School to help children who are anxious or have problems reading.

Old hand, school dog Rafi, with the new puppy, Zuri and pupils James, Tommy, Molly and Emily.Old hand, school dog Rafi, with the new puppy, Zuri and pupils James, Tommy, Molly and Emily.

The puppy named Zuri – which means beautiful in Swahili – has joined school dog Rafiki who is already trained as a Pets As Therapy (PAT) dog.

Headteacher Jane Bennett, who owns both pets, is hoping to train Zuri as a PAT and reading dog to help her pupils.

She said: “Rafiki is a therapy dog. The idea of having both of them is that he’s a really good role model so she’s learning lots from him.

“There’s lots of excitement now she’s arrived. They are really excited to have her.”

Old hand, school dog Rafi, with the new puppy, Zuri and pupils James, Tommy, Molly and Emily.Old hand, school dog Rafi, with the new puppy, Zuri and pupils James, Tommy, Molly and Emily.

To become a PAT dog, the animals have to pass a health, temperament, and suitability assessment.

Jane added: “When you have got a dog with a (good) temperament like that, it helps children who are anxious around dogs because they don’t jump up and they are much more approachable.

“It can build confidence in children who have perhaps got anxieties.

“We also want to train her as a reading dog. The idea is that the dog learns to sit with its head on a child’s lap watching a book which really helps to engage reluctant readers or children who are more anxious about reading to an adult or reading out loud. It gives them a non-judgemental audience.”

Zuri has started basic obedience training and key stage two pupils can now apply to join the dog training team to help her practise her skills during the lunchtime break.

The dogs are based in Jane’s office, but they tend to follow her around and help to welcome children at the gate in the morning.

She said: “Rafiki is 11 and has been at the school since he was 10 weeks old.

“The children walk him at lunch time with me and he goes out in the playground.

“It can really help to have somebody who’s always pleased to see you.

“If children are upset or have got something difficult they need to talk about, doing that while walking or stroking a dog is proven to be a good stress reliever.

“Zuri is a real people dog and really loves the fuss.

“She’s got potential to be a cracking school dog and is showing lots of early promise.”

Other News Stories

Some of the more obscure things activities you can take part in this weekend include shooting, cycling and a unicorn run.

Read more
16:12

A Portishead physiotherapist has cycled almost 30 miles to visit clients.

Read more

A group of Clevedon footballers took to the beach for an afternoon of litter-picking last week.

Read more
07:30

Students will continue to be able to leave their cars outside Gordano School despite its parking provision being described as ‘unbelievable’.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:00

A choir leader performed at BBC Proms In The Park last week.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:00

A new attraction has popped up at Clevedon Pier this week.

Read more
Yesterday, 10:00

Nailsea has been filled with colour this summer, thanks to a donation from Barratt Homes.

Read more
Yesterday, 07:55

Strong winds and heavy rain is expected to hit North Somerset tonight (Thursday).

Read more
Yesterday, 07:00

Scores of homes could be built in Nailsea and Portishead netting North Somerset Council millions of pounds.

Read more
Wed, 17:00

A new flu vaccine is available and elderly people in North Somerset are being urged to take advantage of it.

Read more

Most Read News

Read Online

Image
Read the North Somerset Times e-edition E-edition

Local Weather

Thunderstorms

Thunderstorms

max temp: 15°C

min temp: 11°C

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
Send Your Letters
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Reader Travel

Clevedon Tide report

Family Notices 24

Newsletter Sign Up

North Somerset Times twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Show Job Lists

Find planning applications