Rosa has grown a lot since she started coming into school! She is learning how to follow commands and now can touch, sit, lie down, stay, come when called, walk to heel (most of the time!) and is working on the command 'leave'.
She is learning this with the use of a 'clicker' which tells her when she has done the right thing - she then gets a treat as a reward.
Some of the children have had the chance to see her being trained when she is at school.
Rosa loves coming into our Celebration assemblies on Fridays. At first she was quite frightened as there is clapping, cheering, singing and a lot of people! Now she seems to really enjoy watching what is going on.
For a number of months we have discussing the possibility of having a visiting school dog. At the weekend, Rosa, an 8 week old Hungarian Wirehaired Viszla puppy will be joining Mrs Lambirth’s home. She has come from an Assured Kennel Club breeder who has bred other Viszlas who have become school dogs and one which became a guide dog. In fact, one of Rosa’s siblings will become a school dog in a Special School. Over the next few weeks (and months!) Rosa will be busy learning lots of things and, if all goes well, we would like her to come into Westmeads on Fridays.
Rosa will be trained so that she will know how to behave appropriately and we would like her to spend time in school with the children, for example, helping to distract or comfort a child if they are upset.
We are considering a number of other ways that Rosa could ‘help’ in school, possibly as a reward where children may join Rosa for a lunchtime walk at Westmeads Rec. While Rosa’s school ‘home’ will be in an office area, children will be able to interact with her under strict supervision as long as parental permission has been given.
Rosa will not have access to other visitors without supervision and mutual consent. Please be reassured that we will do everything we can to support children who are fearful and that under no circumstances will they be forced to meet with Rosa. Whilst moving around the school, she will be kept on a short lead and will always be with an adult.
We hope the children will gain a great deal of enjoyment from having a regularly visiting dog at school and that she becomes an established part of life at Westmeads. We understand that it is not possible for all families to have a dog and therefore we hope that this is an opportunity for children to have a ‘share’ in a dog and gain from contact on a regular basis. You may have heard that there are a number of school dogs already in post locally and around the country.