DHK Puppies in Training

Bramble - Black Labrador

DHK Puppy in Training 2019 - Cornwall

Business sponsor: Shaun Libby Building Solutions Ltd - view website

Type of School Dog
Bramble is training to become a DHK Educational Assistance Dog.

Owner/Handler of School Dog
Lisa Tamblyn

Where the DHK School Dog is based
Bramble is in training at Burraton Community Primary School, Cornwall

Bramble is a black Labrador who was born on 16th May 2019. She is training to be a DHK Educational Assistance Dog at Burraton C.P. School which has 420 children in the mainstream classes, and 10 children in the specialist provision which is integral to the school. Most of these children are on the autistic spectrum.
With ever growing numbers of children entering school with mental health issues, and knowing a little about the amazing impact that animals can have on children's wellbeing, I was keen to find an organisation that could offer high quality support, guidance and advice on bringing a school dog into our setting. After some internet research, I was thrilled to find DHK.
Having attended the two day DHK School Dog Workshop, I was initially doubtful that I could make the dream of having a School Dog a reality. The detailed information shared regarding expectations, regulations and accreditation made me seriously consider the practicalities of being responsible for a dog in school. Despite this, I remained committed to the dream, and set about turning it into a reality. My governors were fully on board, and we knew that not only would a dog impact positively on the children of our school, but also on the staff.
I particularly wanted a puppy who would be the right age to come and live with me at the start of the summer holiday, so that we could build a bond and understand one another prior to starting school in September. I sent numerous emails to breeders I found through the Kennel Club, and eventually found Richard and Helena who expected to have a litter around the right time. From there it was all systems go. Equipment and reading materials were purchased, and regular communication struck up with Gail regarding the expected litter. I was amused for many weeks that my house looked like a pet shop with all the necessary equipment, beds and bowls, but there was no puppy!
Bramble visited school many times during August and so was familiar with the building and grounds before starting in September. She now comes into school with me every day, and we are both establishing a new routine together. Bramble spends her time in my office where she has a crate with a high play pen surrounding it, plus a comfy bed under my desk next to my feet. We have an occasional walkabout through the corridors during the day, when Bramble loves to peer through the glass panels of the doors to watch the children learning in their classrooms.
Bramble is a very calm puppy, always wanting to learn and to please. If she isn't sure what she is being asked to do, she will go through her whole repertoire of tricks and cues really quickly in the hope of hitting on the right thing! The fact that food is her most favourite thing in the world makes her relatively easy to train.


Bruce - Black Labrador

DHK Puppy in Training 2019 - Essex

Type of School Dog
Bruce is training to become a DHK Educational Assistance Dog.

Owner/Handler of School Dog
Maxine Davies

Where the DHK School Dog is based
Bruce is in training at Chingford Foundation School, East London

I had been looking into getting a School Dog for a while before I saw the DHK website. I realised as I was researching the area that bringing a dog into school was not only a massive undertaking for me but also had serious implications for the welfare of the dog. For me the dog's welfare is paramount and I did not want to do anything that caused harm. I visited websites of schools who had school dogs; what I saw sometimes concerned me and as I did not want to plow a route that would lead to welfare issues for the dog I felt I needed support to do things in the best possible way. It was during my research that I saw DHK's website and I was instantly struck by the charity's adherence to good solid training for the handler and the dog, whilst ensuring that the dog's well being was at the centre of everything DHK does. I applied to attend a School Dog Workshop in January 2019 and I finally went on the 2 day Workshop in June 2019. It was worth the wait. I was impressed by what I saw. Tracey was clearly passionate about everything 'dog' and her academic studies gave her both a practical and scientific understanding of dogs which was invaluable. It was also good to meet the DHK School Dogs on the day; Teazel, Fernie, Chilli and Vader. They were as impressive as their handlers Nik, Tracey and Gail, and gave me a real insight into how much training and effort from both dog and handler goes into training a DHK Dog.

Whilst at the workshop I met fellow delegate Sam Hunter who was also looking to bring a dog into her school. She told me about some black Labrador Retriever puppies a breeder who had been approved by DHK was offering - and there was one boy left! I think the fact that Gail DHK's Director of Primary Education, Welfare and Public Relations had approved the breeder was very important. Getting good advice on the breed and the breeder is vital. Gail was formerly a dog breeder and she has a very clear idea of what makes a good breeder. This gave me confidence in purchasing my puppy. I don't think it would be a good idea to just buy a puppy and hope for the best. So the support of DHK was paramount in my making this decision. I went to Crewkerne to meet the breeder on my way home from the DHK workshop and was impressed by what I saw. I wanted an intelligent dog with an excellent temperament for school but also a dog that would fit family life. And that's Bruce!

Bruce is a truly excellent puppy. I have owned dogs before - I am a massive Pembrokeshire Corgi fan and I love the breed. But this time I wanted something different to the dog I had before and that's exactly what I have. I am surprised by what Bruce can do at 16 weeks and love to see him training - I can see him thinking as I am asking him to do things and see how success pleases him. I am very lucky to have such a fantastic dog. I have found that I love dog training and supporting Bruce to become the excellent School Dog I know he will become. I also love having him at school learning to be in the back-ground and fitting into a new routine. Dogs are truly wonderful animals and I think Bruce is the embodiment of this!

Lastly getting the school environment right has been of great importance. Again Gail was an important guide and source of information. I have a large office which I have turned into a doggy paradise. Enrichment is very important so I have set up a sniffing corner with toys, snuffle mats, wobble boards and a small platform. Bringing a dog into school is not to be taken lightly. It is a serious endeavour and takes commitment. I know after Bruce's DHK Puppy Training Day that I am more committed than ever and proud of what Bruce and I have achieved together in 16 weeks. I look forward to working with DHK in training Bruce to become a School Dog and ensuring he becomes a credit to them and their vision.


Elsie - Black Labrador

DHK Puppy in Training 2019 - Liverpool

Business sponsor: SPD CAD Services Ltd - view website

Type of School Dog
Elsie is training to become a DHK Educational Assistance Dog

Owner/Handler of School Dog
Anne Pease

Where the DHK School Dog is based
Elsie is training at Liverpool College Prep School

Having attended a workshop last February, I quickly realised that our school would massively benefit from having a School Dog, and with the support of DHK, we would be able to do this. I set about finding the most suitable dog for our school - a black Labrador. Having worked closely with DHK to find a suitable breeder, Elsie was born in August 2019 and quickly proved herself to be an excellent puppy - keen to learn and eager to please. Working with DHK ensures that our Elsie's welfare is at the heart of everything we do and by following such a structured programme, the pupils within our school are learning so much about dogs, even before they begin working with her! Although Liverpool College is a school for pupils aged 4-18, Elsie is based in the Junior School and will eventually work with the pupils there, if she passes her puppy training.

Elsie currently works 'undercover' at school, residing in my office, whilst the pupils enjoy hearing about her adventures in regular films as well as 'learning to speak dog' in assemblies. After Elsie has been for her morning walk, she particularly enjoys curling up in her crate for the morning and is becoming a calm, contented dog.

When Elsie was 16 weeks, we attended our first training day with Tracey in Devon and we are now busy working on all the skills she taught us there. Elsie particularly enjoyed visiting the beach in Devon and I'm sure she will enjoy returning there in a few months.


Molly - Clumber Spaniel

DHK Puppy in Training 2019 - Devon

Type of School Dog
Molly is training to become a DHK Educational Assistance Dog

Owner/Handler of School Dog
Kayleigh Price

Where the DHK School Dog is based
Molly is in training at Mill Water School in Devon

Molly was born in July 2019 and came to live with us at 8 weeks old. We chose a Clumber Spaniel as they are known for being gentle, calm and affectionate. We chose Molly from a litter that had been specifically bred from lines that are proven to be healthy, have a good temperament and are motivated to work.

Molly is training to be an Educational Assistance Dog at Mill Water School in Devon. We have 117 pupils with severe, or profound and multiple learning disabilities from 3 - 19 years old. We have been lucky enough to have a previous puppy in training through DHK, and when her and her owner moved on, we really missed the benefits of having a dog in school. I already had an insight into how much dedication training a school dog would need, but only ever considered taking on that responsibility by working with DHK as they have the highest standards for training and welfare, ensuring that we will have a happy dog who really enjoys working with the pupils.

The initial 2 days' School Dog Workshop confirmed how challenging and demanding the DHK Programme is, but meeting Fernie, Vader and Chilli and their owners, and hearing about the impact that they have on young people convinced me that it was the right thing to do and would all be worth it.

Molly has settled really well in school, she is incredibly chilled out and loves sleeping in her crate in my office. The children all really enjoyed learning how to 'speak dog' in assemblies and ask about Molly all the time, so she's already having a positive impact before she's even met them.

Molly has surprised us with how clever she is and how quickly she can learn, although she does have a stubborn side and sometimes needs a lot of motivation! We really enjoyed our first training day with Tracey and Vader, and are really excited to work with DHK and see what Molly is capable of in the future.


Paisley - Cavapoo

DHK Puppy in Training 2019 - Merseyside

Type of School Dog
Paisley is training to become a DHK Educational Assistance Dog

Owner/Handler of School Dog
Lesley Fleming

Where the DHK School Dog is based
Paisley is training at Peterhouse School, Southport

Paisley was born in August 2019 and joined myself and my family when she was 8 weeks old. She is a Cavapoo first cross and is a bright and interested puppy who learns quickly. She came from a local breeder who was delighted to be selected by DHK for her high standards of breeding and support for puppies prior to them leaving their mothers to enable them to have the very best start in life and to ensure that she breeds calm, contented dogs.

Paisley will become a School Assistance Dog at Peterhouse School in Southport where she is currently working as a 'secret undercover agent' learning about the behind the scenes working of a school alongside learning about DHK and puppy training. The children at Peterhouse all have a diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Condition and are excited that Paisley has joined the staff team. They have enjoyed learning about the 'speak dog' programme and are excellent at ensuring that Paisley is a real undercover secret agent by following all the rules. Paisley is based in my office when she attends school but is also lucky to visit her 'holiday' home by the beach with Granny and Granddad who live locally, so she currently only attends school part time while she is an 'undercover puppy'.

We have taken the decision to have a school dog at Peterhouse very seriously and Paisley's welfare and training is at the forefront of our ethos and thoughts to ensure that both she and the children have a positive experience in school which is why we are delighted to work in close partnership with DHK whose dedication to dog welfare is exemplary. Children at Peterhouse are aged from 5 - 19 and Paisley will work across the school, as relevant, to help the children to learn, communicate and interact alongside supporting emotional wellbeing. She is keeping her paws crossed in the hope that she passes all of her puppy tests!

Due to the long distance to DHK headquarters we are also lucky to be supported by Jo Pay, an associate of DHK, in puppy training and Paisley attends regular training in Standish where she has also met Elsie, another 2019 DHK puppy. Paisley is working hard to learn everything she needs to know and is so far making good progress. She is a calm, quiet little dog who is very affectionate but who is also very resilient and self-sufficient. We are delighted to have been accepted to the DHK 2019 Puppy Programme and hope that we can represent the charity well by continuing the wonderful work that they do.


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