Another staff member of the school community is Pippa, a beautiful, gentle border collie dog. Pippa belongs to Julie McKenna, our Administration Officer. Julie and Pippa have spent much time engaged in gaining certification for Therapy Dog and Handler Certification.
Pippa needed to master high expectations and training requirements before she could become certified as being competent to be within the school environment. On January 18, after much intensive training with Julie and trainers, Pippa underwent a day of assessment in varied settings. The following areas needed to be addressed to gain certification:
- Formal obedience training
- Obedience commands
- Canine good behaviour shaping and canine cognitive tonal conditioning
- Manners and communication
- Separation confidence
- Socialisation and drives assessment
- Response to environment and equipment
- Interaction with dogs & other animals
- Simulations, scenarios and response to people
- Interaction with people
- Inappropriate handling
- Control under competing demands
Pippa graduated after displaying a high level of competence and she accompanies Julie to school each day. Pippa visits classrooms and is present with students if they feel anxious and are keen for her company.
Due to her certification, Pippa is exempt from the school policy regarding ‘dogs are not allowed beyond the school gates.’