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South Farnborough Junior School

Embracing our values today, to be a successful part of the world tomorrow

Slideshow

Rocky the School Dog

 

Hi my name is Rocky and I am the school dog! 

 

I am a golden/red labrador and when I'm not at school I live with my owner Mrs Plummer.

 

I hope to get to meet you all soon! 

 

Rocky is sponsored by: 

https://collingwoodpetservices.co.uk/

 

 

Introducing Rocky Video

Still image for this video

Pupdate - 29th March 2022

Just a little pupdate for you all.

It’s been fairly quiet regarding Rocky for this half -term. He’s had a couple of ear infections and so has not been able to do much work with the children and his Rocky Rangers.

He is currently in school on a Monday, Tuesday and Thursday morning and spends his remaining time either at home with Max the black Labrador and Derek the sausage dog or at Doggy Day Care with his sponsor Collingwood Pet Services.

 

We have taken the decision to change Rocky’s affiliated dog provider and are now teaming up with The Dog Mentor who will commence his affiliation programme starting immediately after Easter. Once affiliated we will be looking at his timetable in school and how we can start to introduce Rocky to interventions with the children.

 

As stated previously, although Rocky is growing at a rapid rate, he is still very young at just over 7 months old and very early on in his life as a school dog. Rocky is starting to hit the ‘teenage stage’ in his dog life and can be a little tinker when being asked to ‘come’ and ‘wait’, some days he even seems to forget his name when he is called!

 

Thank you all again for being so accepting of Rocky, he certainly seems to bring a smile to everyone’s faces when they see him and we have every reason to believe that he is going to be very successful in his career as South Farnborough Junior School’s dog.

A few pics to make you smile ……

Pupdate - 17th February 2022

Can you believe Rocky is now 6 months old!!

He has been doing really well with his training and has spent a little bit of time with the Rocky Rangers as part of his training sessions.

Pupdate - 21st January 2022

This week some of our lower school Rocky Rangers joined in with Rocky's training session, it was very exciting!

Their job was to start teaching Rocky to 'Find It'.  To do this they hid 5 small treats in various toys whilst Rocky sat with Mrs Plummer.  They then placed the toy (with the hidden treats) on the floor and told Rocky to 'Find It'.  The children were taught to crouch down to Rocky's level so that they weren't leaning over him.  They were then shown how to praise him for 'finding it' with either words or by stroking him very gently by his lower back, never his head whilst eating.  

Following the 'Find It' training, Rocky was very tired so we worked on his 'settle'.  This involves Rocky being on his special blanket, kindly made and given to him by Mrs Carpenter, Luke's mummy, and waiting for him to lie down.  The settle lie down will ideally be with his chin on his paws so we know he is relaxed. Then the Rangers job was to walk past him, open a cupboard nearby and then walk back towards him, ideally with no eye contact.  Whilst the Rangers did this Rocky was to remain on his cover and not pay any attention to the Rangers and remain 'settled'.  The children were amazing, as was Rocky and his tail wagged throughout!  

We are hoping to introduce Rocky more into the classes now that he's a little older.  This again is to develop Rocky's training to improve his settle, so the children will be asked to pretend that Rocky is not there and carry on as usual.

Pupdate - 16th December 2021

Season ‘woofings’ from Rocky!

Rocky is now almost 18 weeks old and is growing at a rapid rate, with legs everywhere! He has adapted so well into the role of school life, even the school bell ringing doesn’t wake him anymore.

Training wise, he’s still undertaking his basic training where he is learning the standard concept of sit, down etc. He is also mastering the ‘paw’ and ‘high five’ which is possibly the cutest thing ever!

The allilated programme is slightly behind due to Rocky being unwell and not being able to take part in his last session, this has been moved to January now, but he is still on track to become an affiliated learning dog within a year from starting.

To enhance his future training, we decided that it would be helpful for us to establish a small group of children who may be called upon to support in areas of his development; they will be known as the Rocky Rangers. This could be things like 'acting as a distraction whilst he is learning to stay in one place'. Or 'learning not to jump', so the children would need to approach him and if he jumps they would need turn their backs and walk away. These a just a couple of examples. The children may only be called upon now and again to support with certain areas of training and we will ensure that it won't impact on their school work. These children have been selected for this academic year.

Our Rocky Rangers are

Year 3 - Lola, Theo and Lila

Year 4 – Charlie and Megan

Year 5 – Ryan, Jake, Courtney and Riley

Year 6 – Connie and Oliver

All the training that Rocky is undertaking at the moment is reward based, with food! He loves his food!! Due to this we are unable to use the Rangers for his current training as he must never associate children with food.

In the spring term, Rocky will be working more on the 'settle' command. This will not involve any treats other than 'good boy' and lots of praise and we will require Rangers and other children to help him learn this skill.

There will be opportunities for other children to become Rocky Rangers after this academic year. Once Rocky is a little older we will be able to change to termly Rocky Rangers, similar to the Form Captain process we have in place currently.

We are delighted with the way the children, staff and parent/carers have taken to having Rocky as part of the SFJS Community. We would ask that everyone be patient with him as he is still only a puppy and has a long training programme ahead of him. The children are always very excited to see Rocky around the school but are doing very well controlling their excitement so as not to overwhelm him whilst he is still a puppy.

Pupdate - 12th November 2021

Rocky has now reached 13 weeks old and is growing very fast. He has now officially started his training to become the best doggy he can be.

 

As previously mentioned we are working to support Rocky to become an affiliated learning dog for South Farnborough Junior School.

Rocky will have 4 main adult handlers in school they will be;

Mrs Plummer

Mrs Byrne

Mrs Allen

Mrs Newman

 

We have just undertaken stage 1 of the affiliate programme, this involves the adults learning how to be the best handlers for Rocky to make sure that we can make him the best he can be and the happiest he can be. Each handler will spend time alone with Rocky to grow a sense of trust and so he can build a strong relationship with each ready for his future work alongside the children.

 

Stage 1 for Rocky is still just the stage where he is learning about his new environment, over the next few months he will hopefully have the opportunity to witness and be aware of every aspect of school life and learn how to behave in all situations. A little task that Rocky is learning at the moment is to have the school fire alarm and lockdown alarm played quietly to him whilst he is eating his dinner. This is in preparation should we have a ‘real emergency’ in school where one of the alarms may sound as Rocky will remain calm throughout as he will associate this sound with something nice…FOOD! And he LOVES his food :O)

 

Rocky has also started his puppy training with the Puppy School, this too will take place in the school environment to allow him to learn the correct manners and behaviour for becoming a school dog. He had his first session yesterday and his first task is to learn self – control, this will underpin all his future training and hopefully he will become a doggy that acts politely if he wants something rather than demand it. Part of his self – control training will teach Rocky to have a ‘take it’ mindset rather than a ‘leave it’ mindset. The difference between the two is a ‘leave it’ dog will need to be constantly managed, a ‘take it’ dog learns to manage themselves.

 

We will be setting up a timetable within the next few weeks to aid his training and time in school. At present Rocky has mornings in school and then every afternoon at home to rest and sleep, except for a Tuesday when he goes to play with some doggy friends at Doggy Day Care.

 

The children have been absolutely amazing with Rocky, they have remained calm around him and they ALWAYS ask before they touch him ….this should always be the case, so please reinforce this with your children.

Pupdate - 31st October 2021

Rocky would like to say that the positive and overwhelming love that has been shown for him joining the SFJS community has been huge!

Rocky has just turned 11 weeks old and has now completed his vaccinations which will enable him to be out and about more during the school day. 

He promises he will get round to meeting all of the children whose parents/carers have given permission but it may take a little time as he still sleeps lots and lots during the day,

Thank you again for being so kind and accepting of Rocky, he hopes to make lots and lots of friends very soon.  

ROCKY NEWS - 11th October 2021

 

Rocky is currently 9 weeks old and has started coming into school today, to get used to his surroundings. Whilst he is so young he will remain in the office areas and not have too much interaction with the children. He will be able to become accustomed to his new surroundings from the start and will ‘grow up’ as part of South Farnborough Junior School. Rocky will be introduced to the children safely and slowly over a period of months.

 

Rocky will be undergoing training, to ensure he is well-trained for being around children. Rocky will become an ‘Affiliated Learning Dog’.

 

We wish to reassure parents and carers that we have undertaken a thorough risk assessment as well as a significant amount of research into the advantages of having a school dog and believe the positive effects of such demonstrably outweigh any negatives.

 

Some of the many benefits of having a school dog include the following:

• Cognitive development – building a companionship with a dog helps children stimulate their memory, problem-solving and game-playing skills. Having a school dog is known to increase enthusiasm for, and enjoyment of animals, which motivates children to think and learn.

• Social skills – dogs provide a mutual topic for conversation with others, and encourage responsibility, wellbeing and focussed interaction with others.

• Emotional skills – dogs improve self-esteem, acceptance from others and are known for improving moods. Dogs can also help children develop compassion and respect for other living things and can reduce children’s anxiety. Building respect can improve children’s relationships with each other, parents and teachers and shows them how to nurture and care for another living thing. If any children are suffering from bereavement or are particularly sad, dogs can provide children with comfort and friendship.

• Physical development – interaction with dogs is known to reduce blood pressure, provide tactile stimulation, assist with pain management and give motivation for children to move and walk.

• School community – having a school dog builds the sense of a family environment and togetherness

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Who is the legal owner of the dog and who pays for its costs?

A. The Legal owner of the dog will be Mrs Plummer who will care for the dog out of school hours and will bear the costs associated with it. She will also be responsible for his training, with support from a professional trainer.

Q. Will the dog be a distraction?

A. Rocky will be kept in the office area which is separate from the classrooms to ensure that he only comes into contact with the children at appropriate times throughout the day. A careful timetable will be put together to ensure Rocky gets to spend time equally with all classes when he is ready to do so.

Q. Has a risk assessment been undertaken?

A. Yes, we have carefully considered having a dog in school and have sought advice from many sources, including other schools that successfully have a school dog.

Q. How will the dog be toileted to ensure hygiene for all?

A. In the interest of health and safety, Rocky will be toileted in an area of the school site where the children have no access. Thus, there will be no chance of the children coming into contact with faeces. While he is in training, any accidents that happen will be cleaned immediately and in an appropriate and hygienic way. Should this happen whilst any children are in close vicinity to the dog then they will be removed while thorough cleaning takes place.

Q. How will Rocky’s welfare be considered?

A. Once old enough, Rocky will be exercised/walked throughout the day. He will be timetabled to join children around the school at times, however he will be kept in the Office area where he will have his own quiet, safe space to sleep and relax. He will always have access to food and water.

Q. My child has allergies; how will this be managed?

A. We already manage a number of allergies at school and this will be no different for children and adults that are allergic to dogs. Individual needs will always be met and we are happy to put additional control measures in place (please specify if your child is allergic to dogs in the comment section of the permission slip below).

Q. My child is frightened of dogs; how will this be managed?

A. Interaction with Rocky will be carefully managed and supervised over several months. Children do not need to have close contact with him unless they wish to and permission for this has been given. We hope to work closely with children who are fearful of dogs to alleviate their fear and to teach them how to manage this.

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