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Facility dogs in educational programs for young children: Definition, rationale, issues, and implementation

By Mary Renck Jalongo, Faithe A. Permenter, Kristina Conrad

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A facility dog in a school is a comparatively recent category of working dog. These dogs typically are trained at the assistance, or service dog, level and are thoroughly prepared for their role. The school facility dog accompanies an owner/handler, who is a professional employee of the school, to work on a regular basis. Research on human-canine interaction indicates that positive interactions between young children and dogs can improve learners’ academic performance, their attitudes toward school, the relationships they build with others, and their emotional wellbeing. This article begins with a definition for a facility dog, describes an exemplary dog training program that prepares facility dogs for schools, and explains the interprofessional partnerships that are essential for success. Next, we review the research to provide a rationale for bringing children and dogs together in educational contexts. The remainder of the article guides educators in planning for the facility dog’s arrival and involving the facility dog in a wide range of activities that support the school’s mission and goals. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)

Publication Title Early Childhood Education Journal
ISBN/ISSN 1082-33011573-1707
Publisher Springer
DOI 10.1007/s10643-022-01334-1
Notes Emerita, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA, US. Release Date: 20220324. Publication Type: Journal (0100), Peer Reviewed Journal (0110). Format Covered: Electronic. Language: EnglishMajor Descriptor: No terms assigned. Classification: Educational Psychology (3500). References Available: Y. Publication History: Accepted Date: Feb 18, 2022. Copyright Statement: The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V. 2022.
Author Address Jalongo, Mary Renck
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal welfare
  2. Assistance animals
  3. Facility Dogs
  4. Human-animal interactions
  5. service dog training programs