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Nurturing, Inspiring, Achieving the Extraordinary Together

Dog Assisted Therapy


We have a Therapeutic Wellbeing Practitioner and Animal-Assisted Play Therapist®️ who comes to Falconer School once a week with her toy poodle to help benefit children with special educational needs alongside a range of complex emotional needs, and social communication barriers. 


Why Animal-Assisted Therapy

Children and young people may find it difficult to develop relationships in a positive way, and through the introduction of a dog, we find that through working and building the relationship with the dog, they have an opportunity to reactivate their ability to relate and rebuild trusting relationships, which can then be transferred to the therapist and across the network of people they know and come in contact with.


Working with animals has been scientifically proven to release oxytocin, the bonding hormone. The animal’s presence has also been shown to reduce cortisol, present in times of stress, and interferes with learning and memory. It also helps to activate the brain to build new neural pathways and patterns of thinking, along with also helping to build self-esteem and confidence, which can lead to a sense of satisfaction and pride, and increase executive functioning capacity. 


Animal-Assisted Therapy can give children and young people a sense of power and control in a positive way to help them feel seen and heard, develop consideration for others, encourage self-regulation and co-regulation, build empathy, and have positive meaningful experiences through play. It provides a safe therapeutic space to reflect on their feelings and emotions.