School pup Arnold now qualified therapy dog

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A pup at a Bispham school is being put through his paces to become a qualified therapy dog.

There are currently no laws in the UK that say dogs must undergo special training in order to provide companionship to children in schools - but Arnold the cavapoochon (a cross between a cavalier King Charles spaniel, a bichon frise and a poodle) is determined to prove he is more than just a school pet.

Victoria Hewson and Arnold

Victoria Hewson and Arnold

The 18-month-old dog is undergoing special training with the School Therapy Dog Association at Bispham Endowed Primary School.

He achieved his bronze award on Friday.

Victoria Hewson, teacher at Bispham Endowed, said: “Arnold has to be assessed to see if he is of the right temperament to be in school. He has to be able to walk to heel, he has to not jump up at the children. He has got to be very self-disciplined.

“He did a series of different tests, some of them encouraging children to read by nudging the book. Arnold will watch the page and the children feel he’s wanting them to read on.

“He had to display good food manners and not snatch or take treats. He also has to be tolerant of school bells and classroom noises.”

Arnold is expected to achieve his silver award within the next six months.

Once he has his final gold award he will be qualified to accompany children on school trips.

Miss Hewson said: “We have had a brilliant response from children and parents alike. He’s brought so much happiness to everybody. He’s very much a part of our school’s family life.”