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Schools Trialling Dog Patrols
November 10, 2013

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Two programs in different parts of the U.S. are trialling the idea of a dog patrol at schools.

A school in Houston and a school in Green Township, Ohio, have introduced the idea as a way to prevent violence in schools. Mark Gomer, whose dog Atticus walked the halls of Green Township's Oak Hills High School, reported positive feedback from students, parents, and faculty. Gomer, who has three children in the school district, is co-owner of a nearby dog training facility and has trained thousands of dogs during the past two decades.

Atticus, a German shepherd, accompanied two security guards around the school and lived with the school's principal, John Stoddard. Atticus quickly worked out which students had allergies to or fears of dogs and responded accordingly, school officials said.

The Houston initiative, K9s4KIDS, is an expansion of a police dog program, K9s4COPS, which has trained dozens of dogs in the past few years.

One challenge for dogs in both programs will be to distinguish between the normal sounds of school (such as loud school bells and music practice and books being dropped and lockers being opened and shut) and the sounds of threats. One challenge for students will be to get used to the idea of having dogs at school in the first place.

Both trainers are confident that the programs will have significant benefits for the well-being of the students and for their parents and teachers.


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