Story Dogs volunteers visit the school of their choice every week, on the same day, and at the same time, for approximately 2 hours. Students come to cherish their Story Dog Team, so it is very important that you have the available time for at least four school terms and can commit to this. All types of dogs, except for restricted dog breeds, are eligible to become part of Story Dogs. The dog’s temperament, obedience and willingness are of utmost importance to our program. Only flat collars or harness are acceptable; no check chains, prong collars or haltis are allowed when taking your dog into school. The dogs must pass an accreditation test carried out by our certified Dog Team Assessors and must all have annual vet checks, be vaccinated, have council registration and be clean and groomed before going into schools.
There are 9 easy steps to becoming a volunteer:
1. Your dog must be at least one year old. If you have rescued or adopted your dog, you must have lived with it for a minimum of 6 months.
2. Your dog must be registered with your local council. Proof of registration will be necessary.
3. Your dog must be vaccinated. Proof of vaccination will be necessary. A positive titer test is also acceptable.
4. You and your dog must pass the Dog Team Assessment. Practise the Story Dog Team Assessment with your dog. You can find a list of the tasks required in the Volunteer Information Pack. When you are confident that you and your dog are OK with all nine requirements, let us know and we will organise an accreditation session with our Dog Team Assessor. The following videos from very well-respected dog trainers, Donna Hill and Emily Larlham, may help you get your dog ready for the Dog Team Assessment. Story Dogs thanks both Emily and Donna for allowing us to use these great videos. Donna Hill teaching the dog to ‘leave it’ and Emily Larlham teaching your dog not to pull on lead
5. Your dog must have a vet health check before they start. Your dog’s health is very important to us. Your dog must have a recent vet health check (within the last 3 months) or a Story Dogs Vet Health Check before starting. Please take this record sheet to your vet.
6. Working with Children Check. As you will be working with children, you will have to apply for a Working With Children Check in your particular state.
7. Training – Attend a full day training course. The course includes:-
- an introduction to the Story Dogs program
- what Story Dogs expects from it’s volunteers and what you should expect from Story Dogs
- how to run a Story Dog session
- information on how we can best help children learn to read
8. In School Training – Observe an experienced Story Dog session, at a school near you.
9. With our help, find a sponsor for you and your dog.