Wellbeing Dogs in Schools

Watch as we provide an exclusive guide on how dogs are being introduced into schools to help students & staff feel more connected and engaged in their learning environment.

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Grant Shannon

“I’m Grant, and my dream is to see a wellbeing dog in every school” 

I worked as a primary school teacher for over 15 years. I am passionate about working with people and have always loved what dogs offer us. I am really excited about combining two of my passions and have dedicated my life to learning and experiencing as much as I can so that I can see my dream become a reality.

I first began my teaching career with a Bachelor in Education, and furthered my learning with a Master Degree in Applied Learning, as well as a Master Degree in Wellbeing. I spend my working life traveling Australia and taking really diverse and unique communities through the Dogs Connect Program.

Trauma Informed

Dogs help us shift how trauma manifests in our bodies!

We are becoming one of the first education programs in the world to be accredited by the Polyvagal Institute in The United States. This recognises our leadership in trauma informed practice. We also have a dedicated research team from a leading university who assist us in critical reflection which is constantly improving our practice.

Mitigating Risk

As with all new programs there's alway some risk. We see what works best, and what does not work so that we support with the latest in best practice. As a result of such broad experience, I have become Australia’s leading expert in wellbeing dogs and support communities Australia wide.

The online learning program includes:

  • A complete guide to having a school wellbeing dog
  • Over 6 hours of video content + over 30 downloadable support resources
  • 12 Modules with a total of over 50 Lesson plans and teaching guides to building learning around interactions with your wellbeing dog in class
  • Backed by evidence and research to support student and staff wellbeing and mental health

By the end of this online program you will feel confident to: 

  • Direct a core group that will drive the wellbeing dog program
  • Oversee the implementation of a highly structured program which will become unique to your school 
  • Explore ways that a wellbeing dog can strengthen existing practices in your school
  • Support you students and colleagues by building authentic connections with your school wellbeing dog
  • Be creative in how you connect your professional practice with your wellbeing dog

Be assured that you will feel competent in achieving certain milestones for your school such as:

  • Improving connectedness 
  • Enhancing academic outcomes 
  • Improve relationships
  • Shift and eliminate challenging behaviours

These impacts will be felt and seen by many people in your workplace.

  • Increased attendance
  • Improve relationships
  • Decrease time out of class
  • Increase in empathy
  • Increase in self managing reactivity
  • Improve de-escalation process and time needed to re-engage
  • Increased ability to co-regulate and self regulate
  • Decrease the amount of incidents reported

Straight away I noticed the impact on the students, staff and the whole community. 

In 2015 I introduced Sonny, the dog, into my teaching practices at a primary school.

The academic research around student wellbeing and applied learning, combined with my experience of a broad range of teaching and behaviour management practices helped me create and launch the program, Dogs Connect.

From that moment on I could see how a wellbeing dog could be a powerful support for adversities and trauma that many of us know so well.

The wellbeing dogs become an invaluable teaching and learning facilitator in a school setting, and allows to to see how we can change the way we teach and deepen social and emotional learning.

This helps us support and shift behaviours from the depth of the autonomic nervous system! The results are amazing and I love working with educators who share this passion.


Unlike therapy dogs, wellbeing dogs work as teaching and learning facilitators to help improve mental health and wellbeing.

Some of the content that we train teachers to teach with a dog include empathy, awareness of self and others, the escalation cycle, self and co-regulation and reactivity.


Having a dog as a permanent member of your school community helps students deal with anxiety, trauma, self regulation, resilience, stress management, emotional literacy, mindfulness and sensory processing.

"The wellbeing dog does things I can't do!"

We hear this from so many school staff, just like you.

Reports and data gathered confirms that wellbeing dogs can assist in any situation because they deescalate students (and staff too!) 

The 7 Proven Impacts a Wellbeing Dog has on a School

1. Increase connectedness for staff and students in your school community.

2. Decrease anxiety for the majority of staff and students.

3. Help students feel ready to learn when in class with the wellbeing dog.

4. Provides a powerful teaching tool for teachers.

5. Helps build empathy, awareness, and emotional literacy in your school.

6. Teach the entire community how to regulate emotions and reactivity.

7. Help staff and students recognise cues of safety when engaged in interactions.

Here's what schools say about Dogs Connect

We have worked with over 50 schools across Australia, including:

Marist College, Caulfield Grammar, Kangaroo Flat Primary School, Wodonga Senior Secondary College, Baranduda Primary School, Oak Flats Primary School, Catherine McAuley College, St. Peter's Primary School Bendigo, Thornbury Primary School, Quarry Hill Primary School, California Gully Primary School, Mulga Street Primary School, St. Philip's Christian College.

Bendigo South East College

Bendigo South East College is a large secondary school in regional Victoria. With support from Bendigo Community Health Services and School Focused Youth Services the school was able to engage the Dogs Connect Full Scale program and introduce Barkley as a permanent member of the school community in 2019. 

California Gully Primary School

California Gully Primary School invested in our Full-Scale program in 2018. After assessing the specific needs of the students and staff we sourced and successfully incorporated Milli into the school as a permanent member of the community.


We give you over 50 step by step video’s of explanations, demonstrations and tips of how to successfully introduce a wellbeing dog into your school community.

Not just links and dog tips, we are here with you every step of the way.

Access to our expertise and experience

As part of the program we include a number of scheduled video calls as well as email and phone support as and when you need it.

Access To Private Community

You will have access to our private Mentorship Group - our online community. We currently have staff from schools across Australia in this community who love to showcase their successes and support others.

The Dogs Connect Accessory Kit

Everything you need to start introducing a dog into your school (apart from the dog!)

This includes: Crate, Portable Pen, Leads, Collars, Bowls, range of toys, Toilet pads and bags, Bandana, Dogs Connect Duffle Bag

Templates, policy manuals, checklists, signage, timetables, all the communication templates you could need, 24/7 access to the mentorship & much more in the form of downloadables.

Everything you need to know from course guides, implementation road maps, to prewritten polices, video announcements, correspondence examples for school communities to colouring competitions.