Dogs in classrooms program launches this school year

DANSVILLE — A local dog trainer has taken her services into schools to help students in several districts across the region.

Kaylee Walker Lohrmann of K’s Canine Training Services has many therapy dogs working in schools at Dansville, Letchworth, York, Savona, Pavilion, Campbell, and more.

All of her therapy dogs passed the board approvals to be used in the region's schools to help students cope. Right now, she has six therapy dogs working in these schools.

Lohrmann said she is thrilled to be bringing this service to all the schools in the region and help out all the students and teachers.

“These programs are not widespread, so this is kind of a new adventure I am on,” she said. “We do lockdown and fire drills as well with the dogs. The idea is to make sure each dog can handle different situations.”

Lohrmann said this new program has been very inspirational.

“Doing this kind of training is very different. I have three different behaviorists and handlers working with me on this as we do evaluations,” she said. “We trained all year long including summer vacation. We do in-classroom training and out of class situations.”

Lohrmann mentioned that the Hemlock Fair and the Dansville First Friday Events were helpful in getting the word out on the new program.

“There have been many studies out there that having a dog in a classroom helps with mental health and can increase test scores in children,” she said. “We made sure each dog was evaluated properly to meet at the needs of the children.”

Lohrmann added all of the therapy dogs had great behavior skills and only small improvements needed to be made.

“I am really proud of all my therapy dogs,” she said. “This is the first program I have done from start to finish.”

Lohrmann began doing service dog training in the area in 2011, but since then there has been a higher need for therapy dogs within the school environments.

“We make sure each therapy dog has plenty of safe space, and they are not being overworked or burned out at the school,” she said. “Carrie and Mazie work really well at Dansville. Paul and Sarge are doing really well in the Dansville schools too. I had talked to them about it awhile back.”

Lohrmann talks to each student about the proper handling of the dogs, and these are skills they can take with them all throughout their lives.

“This entire experience has been really amazing so far,” she said. “We all meet up with the students at least three times a month.”

The handlers and therapy dogs include Carrie and Mazie, Holly and Lucky, Lynne and Kova, Sheila and Toffee, Melissa and Ginger, and Paul and Sarge.

K’s Canine Training Services is located at 10985 State Route 36 in Dansville. It can be reached at 585-613-8725.