Children with mental, learning and developmental disabilities can massively benefit from socialising with dogs, according to a Nottingham animal expert.

Pawsitive Squad Ltd, in Beeston, runs training sessions to prepare dogs, so they can assist children.

Ann Gloves with her daughter, Charlie, and their puppy, Lady.

Nottingham mum, Ann Glaves, a says the classes have helped train her nine-month-old puppy, Lady, to be more careful around her daughter Charlie who is in a wheelchair.

She said; “Lady now knows when to lie down and give [Charlie] cuddles when she needs them and fetching her toys when [Charlie] throws them on the floor.”

The sessions also help develop children’s problem solving and mobility skills through interactive games.

They are encouraged to take part in tasks with their pets such as completing an egg and spoon race, whilst holding their dog’s lead, and finding their dog in the dark by following the coloured glow sticks.

Barnie, a volunteer support dog, taking part in the ‘parachute’ game.

These types of activities improve children’s social and motor skills and help develop their confidence and sense of well-being.

Heather Pyne, the founder of Pawsitive Squad Ltd.

Heather Pyne, the founder of Pawsitive Squad Ltd, says that after six months of attending these sessions, children who start the classes scared and shy, become extremely confident and excited.

“School attendance can go up”

Heather Pyne, founder of Pawsitive Squad ltd.

She says that, thanks to socialising with dogs, “school attendance can go up and it can have massive implications all across [the children’s] life.”