Dogs from the SPCA are being taught to socialise around children at Whangarei Primary School each week.

The Schoolies programme has been set up for dogs staying long term at the Whangarei SPCA.

SPCA dog trainer Ani Van Sinten says many of the dogs are not used to socialising.

"A lot of our dogs are family pets. They go to families with children, so we want them to be familiar with kids."


Every Monday and Thursday afternoon, the dogs are taken to the fence outside the primary school to train.

"Once they are ready for it, we will let the dogs go up to the fence and the kids will say 'What's your dog's name?' and they'll pat the dogs."

The dogs usually stay outside the fence but some get a chance to interact with the children.

Treats are given to the dogs to teach them to create a positive association with the sound of children playing during lunchtime. Dogs also get the opportunity to grow used of traffic and loud noises.

"A lot of our dogs - because they come from rough homes - are scared of children and men, so that's the kind of thing we are wanting to improve before they go to homes."