Novelties in Teaching Project Part 1:

The Role of the Trained Dog in the Classroom





According to the professional and expert competences of members of our association, our purpose is to improve the lives and the health of children.


Our program works on multiple levels including:


  1. health protection,

  2. helping children in hospitals and/or taking care of them at home,

  3. helping children with developmental difficulties,

  4. helping children with chronic diseases,

  5. making the public sensitive to the needs of children with chronic diseases,

  6. instruction of a professional approach with workers involved in raising and educating the children (with heart diseases, diabetes type 1 and neurological disturbance – epilepsy),

  7. cooperation with workers at The Center for Social Activity, and

  8. cooperation with similar associations in the Sisak – Moslavina County.


In particular, our emphasis in this program has been on helping children with disabilities, developmental difficulties and/or special needs, and chronically ill children.  

Within this group the children who are molested and neglected are also included. Our purpose is to help these children by optimizing opportunities to positively impact their lives, through forensic interviews about their traumatisation. Optimal conditions in stressful situations include outlining of the concrete and legitimate information required by any judicial investigation against the committer/molester while, at the same time, not traumatising the traumatised child again.


Within the context of the psychological defininition of prevention presented by The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (1995), prevention to us is:


"a process that gives people help and support necessary for facing stressful life conditions and needs to avoid behaviour which could lead to negative physical, psychosocial or social consequences through establishing and encouraging basic security and quality opinion about yourself, self-respect and confidence, positive orientation towards surroundings, knowledge, skills and competences for approaching situations in life, system of support at all three levels, healthy surroundings and functioning of local community''.


Our program requires, implicitly, the highest professional competences when using trained dogs. A Program involving the use of dogs in Croatia requires the cooperation of many institutions:

  • Center for Sociai Work

  • ,Justice,

  • Prison,

  • Court,

  • Hospital,

  • Polyclinic for Child Protection in Zagreb,

  • Primary Schools for Children with Special Needs,

  • Center for rehabilitation, and

  • The Pediatric Clinic.


A multidisciplinary approach has been able to give adequate assistance to the molested and/or neglected children we work with. This has occurred in a highly reduced stress environment consistent with the needs, age, cognitive level and health conditions of the child.


The personal, professional and expert experience of our members, enhanced through the use of advanced training, has resulted in faster and better recuperation of the traumatised children in Croatia. 



It was a big challenge to start this project for it is unique and substantially different from others in our country that employ one dog - one user.  Our project emphasises the need to put one dog in interaction with more users/molested and/or neglected children, and children at risk of being molested.


Today , we have 20 partners in Sisak Moslavina County and Zagreb County. For example, there are five primary schools, three hospitals, one institution for children without parental care, one prison and one pediatric clinic to name a few facilities that are involved.


Our beautiful Havanase are: Evie, Heidi, Nia and Sevi. These dogs have changed the world for children and other persons who need them/us.  We are proud and happy because together we have been able to do the best we can in this world for everyone involved.


Renata Friedrich, Professor,

Special Education - Speech Therapist.

Project Manager of Novelties in Teaching Project:

The Role of the Trained Dog in the Classroom 

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