University North Carolina Wilmington Assistance Dog Training Program
After a great deal of planning and preparation, August 24 saw the first class session of the UNCW/paws4people™ foundation Assistance Dog Training Program. The inaugural class consists of 24 University of North Carolina Wilmington undergraduate students with majors ranging from Recreation Therapy to Psychology to Accounting. This multifaceted group was just what paws4people™ had hoped for in order to introduce the world of Assistance Dogs and the people they serve to a group of future professionals in a wide array of disciplines.
This class is the first of a planned four-course progression teaching students about the types of Assistance Dogs serving today’s society, the history of Assistance Dogs, legislation governing their training and utilization, the types of disabilities Assistance Dogs are trained to mitigate, training theory and practice, dog psychology and body language, and most importantly hands-on practice in utilizing Assistance Dogs in many different environments and disciplines. Students who choose to complete all four courses of the Assistance Dog Certificate Program will be eligible to receive a paws4people™ foundation Assistance Dog, custom-trained to utilize in their respective careers, such as education, social work, recreation therapy, gerontology, and UNCW’s many other service-oriented degree programs.
This program, the first and only comprehensive one of its kind in the country, will empower students to add a unique and marketable skill set to their education. Even more exciting, they will become life-long advocates for Assistance Dogs and for people with disabilities. paws4people™ is proud and excited to be a part of pioneering this invaluable, synergistic new program.