After a great deal of planning and preparation, August 24, 2011 saw the first class session of the UNCW/paws4people foundation Assistance Dog Training Program. The inaugural class consisted 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. The ADTP completed its 5th full academic year in May 2016.
This program, the first and only comprehensive one of its kind in the country, empowers students to add a unique and marketable skill set to their education. The most distinctive aspect of the education of Assistance Dogs provided in these courses is that they cover not only the most well-known types of Assistance Dogs, but also a variety of certified Facility Dogs that could enhance their own career paths. Assistance Dogs are those dogs whose training is customized to mitigate the disability of an individual, and is placed to spend their working career assisting this individual, i.e. a person who uses a wheelchair. Facility Dogs are those dogs whose training is customized to assist a clinical or educational professional, and are placed to spend their working careers being utilized by those professionals within their career fields, i.e. Recreation Therapists, Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Special Educators, Counselors, Social Workers, and Psychiatrists. To this end, the students are able to align their coursework in Assistance Dog Education with their field of study and desired career field. Therefore, they are not only learning the ways Assistance Dogs impact others, but rather the ways that they can utilize Facility Dogs to impact their own futures.
Assistance Dogs International (ADI) has not reviewed this material and does not endorse or recommend these materials. ADI accepts no liability for the content of these materials or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided. Any views or opinions presented in these materials are solely those of the author and do not represent those of ADI. These materials and/or class do not qualify for ADI Assistance Dog Trainer Certification.
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Professional Photos © Joan Brady