|Home Our Mission What We Treat Our Clinical Program Treatment Options 45-Day Assessment Program Extension Program Young Adult Program The Ironwood Difference Family Involvement Our Staff|
Is It Time For Ironwood?
Back to Basics
Our Report Card
Ideal For E. Coast Families
Our Teens Love This!
What Our Students Say
Letters From Parents
In The News
Animal Therapy and Troubled Teens – a Perfect Match
Resident teens participate in weekly dog training classes. Each student takes on a particular dog and works with that one throughout their training sessions. The teens develop intimate relationships with the canines they work with. During this time, teens learn tools to teach and reinforce basic to advanced commands. Each dog has a unique personality and some have various behavior issues. In learning to work with these animals, teens gain objective skills that are simultaneously helpful in the ordering of their own lives. They see how they can help a dog actually become a better dog, and in so doing, see how they’re a better person because of it. Teens feel a sense of accomplishment; they feel acknowledged; they feel listened to; they feel downright good. They find it rewarding when they work through their own frustration and a dog’s unwillingness to obey. It is empowering when they understand that their own patience, tone of voice, enthusiasm, and skill directly reflect in the attitude and behavior of their dog. Because of their responsiveness and sensitivity, dogs, horses—all animals—make such empathetic companions and teachers.
Learn more about Ironwood's animal assisted therapy in our Animal Therapy Blog.