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Canine-Assisted Therapy Program
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.
Read more in our Animal Therapy Blog