Training our AAI dogs
One of our biggest challenges when talking to potential clients about how Canine Comprehension can improve the lives of young people through Animal Assisted Intervention (AAI) activities is explaining the high training expectations of our dogs. When we mention that our dogs work with us and assist in teaching by making the learning experience positive and fun - many people think about their own little dog in such a situation - running around, yapping and jumping on children.
How can that improve the learning experience?
Certification is a must! Our AAI dogs have all been through the Lead the Way Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) course, which has very high expectations on what AAT dog should be able to do.
The following is a list of some of the things our AAI dogs have to be able to do to pass the course.
Now be honest, could your dog do this?
Leadership Standards (all under distraction):
- Close heeling and loose lead walking
- Sit - Stay (2 minutes)
- Drop - Stay, handler out of sight briefly (1 hour)
- Off Lead Recall
Manners Standards (all under distraction)
- Gentle meet and greet, no pushing or jumping up
- No barging through doors
- Once inside the dog settles immediately
- Dog shouldn't be pinching food from tables or floor
- No barking, growling, whining
- Listening to handler under distraction such as angry voices, wheelchairs, skateboards, musical instruments, groups of people etc.
- Gently taking a toy or food.
- Reaction to handling by others such as rough handling, touching all over, restrained hug, being bumped and handled by a group etc.
- Being about to be in an office / classroom / lounge without being overly excited, shy or jumping on people.