UNCW/paws4people Assistance Dog Training Certificate Program

After a great deal of planning and preparation, August 24, 2011, saw the first class session of the UNCW/paws4people 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 10th full academic year in May 2021.

UNCW's Assistance Dog Training Program is the first-of-its-kind, university assistance dog training program focusing on the integration of assistance dogs into clinical and educational practice in mitigating symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and behavior disorders primarily in children, veterans, and wounded warriors; as well as individuals with physical disabilities. The Assistance Dog Training program is a sequence of four courses.The first course is designed to be an overview of the history and roles of assistance dogs in society as well as industry standards for training assistance dogs. In the second course, students gain experience in the principles and theories of dog training and psychology. The third and fourth courses expose students to advanced assistance dog training and application to individuals with disabilities and professional practice contexts. In these courses students are responsible for the 24/7 care and training of an assistance dog in-training. 

To learn more about the Assistance Dog Training Certificate Program at UNCW please vist the UNCW CHHS website.

 

UNCW/paws4people Assistance Dog Training Minor

The School of Health and Applied Human Sciences offers an interdisciplinary minor in assistance dog training. The minor is designed to prepare students to be assistance dog trainers and to use animal assisted interventions in a variety of settings, such as schools, hospitals, and long-term care facilities. 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.

To learn more about the Assistance Dog Training Minor at UNCW please visit the UNCW CHHS
website

What Students Will Learn

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.

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paws4people Success at UNCW

The UNCW/paws4people Assistance Dog Training Program has grown and flourished at UNCW. The introductory course has an enrollment of over 75 students, and all subsequent levels are at full registration capacity. In turn, this means that the maximum number of paws4people Assistance Dogs are being trained by UNCW students each semester, allowing paws4people to place even more of these life-saving partners within the community.

Successfully attending and completing the UNCW/paws4people ADTP does not signify that this person is a service/assistance dog trainer or qualified to train and/or place service/assistance dogs. Assistance Dogs International has specific standards that an individual must meet in order to be a certified assistance (service and or hearing) dog trainer – and taking part in this program does not meet these requirements.

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