The Dog Interaction Program allows students to be involved in the everyday care, socialization and training of shelter dogs to help them become accustomed to human interaction, learn basic commands and become ready for adoption into loving homes. An interdepartmental team of therapists, teachers and farm staff supervises students in care and recreation activities with the dogs during school hours.
Engaging students with social, emotional and behavioral challenges as trainers not only offers a unique approach to helping rescue dogs, it also helps each student. Care-taking and training tasks require patience, good communication and a strong sense of responsibility. Students understand the objective is to prepare these dogs for adoption; their desire to help the dog learn the skills it needs to be “successful” motivates them to communicate more effectively and behave in positive and appropriate ways. These lessons help not only in training the dog, but also in the student’s interaction with peers, teachers and family.