Other shelters have worked with at-risk kids having them do dog training at their facility. Positive reinforcement training animals can teach the trainers patience, good communication skills and instill empathy. That makes dog training the perfect activity to do with kids who may need help in these areas.
This semester I'm working with 5 boys who range in age from 12 to 18 years. So far I have enjoyed working with them immensely. They are polite, follow directions well, and really seem to be enjoying the experience.
In addition to the dog training, I am also doing a 15 to 20 minute presentation each time they visit on a dog related topic. While I know much of this information already, it's been fun researching the material and putting together the slide presentations. My hope is that the boys will understand that learning can be fun and that it can be applied to something they're doing in the real world.
The top photo is of Michael with one of our adoptable 8 week-old Lab mix puppies. And to the right is Mike training 1-year old easily excited Mia to sit and calm down.