Animal Assisted Interventions
The canine and human members of our interdisciplinary teams have professional ongoing evaluations and training that exceed basic pet obedience and/or therapy dog evaluations. The teams are either being trained or have already been trained with people of all ages and abilities, and in a variety of environments. The dogs have a skill level and generalization that is conducive to working directly with the participant/client. We believe it is important to empower our participants and teach them to positively engage dogs in their own sessions, and in some cases—sessions with others!
Our therapy and program participants learn positive rules of engagement, voice control, emotional control, and physical control of themselves. We incorporate lessons in observation and positive communication in relation to animals, themselves, and other people so that they can engage others in conversations or activities. We give attention to the welfare of the animals, and do not put them in a position to become harmed, to develop fears or undesired behavioral outcomes during the evaluations, training, or intervention sessions. Most importantly, the dogs must love their work to be in this environment. Dogs have ample time with each other, with clients, and to be alone as indicated.
Moral of story: The dogs working in therapy and programming at Dogwood exceed standards set for visiting dogs and achieve the standards that are set for professionally trained assistance dogs. The therapists who co-treat with these skilled dogs have continuing education in animal assisted intervention and disability.
Dogwood is a member of Animal Assisted Intervention International, a non-profit organization that caters to people who partner with dogs in professional settings. Our standards are shared with Animal Assisted Intervention International.