Have you ever been walking down the street and spotted a dog in a red jacket/vest? Or maybe you’ve wondered why a dog is performing tasks for their owner? The dogs you see carrying out these everyday tasks are called Assistance Dogs and help to give disabled people more confidence and independence. Assistance Dog charities have professional dog trainers who train the dogs. Dog A.I.D. (Assistance in Disability) is one of these amazing charities who help to train Assistance Dogs and advocate for not only Assistance Dogs but also for physically disabled people is.
What is Dog A.I.D.?
Dog A.I.D. specialises in training disabled people’s already pet dogs to become Assistance Dogs. Whilst many Assistance Dog charities use the route of pairing pre-trained Assistance Dogs with the disabled person, Dog A.I.D. was set up to assist physically disabled people by training their dogs to support them. In this respect, the charity is unique in that it works with the established bond between dog and its dedicated owner, to train their own pet dog to provide assistance with day-to-day tasks. The training builds on the bond already established and people needing support from an Assistance Dog do not have to wait for a puppy or dog to become available. The support people gain is invaluable to their lives.
What is the Dog A.I.D. training process like?
Dog A.I.D. have an established process for training the dogs which is essential in making sure that people receive the help they require. Dog A.I.D. has more than 100 trainers working across the UK, volunteering their time. The process is as follows:
- A potential client (what Dog A.I.D. calls the person to be supported) is paired with an available trainer, in their area, who will undertake an initial assessment to make sure the client and dog are suitable to begin the training.
- The trainer and client will then meet for the trainer to begin to understand the training needs of the team.
- The client is then coached to train their pet dog using modern, safe, reward-based methods of dog training using the existing bond between the client and their dog.
- The trainer will leave them to practice what they’ve learned until the next appointment. This also strengthens the bond and gives the client confidence and a real sense of achievement.
- To a degree, the success relies on the commitment of the client to continue and practise daily. Daily training ensures that the dog is learning at their own pace whilst being a constant companion to the client.
- The client and dog team will be assessed three times during the training to become a fully qualified team. This process usually takes between one and 2 years, depending on their prior training experience and the time and effort they devote to their training. In some cases it can take longer. The training is also paced to take account of the needs of the team.
Are you looking to support an amazing cause?
Dog A.I.D. have recently launched a new appeal to help raise funds and awareness for the charity, also to help Bounce Back in 2022 from the effects of Covid-19!
Dog A.I.D.’s Pawsitive Future Appeal will help more disabled people become independent.
The aim is to raise £50,000, recruit 50 new volunteer dog trainers and reach every county in the UK. Dog A.I.D. are also taking on a 50 Themed Challenges that could make a huge difference, ensuring disabled people across the UK can train their own pet dogs as Assistance Dogs, supported by our wonderful, experienced trainers as volunteers.
Anyone can do the challenges and fundraise for Dog A.I.D. at the same time! There are some ideas already on our website www.dogaid.org.uk/pawsitivefuture-appeal - what will you do for your 50 Challenge?
You can find out more, right now, on our website www.dogaid.org.uk or head directly to the campaign page Dog A.I.D.'s Pawsitive Future Appeal - JustGiving