Dog AID (Assistance In Disability) receives a great deal of interest from abroad from those wishing to emulate our work in helping people with physical disabilities to train their own pet dogs to become Assistance Dogs. Luisa Scarpa, the general manager of Regione Lombardi and prominent dog trainer, Luca Rossi flew to England from Italy in March this year to discuss a course designed to help "train the trainers".
As a result of their initial visit, Dog AID trainers Dolores Palmer and Joy Harrison recently hosted a six-day training course "Training the Assistance Dog" in Rugeley, Staffordshire. The course was attended by Luca, together with 12 hand-picked Italian dog trainers. Regione Lombardi are themselves interested in the possibility of setting up an organisation similar to Dog AID. In Italy, many people with disabilities often do not venture out of their homes, and Luisa and Luca are hoping to change public attitude towards disability. They aim to do this by showing how dogs can be used to provide genuine assistance to disabled people to help them achieve greater personal independence.
The course gave the students not only the opportunity to learn training methods for teaching Assistance Dogs to perform specialised tasks, but to also gain a better understanding of the difficulties faced by people with physical disabilities, both in daily life and in training their pets. The students were provided with the experience of "being disabled", and given tasks to perform both with and without dogs so that they could better appreciate for themselves the problems faced by people with physical disabilities.
The course proved to be a huge success, and feedback received from the students was extremely positive. Dog AID hopes to host future course for trainers in other countries who have a desire to learn about training Assistance Dogs. Says Dog AID head trainer,
Dolores Palmer, "We hope to run more International courses in the future, utilising the funding gained to help Dog AID to provide a full training programme for our own trainers within the United Kingdom."
For those wishing to find out more about Dog AID,
please visit our website at http://www.dogaid.org.uk
or contact Joy Harrison on 024 7626 0584 / e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org