Pets as Therapy Visit

Foundation Learning

On Tuesday 31 January, Essential Skills welcomed William and Charlie, his pets as therapy (PAT) dog.

First of all we asked questions like: how long do you spend at each visit? How might PAT help you work towards becoming an adult?

William talked about what types of dogs would be good as PAT dogs. Dogs have to be good-natured and like people. William showed us how to get Charlie to sit by putting your hand up to your chest. When he sat down, clicked or said his name, William then give him a reward.

William said scientists have studied dog behaviour and found that "operant conditioning" works. He trains a puppy first so the dog reacts to his/her name and then is rewarded with a treat, like a piece of omelette. He will not be fed unless his bottom is on the floor.

We asked what we would need to do if we had a dog and William told us that we would need to feed them, care for them, train them, have water for them and play with them. William also said if you learn how to be sympathetic and friendly with a pet you are more likely to be so with people.

We all thought the visit was fun and we all learnt something from the experience. Nathan said, 'I really enjoyed seeing Charlie. I am not afraid of dogs now'. Connie also said, 'That was a really good experience and I really enjoyed it'.

Written by Connie Connis