Animal-Assisted Therapy, Education and Activities Class
The Essence of the Human-Animal Bond:
“It is a rare thing in humans to be able to look at the face of a person whose life has so obviously been harsh, or has taken a turn in that direction, without visible pity and anguish. And it is a rare thing for the person being looked upon to not see the discomfort in the face of the onlooker. However, it is the dog, the cat, and the rest of our companion animals who do not see what has been, but who look only at the possibility of and need for joy that exists in all of us. For the animals, it’s not about pity, anguish, or guilt, it is about their rare and majestic gift of being able to tease out the joy in all things even where there seems to be none left. And it is in this that allows them to often go where no person can go to do therapeutic work.”
- LJ Edwards
This class is for anyone wishing to be involved with their dog in any kind of visiting program, and especially for anyone wishing to be a Delta Society Pet Partner.
Lisa has been teaching Animal Assisted Therapy, Education, and Activity classes since 2000 and is a Pet Partner (formerly Delta) certified Instructor, Certified Evaluator, and Registered Pet Partner with all three of her dogs. Lisa is also a guest speaker at Green Chimneys and holds workshops for the Hudson Valley Humane Society Visiting Pet Program.
Here are a couple student comments collected anonymously:
“Mrs. Edwards is very professional and has always delivered the material on a level the entire class could understand. Mrs. Edwards incorporates humor as well as stories and metaphors to further drive home her point or lessons. She is an outstanding instructor.”
“What a fabulous instructor and class! We are eager to continue!! Thank you – even the hour long commute on my only day off was worth every minute!”
Here are some not-so-anonymous testimonials from some of our students:
The handling skills that I learned with my dog, Sophie, in Lisa Edwards’ AAT class gave us a wonderful foundation for the visiting that we began soon after completing the course. In the area where we live, there are dog/handler classes for obedience, rally agility and tracking, but none that teach the skills specific to therapy work, so we commuted from update NY to Mahopac for the 10 week class. There’s no doubt in my mind that I would do it again without hesitation.
The exercises, the work amidst distractions and the role playing gave meaning to the material we studied and prepared us “for the real world.” Being able to practice and hone our handling skills under Lisa’s watchful eye gave me confidence and helped build a relationship of trust with my dog. I have no doubt that we are a stronger team because of her class.
Jean and Sophie, Ithaca, NY
One thing that impressed me the most about Lisa’s classes is that there are no “stars” (either human or pet). Everyone participates – with the same goal – to help the other humans and pets understand and enjoy each other a little better.
After just two classes with both of my dogs in the same class, the change was obvious to me and to all who visited our home. The dogs’ demeanors changed drastically for the better – toward guests and toward each other. And the best part – no more pulling on leashes and no more need for the Gentle Leader.
Lisa’s knowledge and intuitiveness of dog behavior was readily apparent from the first class and from the respect she gets from the outset from the owners of and from the dogs. More importantly, Lisa makes the class fun for all, and heaven knows, we humans sometimes have to chill.
Thanks to Lisa, Cobber and I passed the Delta evaluation (although I’m still peeved that Cobber received a higher score than I did) and we look forward to doing visits in conjunction with the HEART Program. And, time permitting, I will be back in the Spring for the Delta class with Dodger.
Cobber, Donald, and Dodger, too
Had it not been for your knowledge, patience and creativity we would not have passed the Delta evaluation. After failing twice I was beginning to think that this might not be for us.
Orville and I had been to other trainers without success. No other trainer was able to figure out how to get Orville to understand the requirements for being a therapy dog were different from his former experience as a show dog.
Thank you for giving us the ability to participate in his gratifying experience. Orville and I have been doing a lot of therapy work and as you predicted he is perfect for the job.
There is a boy in the local Children’s Hospital, who is waiting for a heart to be transplanted and he loves Orville. Orville has also become attached to him and when we go into his room Orville jumps up on the bed and does his lap dog routine. Yesterday while on a visit two Pediatric Cardiologists came in to examine the little boy. I had previously told him that I would be back on Tuesday. The doctors informed him that he was going to have a diagnostic procedure done either Tuesday or Wednesday. The little boy replied that Tuesday would not work for him. The doctors asked why not Tuesday and he replied Orville will be visiting.
Lisa I know it is your profession but I have to thank you again for helping both of us have these incredible experiences.
With my very best regards,
West Nyack, NY
Lisa has set up dozens of programs through HART Programs and with her own Pet Partners she has done several hundred visits throughout her AATEA career. As a result, she is keenly aware of what a team will encounter on any given visit. She structures her AATEA course to include the Delta Pet Partners Team Training Course while also teaching the handling skills necessary to prepare teams for the variety of experiences their dogs will need to tolerate and prepare the humans to support and facilitate the animal connection while visiting. This course will cover the advanced skills necessary for interacting and working around various medical equipment, strange objects and toys, out-of-the-ordinary spaces, and new environments; this course will explore best practices for handling dogs in various distracting situations, how best to handle the stress your dog will face while doing this work, and how to best interact with the various interpersonal situations visiting will bring including, but not limited to, what to do when your dog won’t visit with someone, or what to do if there is an incident.
To offer the most flexibility as possible for folks who have various levels of skills and needs Three Dogs Training offers two training classes to help you prepare you and your animal for Animal Assisted Therapy, Education, and Activities visiting.
Teams can do any of the following:
- Three Dogs Training AATEA class and the Pet Partners Team Training Workshop.
- Just the Three Dogs Training AATEA class.
- Just the Pet Partners Team Training Workshop.
The Three Dogs Training Animal Assisted Therapy, Education, and Activities (AATEA) class is for the dog and handler together. This class prepares the team for the exercises on the evaluation and prepares them for the various situations they will face on a visit. This class focuses on the connection between handler and dog and exercises the team around distractions and in mock visiting situations. We will expose your dog to a variety of distractions, and things that can be spooky for a dog like medical equipment, strange surfaces, odd moving items, etc. We will teach you how to help your dog around these things and make it fun. We will teach you how to read your dog’s subtle signals and signs to keep all visits fun and safe for you, your dog and the clients. All of this will build a wonderful working connection, relationship, and rapport between you and your dog.
Teams will need to pass a pre-evaluation by Lisa Edwards prior to the beginning of the AATEA class. There is a nominal $35 fee for pre-evaluations (scheduled individually).
This is a 6 week long class and meets for an hour and a half each week. The fee for the Three Dogs Training AATEA class is $275. For upcoming class dates please see our class schedule.
The Pet Partners Team Training Workshop is for Handlers Only. This is the One-Day workshop that is required by Pet Partners before a Team can take the evaluation test. Teams may also opt for the Pet Partners Online Team Training Course. Three Dogs Training offers the Pet Partners Team Training Workshop in Mahopac or Brewster, New York. The fee is $80 for the one day workshop and this includes your Pet Partners Team Training Manual and lunch. For upcoming class and workshop dates please see our class schedule.