School of Health and Applied Human Sciences

Assistance Dogs

The SHAHS and paws4people 2017 Annual Reunion and Graduation:

By Invitation Only

Friday, October 6, 2017

  • Wine & Wags event from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the UNCW Campus Clock Tower and Amphitheater

Saturday, October 7, 2017

  • Registration & Rally 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., UNCW Campus Clock Tower and Amphitheater
  • Rally Breakfast, 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., UNCW Union Drive by Fisher Student Center
  • Graduation event, Noon-3:00 p.m., UNCW Warwick Center, Ballroom 5 and Lobby
  • Awards Dinner event, 6:00-9:00 p.m., UNCW Warwick Center, Ballroom 5 and Lobby

paws4people_Changing Lives from UNCW Ofc of Univ Relations on Vimeo.

The UNCW/paws4people Assistance Dog Training Program (ADTP) is and continues to be a first-of-its-kind, university-based, certificate program consisting of a four-course progression. It provides academic credit, and focusing on the integration of Assistance Dogs into clinical and educational practice in mitigating symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and behavior disorders primarily in children and veterans, as well as individuals with physical disabilities;

The ADTP was implemented as a pilot program hosted by the School in August 2011, with an inaugural class of 24 UNCW undergraduate students having majors ranging from Recreation Therapy to Psychology to Accounting. The ADTP completed its 6th full academic year in May 2017.

Over 1,100 students have participated in the program coursework, and 145 students have completed the full program, earning their Certificate as a certified paws4people Assistance Dog Public Access Trainer. Over 68,000 documented volunteer hours have been completed by these students within the Wilmington community as part of the program.   

The paws4people/UNCW Assistance Dog Training Program has grown and flourished at UNCW. The introductory course has an enrollment of over 75 students, and all subsequent levels are at full registration capacity. In turn, this means that the maximum number of paws4people Assistance Dogs are being trained by UNCW students each semester, allowing paws4people to place even more of these life-saving partners within the community.

Successfully attending and completing the UNCW/p4p ADTP does not signify that a person is a service/assistance dog trainer or qualified to train and/or place service/assistance dogs. Assistance Dogs International has specific standards that an individual must meet in order to be a certified assistance (service and or hearing) dog trainer – and taking part in this program does not meet these requirements. However, with continued learning and internship opportunities, many students remain active as volunteers providing help with training, educational awareness, attending and hosting events, and administrative support. 

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