Canine College offers positive-reinforcement dog training classes for people and their dogs in a fun, encouraging atmosphere! Not only do they learn focus skills, leash training, and basic commands, but most importantly, they learn how to have a better communication with one another which builds a more trusting, loving relationship. The program solely operates by volunteers with the guidance of Canine College Manager, Deanna Nickels.
When entering the program, volunteers begin to learn “how to speak dog” and are provided lots of resources to enhance their education about dog behavior. After shadowing classes, volunteers are able to work their way up to teaching and providing support and skills to help people one on one communicate with their dogs in positive, fun way! Canine College classes range from beginner focus training to group walks and even a tricks class! Seeing the small successes and transformation between clients and their dogs from day one to the end of class can be incredibly rewarding! There are monthly meetings within the program where volunteers can discuss readings, classes, thoughts, and more about their experiences teaching and learning!
But enough about what we think about our Canine College Volunteer Program, we asked our incredibly talented volunteers themselves about their involvement in the program and what volunteering has been like!
“What initially got you interested in the Canine College program?”
“I think I was initially looking for volunteer opportunities for my son, who was interested in a career working with animals. I found Our Companions online and saw that they had many volunteer positions/opportunities, and that training was provided. I loved the idea of getting plenty of training and support while also learning to work with dogs, and it was in support of the mission of Our Companions.” – Kimberly
“What were you surprised by when you first started volunteering?”
“I was surprised by all the resources available and the knowledge of the trainers-I learn something in every class I assist with, as well as every Canine College meeting.” –Robin
“What’s been your favorite memory from volunteering with the program?”
“I remember attending the Canine College orientation where Deanna talked about the methods they use and the different types of dogs they work with. I had never met anyone doing dog training with such a positive, and welcoming atmosphere for ALL dogs, particularly those with behavior challenges.” – Jill
“What’s your favorite skill to teach?”
“My favorite skill to teach is ‘sit at your side’. I really like this skill because it helps my own dog a lot, but it also helps all sorts of dogs if they’re nervous or really excited and sociable. It helps everyone get focused and accomplish our walk in a nicer fashion.” – Natalie
If you’d like to learn more about the program or have any questions about volunteering, we would love to share more with you about the great opportunities that our Canine College Volunteer Program has to offer! You can contact our Helpline at 860-242-9999 or email Helpline@OurCompanions.org for more!