Students are paired with a rescue dog that is looking for a new home, with their work focusing on helping their dog progress to a better future. As well as practical training and care, this involves the creation of a portfolio of posters and promotional materials (including a K9 CV) to help raise the profile of the dogs with potential adopters.
During training sessions, participants learn the theory behind dog training and animal care, complete coursework and are visited by guest speakers, to discuss their work with animals and encourage our students to put their skills to use in employment in the future. We are so grateful to the ever increasing number of organisations that support us, providing external speakers for course sessions and / or work experience opportunities for Paws for Progress graduates.
Thanks to our partnership with Fife College, our students complete an SQA in Personal Development in addition to SQA Core Skills qualifications in Communications, ICT and Numeracy, gaining an impressive number of qualifications embedded within their work with the dogs. We are very grateful for the on-going support provided by Fife College staff, working closely with Paws for Progress staff throughout the course delivery, assessing the qualifications, and ensuring we continue to expand the opportunities available to students to progress their learning and skills.
“Fife College are delighted to be working in partnership with Paws for Progress to support the learners to achieve a range of qualifications which can equip them with relevant skills for life, learning and work. This is done through an innovative activity based approach to learning suited to each individual, putting learners at the centre of the learning experience.” Audrey Mitchell, Fife College, 2013.
“It’s helping me with reading and writing as well, getting to express myself in the writing, you know, the stuff I’m not saying, I get the chance to write all that down, which I find a lot easier now anyway. So it’s definitely been good.” Student, Paws for Progress.
“Paws for Progress has been excellent for me as I have learned lots of new skills and have gained qualifications. I now know when a dog is stressed and scared. I was also very impatient before I started but now I am patient as you should be with the dogs. It has been a life changing experience for me and I love working with the dogs.” Student, Paws for Progress.
The educational value of taking part in this programme is wide reaching. In relation to dog welfare, the rescue dogs participating in the course are benefiting from improved welfare and an increased chance of being successfully rehomed, due to the students commitment to their education.
Additionally, there are much wider implications beyond the rescue dogs taking part. We are providing our students with an education in dog training, care and behaviour which they would not have otherwise had access to. This helps to change their attitude to dogs, increase empathy, and educates them in how to be responsible and caring dog owners. Their knowledge and positive, compassionate attitudes are then shared with friends and family on their return to the community, with students often describing how their new skills will help their pets at home.
“I’m really looking forward to teaching my dogs, using the stuff I’ve learnt down here to teach them
to calm down. And I feel more like I can teach my wean about it too.” Student, Paws for Progress.