Dog Animal-Assisted Therapy (DAAT)
The dog animal-assisted therapy (DAAT) goals are numerous, but the most important one is communication. We also work to teach participants to manage their emotions and develop their social skills. This personalized program focuses on the dog as the assistant; however, other species such as small exotic animals might be integrated into the program if needed.
Our target populations are teens and young adults within the alternative education school system. Most participants are at-risk teens in need of a different approach to life's many challenges. Dog and rat animal-assisted therapy objectives are to develop communication, problem-solving skills, improve self-esteem and confidence.
We do NOT offer privates sessions or "pet the puppy" programs dispensed by some universities during exam weeks. Our animals are trained for intervention and prevention purposes for adolescents who are in need of a complementary therapeutic approach.
If you wish to offer an alternative program to your teen student body via a dog and/or rat animal-assisted therapy program please contact Gaby Dufresne-Cyr, for Canadian schools, or Shannon Strang for the United Kingdom school system.
NOTE: We have conducted both dog and rat animal-assisted therapy programs at Focus, Perspectives I, and Mountainview high schools within the Montreal English School Board (EMSB); therefore, we can provide references at your request.
Article on Animal-Assisted Therapy
Our Animal-Assisted Therapy programs were featured in the Laval Families online magazine. You can click the image to follow the link of clicker here to visit their page. We are very honoured and would like to thank the author Alexia Marsillo for her excellent work.
We strongly believe animals help to break down human defence mechanisms, especially when they are allowed to attach and work with adolescents. We have seen it multiple times over. Teens let down their barriers and allow our animals to intimately share their lives.
For my team of volunteers and I, each case offers an extremely valuable reward; therefore, we will continue to push the program into schools, or wherever we are needed. To that effect, I would like to publicly thank my dedicated team of volunteers: Ann-Marie Bourassa, Julie Langlois, Katherine Davidson, Kathlene Dixon-Dow, Kelsey Deer, Mark Werenchuk, and Sabrina Mignacca. Without you, the program wouldn't be the same. Thank you from the bottom of my heart 😊 ❤️
Rat Animal-Assisted Therapy (RAAT)
The rat animal-assisted therapy (RAAT) goals are similar to the dog program. The most important goal is to teach at-risk teens how to manage their emotions, communication, and develop their social skills. Sounds simple enough, right?! It's not, but with our various animal partner teams, we reach our goals and so much more.
This personalized program focus on the rat as the assistant; however, other species such as small exotic animals might be integrated into the program if needed. Please note, some teens prefer to work with gloves because of cultural beliefs. We adapt to each individual and allow students to express themselves. On our end, all our animals are very well taken care of. We would never allow a pet partner to be part of our programs if it was sick, injured, stressed, or tired.
Our target populations are at-risk teens and young adults within the education school system in need of a different approach to learning. RAAT and DAAT offer a concrete approach to education through socialization and problem-solving life's many challenges. you can watch our rats in action on the television show Loin d'Etre Bete, which aired on TV5 in May 2016.
More specifically, rat animal-assisted therapy (RAAT) objectives are to increase communication, develop problem-solving skills, reduce anxiety, improve self-esteem and confidence. Teens often experience a change in perspectives once they understand that rats are animals with individual characteristics and personalities.
You may be grossed out by the idea of working with rats, but I assure you, your mind will change after you meet our little animal ambassadors. Rats are the perfect match between humans and animals, for teens see themselves as marginalized, unappreciated, and overall bad to be around. We work to change those views and make them positive.
Wolf Animal-Assisted Therapy (WAAT)
The wolf animal-assisted therapy (WAAT) program is relatively the same per its goals and objectives as dog animal-assisted therapy, with one exception, the animal partner is a wolf. During the wolf animal-assisted therapy program, teens interact, train, observe and learn about wolf behaviour. The goals are communication, self-esteem, confidence, trust, and attachment. Wolves have the innate ability to make relationships clear and concise.
Why wolves? If you recall your adolescence or Erik Erikson's psychological stages of development in college, you remember that teenagers try to resolve the identity vs. role confusion conflict. Teens often see themselves as misfits, unappreciated, obnoxious, hated, loud, recluse, yet they strive to feel accepted within a social group. Adults tend to view the wolves in the exact same way; consequently, the big bad wolf equals the big bad teenager. It is the perfect match.
Wolves teach young adults to live in the moment, appreciate the little things, anticipate, make their demands clear, avoid judgement, and take the necessary time to build secure attachments and positive relationships. In essence, WAAT allows us to reach our goals faster and more efficiently. In return, wolves receive treats through training, enrichment through Brain Games, and socialization. furthermore, teens become ambassadors for wolves because teens protect what they love.
In March 2011 the French television channel TV5 approached Gaby Dufresne-Cyr to film a wolf animal-assisted therapy television episode for their miniseries Les Guérisseurs. The wolf animal-assisted therapy episode was filmed in collaboration with the Centre Jeunesse Emploi Centre-Ville and Park Safari. If you wish to establish a WAAT program in your establishment, Gaby will be happy to travel and help you set it up. You can reach her here, or stop by the Dogue Shop to chat. The program is a complex ten-week program designed to meet human and animal needs.
Animal-Assisted Therapy Programs on Television
The wolf animal-assisted therapy (WAAT) program was filmed for the French television network TV5. You can also visit our YouTube channel for more training, behaviour, television appearances, or dog language videos.
More recently, the RAAT program was documented by the same network and aired on television in May 2016 titled Loin d'Etre Bête. If you have questions or would like to further inquire about one of our animal-assisted therapy programs (DAAT, RAAT, WAAT), please contact Gaby Dufresne-Cyr at Dogue Shop. You can also Follow Facebook and Instagram accounts.