Nine students got the chance to meet their new canine friends for the first time Tuesday at the Carroll University Campus Center. The dogs had been living in temporary foster care with the University’s faculty and staff up until this point.
This marks the fourth time Carroll and HAWS have partnered for this endeavor. The first 2 years, the program brought in 4 dogs. The third year 7. This time around, the first number has doubled to 8.
As part of Carroll’s advanced skills in canine management and training course, the foster dogs will live with the animal behavioral students until the end of the semester which is the last week of April. The goal is for the students to properly train the dogs through positive reinforcement. Thus preparing them to be adopted and permanently placed in a loving home.
Graduating in 2012, Carroll Alum and current Adjunct Lab Instructor at the University, LeAnn Boucha, went through the animal behavioral program herself while she attended the school. At that time it was still just a biology degree with an emphasis in animal behavior. Now it’s a full-blown major. She also did her master’s program at Carroll where her thesis was to help develop the curriculum for this semester and the previous one.
“This is a two-part course,” Boucha said. “Right now what you’re observing are the students who were with us last semester learning body language, care, training of dogs in general. Those students have now moved forward. This semester they all have their own foster dog from the humane animal welfare society which also here in Waukesha County. They will be living with and training these dogs all throughout the semester. So in May, these dogs are going up for adoption.”
However, Boucha said this major is not “only” for students interested in training dogs in their future.
“Not every student in this program is on the track or trajectory to be only a canine training,” Boucha said. “The skills of training these dogs and focusing on positive reinforcement specifically, these skills can transfer if any of these guys want to become zookeepers; you name it. I can’t even run down the list. But it’s not just a track for students interested in dog training.”
Jenna Brayton is living proof of that. She’s an animal behavioral major at Carroll but training dogs aren’t necessarily in future plans. Her goal is to eventually become a dolphin trainer.
“This is giving me an amazing opportunity to work with animals to get the training experience needed,” Brayton said. “A lot of it is just positive reinforcement which is a huge deal in the animal community. So I’m going to be able to train and she’s going to be living so it’s a full immersive experience.
Brayton never had a dog before so she said she full of nerves and excitement.
“I’ve never had a dog before and now I have train and live with a whole being,” she said. “I was definitely nervous at first but my excitement now that I’ve met her has definitely increased.”
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