Marcel working with Lizzie his
Canine Companion (ASD Assist Dog)
in a Hoops & Hurdles class
Dale & Scruffy
Kaiha & Lexi
Canine Companions - Training Dogs to Assist Children living with Autism
Dogs and children with autism make a great partnership because they both relate well to non verbal communication; this makes children with autism great dog trainers if they are shown how. As a professional, experienced team of dog trainers we work within your home with your autistic child and his or her family. We can guide you to create a bond between your child and dog and we will look at the specific training needs necessary in order to get the most out of the relationship.
Some families might want to simply work on basic obedience and creating a special friendship between their dog and autistic child. This will encourage your child to communicate and be more sociable. Spending time with his dog is a nice way to structure critical down time; this can reduce the frequency of meltdowns. A well trained, calm dog can provide comfort and support to a child with autism.
Other families might like to have their dog trained to track, especially if you have a child that wanders off or hides. We can aim at trying to prevent him from getting lost or hurting himself.
Another useful skill we can teach your dog is to break up the ritualistic repetitive behaviours of your autistic child by pawing them to stop the behavior.
Getting your child with autism to engage in clicker training of a puppy can be a great way for him to communicate without verbal language. Some older children with autism get quite skilled at clicker training, and can teach their dog all manner of tricks. When the dogs are trained to respond to children's commands and to regard them as leaders helps to raise your child's self-esteem. Training also enriches the bond between your child and his dog.
The team at thecanineclub train dogs to respond to hand signs, which increases the communication between your child and his dog if a child does not yet speak verbally. Dogs pay great attention to our body language, and are quick to learn and respond to hand signals. Service dogs can also be used to help meet other goals, such as increasing social contact. The dogs can also improve your childs skills verbally. When you are out with your dog, you will be asked very similar questions by people, such as “what is your dog’s name?”, “how old is your dog?” This gives your child the opportunity to rehearse and offer an established answer, therefore taking away any need for impromptu responses.
We would need to assess reactions of your child to your dog, and look at the relationship between them in order to determine how your dog can help your child. Then we would work out exactly what you were expecting from the relationship between your child and dog, is it purely for a companion, or are you wanting an assistance dog? We will create a plan specific to each family with training goals, and timeframes for what is required. We will work closely within the family, with the autistic child on a weekly basis to reach our training goals.