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WVU Davis College to offer online canine basics course

Service dog at work
When it comes to caring for “man’s best friend,” there is an overwhelming amount of information available to dog owners – some good and some bad.

In an effort to make sure canine enthusiasts have access to the most advanced, modern and scientifically-supported approaches to dog handling and training, the West Virginia University Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design has created a new online course available through WVU Continuing Professional Education.

Dog Training Foundations presents an overview of canine development, health and behavior, providing students with the fundamentals of all things dog - from how they see the world and communicate to the fundamentals of the most advanced behavior training techniques.

“This course offers knowledge above and beyond what typical dog training classes offer,” said Lindsay Livengood, visiting instructor in the Division of Animal and Nutritional Sciences. “Education about modern dog training techniques is lacking and there is conflicting information available to pet owners and those interested in training dogs. This course will help to spread awareness of the most up-to-date, ethical, and scientifically-based behavior modification techniques for dogs.”

And, according to Parenti, understanding the science behind behavior modification techniques allows students to solve a variety of behavioral concerns as opposed to a recipe-style format of dog training.

Topics to be discussed include dog development, socialization, nutrition, health care, training techniques, housetraining, prevention of aggression and other behavior problems, and ethical principles related to dog training.

“Ultimately, those successfully completing the course will be better able to understand and provide for the canine family members,” she said.

An associate certified animal behavior consultant and certified service dog trainer, Parenti has extensive knowledge and experience in training dogs – including service and therapy dogs. She designed and currently teaches three popular WVU courses that focus on assistance animals: Service Dog Training, Animal Assisted Interventions, and Animal Learning.

In addition to empowering canine owners, the course will also cover the different types of assistance animals, what they do and laws surrounding their use in society.

After successfully completing the online Dog Training Foundations course, individuals interested in volunteering for or receiving a dog from Hearts of Gold, a local nonprofit organization that raises, trains and places dogs to assist people with disabilities, will be able to register for a workshop to further develop their dog training skills with hands-on practice.

The three-week course begins June 25. The cost of the course is $549.

CONTACT: Lindsay Willey, WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design 304-293-2381;