PAWS University offers courses to not only help strengthen your visiting skills as well as your bond with your therapy companion. Some courses are mandatory for participation in specific PAWS programs; other courses are designed as informational and fun.

Each course has a Training/Materials fee of $20 unless noted. See below for schedule and course descriptions.

December

13 (Wednesday), 10:00 AM – Creative Connections (PAWS office)

January

19 (Friday), 10:00 AM – Grand PAWS (PAWS office)
26 (Friday), 10:00 AM – PAWS for Reading (PAWS office)

Anytime – On-Line Courses

PS PAWS – Register on-line and we will send you the link to the Open Learning course
First Visit Assistant – Register on-line and we will send you the link to the Open Learning course

View the entire 2018 schedule

Autism Initiative

calli-and-asp-campThe PAWS Autism Initiative is an animal-assisted activity and therapy program designed to support children on the Autism Spectrum. Our mission is to provide fun and effective opportunities to engage in the world through directed interaction with a certified therapy pet, and a trained handler. The Autism Initiative teams are trained how to use basic behavioral strategies during visits, and are overseen by an individual with knowledge and experience in autism and applied behavior analysis.

Highlights:

  • Overview of Autism Spectrum Disorder and how it presents
  • Understanding typical behavior and communication of a child on the spectrum
  • Learn strategies and options to incorporate into your therapy visits
  • Understand challenges you will face with this type of visit
  • Learn about common situations that arise and how to use your therapy companion as a bridge into the world of the children on the spectrum

Requirements for Autism Initiative Visiting:

  • PAWS Basic Orientation and Training
  • Advanced Level of STEX
  • Autism Initiative training

PAWS will provide appropriate site placement at one of our partnering schools; PAWS staff works cooperatively with both the PAWS team and classroom teachers to ensure engaging and appropriate activities are provided for each child served.

Bereavement – Learning How to Say Good-Bye

Keri Collins Mooney teaches this course which is the enhanced version of her Annual Conference workshop. We all grieve, but we do it and feel it in different ways. Learn about the various types of grieving, how to deal with them especially when it’s a loss of a pet or the loss of a favorite visitee.

Courthouse Companions

courthouse-companionsWith roots in our partnership with the Cecil County Department of Social Services and their child advocacy program, our Courthouse Companions program was developed to provide trained and certified pet therapy teams to assist children going through the court process. After a specialized training, PAWS’ Courthouse Companion teams may be called in to visit with children, offering comfort and diversion to the victims and their families, including during emotionally-charged testimony. PAWS teams are also trained to visit in the Delaware County (PA) Courthouse waiting areas and teams also assist in the Harford County CAC.

Highlights:

  • Introduction to client population at both the Child Advocacy Center and the courthouse
  • Overview of types of abuse; short and long-term effects on children and their families
  • Description of expectations of the pet therapy team during courthouse/courtroom procedures

Requirements for Courthouse Canine Visiting:

  • PAWS Basic Orientation and Training
  • Advanced Level of STEX
  • Courthouse Companions Training
  • Courthouse visit
Creative Connections

091Sometimes petting and brushing your dog isn’t enough during a visit. Working for prolonged periods of time with kids or elders sometimes calls for a few extra “tricks up your sleeve.” We have created a fun, hour-long class that will give you scads of ideas on easy, simple activities you can incorporate into your visits – with not much more than you already have – a dog, treats, and a few well chosen “things” to bring along.

Highlights:

  • Recognize when it’s time to do something new in your visit
  • Hands-on, fun-filled training for empty time in visits
  • “Stuff” you can use will be distributed during training
  • Anyone who visits with kids will benefit from this course
Disabilities

volunteerPAWS therapy teams work with individuals with a wide range of disabilities. Understanding common disabilities, whether physical, cognitive, or emotional, can help PAWS teams to provide more individualized visits as well as assist professionals on site encourage and motivate their patients to increase participation in therapeutic activities. Training is currently under revision.

Highlights:

  • Learn about common physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities
  • Learn displaying behaviors of many disabilities – and what generalized approach is best to ensure a successful visit
  • Participate in role modeling and practice sessions (PAWS Therapy companions are welcome at this session!)

Requirements for Disabilities Visiting:

  • PAWS Basic Orientation and Training
  • Basic Level of STEX (Advanced STEX required for working with children/adolescents)

PAWS will provide appropriate site placement at one of our partnering sites and one to two accompanied visits to the site.

First Visit Assistant Training

first-visit
PAWS welcomes experienced volunteer pet therapy team members to help newer teams familiarize themselves with the visiting process.  Participation in this program offers PAWS service hours to teams.

Learn how to best assist other PAWS team volunteers on first visits including:

  • Support
  • Introductions
  • Refresher on PAWS visiting techniques
  • Logistics
  • Smiling

Requirements to become a First Visit Assistant:

  • PAWS Basic Orientation and Training
  • Basic Level of STEX
  • First Visit Assistant training
  • PAWS member for at least six months – and actively visiting
Grand PAWS

GrandPAWS is a brand new PAWS course! Focus is placed on how the needs and concerns of elders impacts visiting compared to general visiting. Please join us if you are currently visiting in assisted living, skilled care, hospitals, dementia units, or adult day cares – or just want to learn some new visiting skills.

Intake Caller Training

dog-on-phoneRemember when you first contacted PAWS to learn about our organization? After completing your online application, one of our volunteer intake callers contacted you to walk you through our membership process and answers any questions you may have had.

We are currently looking for more pet therapy teams (active, inactive or retired), who are interested in providing this valuable service to prospective members!

During this training you will:

  • Learn the membership process – from the PAWS side
  • Ask what questions to ask prospective team members – and why
  • Run through a practice intake call

After the completion of this training, you will:

  • Receive a PAWS Intake script to work with new teams on intake calls
  • Receive a special pin indicating you are an OFFICIAL INTAKE CALLER
  • Receive a certificate of completion

Prerequisites for Intake Caller Training are:

  • Completion of PAWS Basic Training
  • Completion of STEX
  • PAWS member for at least six months

There is no fee for this training!

Nemours Prep

graciePAWS has partnered with Nemours, one of the premier children’s hospitals in the country, in order to offer individualized pet therapy services for its patients, family members & staff.  PAWS’ therapy teams visit in several outpatient areas of the hospital and has developed programs in specific units including the Outpatient Lab and PT/OT.

Our Nemours pet therapy teams have achieved Master’s Certification with PAWS and are required to attend a training session, specific to Nemours visitation.

Highlights:

  • Overview of Nemours – logistics, required visitation techniques, etc.
  • Understand types of patients and disabilities you may encounter
  • Learn strategies and options to incorporate into your therapy visits
  • Understand challenges you will face with this type of visit

Requirements for visiting at Nemours:

  • PAWS Basic Orientation and Training
  • Advanced Level of STEX
  • Master’s Certification
  • Nemours Prep training
  • Completion of Nemours’ Volunteer Training
  • Completion of shadow visit with current Nemours-certified therapy team
  • Commitment to at least 2 visits/month

PAWS staff works each therapy team through this process and offers regular support to all teams visiting at Nemours.

PATHS – Pet-Assisted Therapy in the Hospital Setting

olivia-duffyThis course is for those who visit with people in hospital settings (including nursing homes, skilled care and rehab facilities. We will take a look at what people may be feeling while they are hospitalized and how pet therapy can really help.

PAWS for Reading

reading-1Our PAWS for Reading program is based on the concept that a pet’s non-judgmental acceptance and loving attention can help new and struggling readers feel more comfortable and less self-conscious when reading aloud. These sessions create a forum where readers can practice their skills in a “safe” place without criticism. PAWS’ goal is to provide a positive reading experience where the reader builds confidence, strengthens literacy skills, and develop a love for reading. PAWS for Reading sessions are held during the day at schools and in the evening at libraries on a regular, set schedule. Meet the furry companions working in this program in our Reading PAWS gallery!

Highlights:

  • Learn the philosophy of PAWS for Reading – and understand why it is so successful
  • Identify typical behaviors of a struggling reader and how to respond appropriately
  • Understand the setup of this type of visit and the challenges you may encounter
  • Learn how to integrate your therapy companion into a reading session and how to create a bridge to reach a reluctant reader
  • Receive incentives and hands-on materials to use during reading sessions

Requirements to become a PAWS for Reading Team:

  • PAWS Basic Orientation and Training
  • Advanced Level of STEX
  • PAWS for Reading training

PAWS will provide appropriate site placement at one of our partnering libraries or schools and one to two accompanied visits to the site.

PreK PAWS

image-10-28-16-at-3-31-pmPre-K PAWS focuses on the special academic needs of 3 and 4 year old pre-readers. Using specially developed activity packets and a great therapy companion, our teams work with pre-readers on basic learning concepts.  Our activity packs include matching colors and numbers, tracing lines, matching body parts, and more.  This is an interactive way to encourage emergent readers to be excited about reading while accompanied by a loving, non-judgmental therapy companion. Pre-K PAWS programs are held during the day at partnering schools and libraries.

Highlights:

  • Receive an overview of Pre-K PAWS
  • Understand typical behavior and communication patterns of pre-readers
  • Review of all Pre-K Activity packs
  • Receive a Pre-K PAWS bag to use while working in this program

Requirements for Pre-K PAWS visiting:

  • PAWS Basic Orientation and Training
  • Advanced Level of STEX
  • PAWS for Reading training
  • Pre-K PAWS training

PAWS will provide appropriate site placement at one of our partnering libraries or schools and one to two accompanied visits to the site.

PS PAWS

mentally-illMany of our teams visit patients in mental health sites. PAWS believes it is important to help teams understand different mental health issues, how disorders present themselves, and how teams can provide the best and safest visit possible to people in this situation.  By understanding why people behave in a particular way, PAWS teams can provide a more personalized visit for the patients as well as assist site staff with increasing motivation, lessening anxiety, and giving the person hope for their future.

Highlights:

  • Learn about a variety of typical mental health disorders and how symptoms may present
  • Gain understanding of how to use your therapy companions to provide the support and non-judgmental attention and presence
  • Learn how to keep you and your therapy companion safe in a situation that may become troublesome

Requirements for PS PAWS Visiting:

  • PAWS Basic Orientation and Training
  • Basic Level of STEX (Advanced STEX required for working with children/adolescents)
  • PS PAWS training (available online only)

PAWS will provide appropriate site placement at one of our partnering mental health sites and one to two accompanied visits to the site.

Reading Dog Body Language

pawskit-9471-crop-8x10-copyWouldn’t you like to know what your dog is thinking? He’s telling you A LOT – but it’s all through body language. Learn about the ways your dog is communicating his feelings and thoughts to you and what you can do when you begin to get the message.

Thinking Outside the Box (PAWS’ Dementia Program)

still1Many PAWS teams visit with elders, several of whom are in various stages of dementia.  Our Thinking Outside the Box program trains therapy companions to better understand dementia and Alzheimer’s, recognize displaying behaviors, while also guiding teams on how to provide the best visit possible to someone following this path. In better understanding why folks are behaving in a particular manner, teams can provide a more personalized visit that supports the elder.  Teams are also able to assist site staff in accomplishing some of the tasks/goals that may become difficult with a person suffering with dementia.

Highlights:

  • Understand the parts of the brains and how certain areas of the brain control the areas often affected by dementia
  • Learn how to validate feelings skillfully
  • Discover how to incorporate the therapy animal into the visit to provide encouragement, reassurance, reason for movement and comfort

Requirements for Thinking Outside the Box visiting:

  • PAWS Basic Orientation and Training
  • Basic Level of STEX
  • Thinking Outside the Box training (Two-part session)

PAWS will provide appropriate site placement at one of our partnering elder care facilities and one to two accompanied visits to the site.